Toe the line or get the boot

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

I have been notic­ing a pro­lif­er­a­tion of feet on my In­sta­gram feed. Lots of peo­ple I fol­low seem to toss aside their shoes at the drop of a sock and let their toes breathe and wrig­gle. Feet are not al­ways the pret­ti­est parts of the body, which could be the rea­son so many snaps of pedi­cures are posted, with freshly clipped nails and lash­ings of pink or coral pol­ish. Such pam­pered toot­sies are at their finest, like flow­ers in best bloom.

The feet are some­times shod, which is the case with most of the chaps. The mes­sage seems to be … “I was here, so look at the proof. I am not go­ing to be crass and post a selfie but nonethe­less ev­i­dence is re­quired I re­ally was on this glacier, be­side the beach, step­ping on to ex­quis­ite blue-and-white tiles in Por­tu­gal.”

We all har­bour a need to record where we have been, to leave a lit­tle of our­selves be­hind, like scraps of torn cloth­ing on a barbed-wire fence. Thank good­ness, the selfie cult means (hope­fully) there is no longer any com­pul­sion to de­face walls and pave­ments with graf­fiti or carve ini­tials into trees. Smile and snap, for eter­nity.

One fel­low I have been fol­low­ing deals ex­clu­sively in shots of his shoes. I am riv­eted. He lives in New York City. His In­sta­gram han­dle is not his real name be­cause it is too ter­rif­i­cally silly to be true. Ev­ery day there is a dif­fer­ent pair. Is he a shoe sales­man? A footwear ban­dit? A fetishist? Are they even his own feet? A girl I fol­low in Brazil has pedi­cures twice a week and the de­signs on her nails are ex­tra­or­di­nary — flags, pasted jewels, car­toon faces, Hello Kitty de­cals. Last week, she posted a photo of her face and I squealed. She looked noth­ing like her feet.

This pic of my feet was taken (by me) in Mi­ami late last year. It was a Sun­day and I was hav­ing a rare day off while trav­el­ling. My feet were swollen from fly­ing and looked veiny and a bit sun-toasted. Nonethe­less, I posted it to In­sta­gram and waited for the ap­plause, which was hardly deaf­en­ing. My only ex­cuse for such van­ity is that In­sta­gram is a mon­ster and you have to feed it daily. One fol­lower ob­vi­ously dis­ap­proved and com­mented she loathed look­ing at peo­ple’s naked feet and would be giv­ing me the boot. Time to toe the line.

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