So there‘s thIs weird thing that’s been weighing on my mind for the last month. It started as one of those deep philosophical questions that one just ponders from time to time but over the last 24 hours or so it has become something of an obsession. And now, I need your help, oh great and wise internet, for I fear if I do not figure this out it shall consume me.
And so, I am doing a very important survey. How do you put on your socks? While sitting or while standing? This is very important, let me explain…
So a few weeks ago, I was teaching my first year writing class about “definitional arguments.” I started with what in the past has been a fairly straihtforward and innocuous question: “”How do you know when someone is an adult?” I expect some pretty common answers to this question with which I can start to formulate the critieria for adulthood. Typically, the answers are things along the lines of “when you’re 18 and can vote” or “when you’re 21 and can drink.” Things along those lines. Some other answers I get pretty frequently are “when you move out of your parents house” or “when you take financial responsiblilty for yourself.” Stuff like that.
This time I got a very curious answer from one student whom I’ll call “Buddy.” Buddy’s answer: “When you can put on socks standing up.”
Yeah, so, Buddy went on to clarify: “See, I still feel like a kid because I can’t put on socks while I’m standiing. No matter what. I have to sit on my bed and then put them on. It’s a thing. And I figure when you can do that… when you can put on your socks while you’re standing… then you’re an adult.”
I was completely thrown by this. I forgot everything else I was teaching and was just stuck trying to remember every morning of my life “do I sit down or stand up when I put on my socks. I think I may sit. Is there something wrong with me?!?”
Yeah… so Buddy ruined my life…
I mean, I don’t necessarilly think about this every second of every day… not even every day. But this was like a month ago, and it keeps popping back into my mind. I think I probably sit most days… but that’s because I get dressed in bedroom, where my socks are… and my bed… and it’s just convenient. But do I always do this? Like the next morning I know I stood up to put my socks on and it felt weird. But does it really feel weird or did I just think it felt weird because Buddy’s proclamation was in my mind?
But then something weird happened yesterday. I decided I needed to drive to the store on a day where I had been working at home and I didn’t have socks on. So I went upstairs and got some socks out of the drawer and then hopped and put them on as I was walking towards my stairs. And then though “Oh shit! I’m doing it! I’m standing and putting on socks. I’m a grown-up!”
So today I discussed this with my friend Amy, who teaches the class with me. She admitted that she’s actually had the same thoughts popping into her mind every once in a whole for the last few weeks. Only from the opposite direction. She *thinks* she usually stands when she’s putting on her socks. But then she said “unless of course, they’re knee highs or something, because that’s harder.”
So then we had a long discussion where we were trying to figure out if maybe it isn’t age at all (I’m older than Amy) and maybe there is a gender component. After all, I don’t really ever wear kneee high socks because I’m a boy and this isn’t the 1970s. Maybe there’s a gender component? Except, the point was that knee high socks were harder, so you’d think I would stand and Amy would sit. And I thought “what about stockings and pantyhose?” Those have to be even harder than knee high socks, right? Because they need to be smoothed and adjusted and they’re more delicate and you don’t want them to run. So it at least *feels* like maybe women should sit more often to put on socks than men, if only for fashion reasons.
But then that made think, is it a race thing? Buddy is also black. Are my people just somehow impoverished in a weird way that makes it harder for us to put our socks on while standing?
Amy also theorized that it was maybe a flexibility thing or balance. But I don’t really have problems with those… and really, if it was, you’d think that this would actually get HARDER with age and not easier.
So I really need this needs to be solved… It’s been killing me and I don’t think I’ll be able to get anything else done until I know the answer. So consider this my pilot study before I try to get funding to run a comprehensive scientific experiment.
Do you sit or stand when you put on your socks? Does it matter based on the kind of sock? Do you think there’s some demographic thing about you that is relevant? Why?
Please help so I can sleep tonight. (Goddamn you, Buddy!)
(Also, thanks to my good friend Kat for allowing me to use one of her old 365days self-portraits for this post. Kat is very much sock addicted and used to take lots of pics to prove it. And admit it, a lot of you just read this because you saw a pic of her being sexy and showing off her legs — which is why I picked it. Thanks Kat!)