Today, it’s my birthday and the postman has brought my present. I open the box without any regard to reusing the packaging. It’s exactly what I asked for: Slippers.
Not just any slipper: ‘Freshfeet Suede Warm Lined Driving Moccasins with Silver Technology’ from Marks and Spencer, to be precise. I’ve always felt that I would become the kind of man who needs driving moccasins. They could change my life. Just now, I’m imagining wearing a pair, while leaning on the verandah of house in the Côte d’Azur having written another chapter in my Great American Novel about a hurler who goes on a voyage of self-discovery called ‘Take The Points And The Goals Will Come.’
I’m not sure what Silver Technology means in the context of slippers but I’m sure it’s necessary. The pair that my feet are currently getting to know have all the things you’d want in indoor footwear. The label says it all: “Faux fur lined”, “quality leather upper”, “fabricado en Vietnam”.
I’m not alone in welcoming the new arrivals. From reading the customer reviews on the Marks and Sparks UK website there are no less than fifty three pages of mostly praise for the fur-lined couple.
I feel right at home browsing the comments from people like Barbara – aged 64 in Kent – “Bought these for hubby who of course never wears slippers! But he never leaves them off now, he even wore them around to our local shop for his paper !! Said so comfy forgot he had them on. Haha. Thanks M&S.”
These are my people now. People like Greg from Sussex who had formed a strong attachment to his “old faithful” pair of slippers that he had recently “laid to rest” and was concerned he wouldn’t find a worthy successor
Wearing slippers, like making pancakes and remembering to drink enough water are one of those things that are easy to have in your life but for some strange reason – maybe just inertia – we don’t do often enough. It’s just a question of getting into the habit. It could be that slippers get a slightly mixed press. “Pipe and slippers” is a pejorative term implying that someone lacks adventure or eschews risky pleasure for safety.
This is unfair. Putting on a pair of slippers after a hard day’s work (even if your work consists of philosophising on the benefits of slippers) is one of the most hedonistic things you can do. Your toes give an excited wiggle, you groan in pleasure. Anyone listening at the keyhole would think the house was playing host to one of “those” parties.
Rather like learning Irish, we may have been turned off slippers in school. Schools enforce an Indoor Shoes policy and putting on slippers can be relegated to the status of tiresome chore.
But people don’t realise the glory of slippers. In the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the female hero Yer Wan ran across roof-tops fighting off a legion of ninjas, hurling roof tiles at them – all while wearing a pair of slippers. Yer Man ran up a bamboo tree for crying out loud. Granted, they weren’t wearing Freshfeet Suede Warm Lined Driving Moccasins with Silver Technology from Marks and Spencer but still it was close enough.
Maybe the advertising industry has a role to play in improving the image of the slipper, making it more sexy. I’ve written one such ad and am currently considering pitching it to the hard-chaw ball-breaking Ad Men of Madison Avenue.
….A woman, dressed only in an oversized man’s shirt, walks along by a white wall. A man is sitting on a pier staring off towards the sea. It cuts back to the woman as she ponders a ladybird on her arm. Back to the man who is now doing non-contact martial arts on a beach with an African friend. “Whisper my name” says the voiceover .Then fade to black. In small white writing it appears, in silence….
‘Slipper’ by Calvin Klein –
I’m talking about an actual range of slippers, not the smell of a slipper. I’m sure there are many of us who would admit to at one time or another getting some comfort from a surreptitious sniff of their own moccasin but it would impractical to mass-produce.
According to the Marks and Spencers website, my two new best friends are also suitable for limited outdoor wear. I would go and test that hypothesis now but my foot’s asleep.