true gripes bare feet

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It's true that there are real-life foot fetishists, but they mercifully know how to toe the line on secrecy. On the whole, more people loathe feet than like them, probably because nasty, smelly things tend to happen down there. Feet are utterly repulsive and we should be grateful that the things are stuck on the furthest extremity of the body where they can hum away, happily distant from the more delicate sense organs.

Unfortunately, photographers and editors have a love/love relationship with exposed feet and the things are everywhere you look these days. Granted, models have always gone for that Sandie Shaw look, as though being able to afford a designer suit means you have to look down-at-heel. But naked tootsies are definitely on the increase, as exemplified by the recent TV advert for children's shoes involving pre-pubescent feet looking, it has to be admitted, far happier out of their leather shrouds than in.

Actors, ever keen to bare their soles, have also got in on the act and it's now regulation interview practice for them to whip their socks off for the camera, in order to illustrate their life story/latest movie with a bit of gratuitous ground- level nudity.

And now, horror, Independent columnists have joined in this feet of endurance, showing off their literary genius by miming a trip to the seaside. But will the chance to scrutinise their corns and bunions really add to our enjoyment of their writing talents? Of course not. We do not need this kind of trendy, in-yer-face nudism over our cornflakes. Going barefoot outside the privacy of your own home is absolutely unnatural: if God had wanted us to be born naked below the ankle, he'd never have invented Dolcis.

What people fail to realise is that shoes are the best indicators of character. How would we know we'd encountered Essex Girl, for instance, if it wasn't for her white stilettos with that little bow on her blistered ankle? Or how could we tell that the smoothie on the doorstep is a salesman if we're denied a peek at his tassel-topped slip-ons?

Bare feet should be left in the foot-spa where they belong. The world would be a better place if everyone could emulate the sensible Jo Brand and keep their Docs and socks on.

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