Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Socks and Shoes

Which one do you say, “socks and shoes” or “shoes and socks?” How we describe the simple act of covering our feet must go back to childhood.

“Billy, go put on your shoes and socks right now.” Think about that; if you put on your shoes and then your socks, socks would not last very long. It would also look silly, unless of course, a pop diva wore her socks and shoes that way. On the other hand, “socks and shoes” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily. Here's the catch, if you grew up hearing the phrase a certain way, you probably say the same thing to your kids.

Some people put on both socks, then their shoes. Some people put on a sock and a shoe and then the other sock and shoe. Is there a right way and wrong way? Which foot do you start with? It’s a good bet that no matter how you put on your shoes and socks, you do it the same way every time.

Years ago, an “All in the Family” scene had Meathead and Archie arguing about how to put on foot covering. Archie insisted the proper way was to put on both socks and then both shoes. Meathead preferred to “take care of one foot,” then move on to the other.*

Maybe this subject should not be discussed in mixed company. Is it too personal? Since everything else is discussed on every form of media, maybe we should reserve at least one subject for private company. No, no. That wouldn’t work. Then someone would form support groups, people would take sides and the next thing you know people would march in the streets and we would have federally-funded studies on why people put on their shoes and socks like they do. We would have to “declare” or “confess” our preferences and local governments would put an additional tax on both shoes and socks because of the wear and tear on sidewalks.

Okay, forget I brought up this whole thing and just go barefoot for the rest of the day. By the way, when you refill the TP holder, do you go over the top to the front or down the back?

*The transcript of CNN Larry King Live that aired June 22, 2001, "Remembering Carroll O'Conner," includes a text version of the now famous sock and shoe routine.

*When this post was written in May 2006, an audio version of this classic scene, along with an interview with Norman Lear and Rob Reiner, was available on the Internet. As of June 2009, it can no longer be found.
© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords


  1. Suzz---this is priceless...:)

    I am a "shoes and socks" person myself

    and the TP goes on with the paper over the top.

    I really like this post of yours !!!!

  2. Anonymous9:25 AM

    I'm having trouble FOCUSING again. Is it the left sock and shoe first or the right sock and shoe? However, toilet paper should ALWAYS be put with the paper on top...so you can neatly fold under the corners and it comes to a neat point. Anyone with good manners knows this.

  3. Socks then shoes, left to right. Paper goes over the top. I like the point idea...

  4. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Socks first, left then right, or is it right then left. Gosh, I forget! (After a couple margaritas, I PROBABLY put my shoes on first).

  5. Anonymous6:19 PM

    I have been married 15 years to a "Meathead" - lol! He puts on a sock and a shoe then the other sock and the other shoe. I'm a both socks then both shoes girl, beginning with the right. I don't understand those "sock-shoe-sock-shoe" people.

    My husband has a reason for his madness, though. He said he started doing this so he wouldn't get lint, dirt or hair all over his socks and then transfer the mess to his shoes. When he was single, he vaccuumed twice a year...whether it needed it or not! ;)