Feet Phobia

When I was a teenager, I hated feet. I hated mine. I hated yours. I thought that all feet were ugly and weird, and I hoped that someone would remove them in the night and replace them with shoes. Perma-shoes.

I remember my first pair of open-toed shoes. As I sophomore in high school, I bought a pair of Birkenstock. (I was a dirty, Republican, atheist hippy who wore hiking boots every day JUST IN CASE a hiking trail appeared. Hippies are always prepared.  Mostly for snacking.)

I put them on and stared. I could not imagine wearing them to school. Because everyone would see MY TOES.

Now my feet aren’t particularly hairy or vein-y or ugly.  Their only oddity is my second toe is larger than my big toe, which weirded me out until I read that it’s a sign of royalty.  QUEEN OF THE BIG TOE. Awesome. It’s like the worst kingdom I could ever imagine. I just hated feet.

I entered the halls of my high school hoping that my long floral dress will hide the gang of ten. But no one ran away screaming except me. And so began my open-toed shoe obsession. Although I merely see it as an extension of my general shoe obsession. I have flip-flops and cute satin strappy heels, and I wear whatever I want to as long as they are adorable.

But I still find feet vaguely offensive.

When someone’s Facebook profile or Twitter avatar is feet, I spend an inordinate amount of my day looking for reasons to unfriend him.

I display a mixture of awe and contempt for people who become podiatrists or pedicurist. If there is a hell, I will be scraping foot calluses and painting toenails for the rest of eternity. So how they can endure it now is a great mystery of life.

When I sit on the couch with my husband and he moves his feet towards me, I flinch. I’ve tried to love his tingers (toe + finger). They can write and pick things up off the floor with the agility of hands and a lot less effort. They are amazing and really appeal to my lazy, freakshow side.

But I don’t want them doing my hair.  Or really anywhere higher than my knees.

Scott wanted to do a picture of his feet near my face and I said: But I’ll look like this.

And he said: Exactly. And started prepping for the photo.


The only exceptions to my feet phobia are my children.

Their little toes can climb up my body and poke me in the ear, and I will giggle and pretend to eat them. PUT FEET NEAR MY MOUTH! EAT FEET!

If I got into a time machine and took my thirty-two-year-old, baby-toe-nibbling self and told my teenage self this foot fact, Teenage Alex would’ve broke out THE LOOK from above (with less forehead wrinkle) and responded: DUUUUDE, that’s disgusting. You’re crazy. STOP FREAKING ME OUT! Also, did that tree just move?

And hiked away.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

20 thoughts to “Feet Phobia”

  1. i went through and anti-feet phase. Although I wouldn’t call it a phobia, per se.

    And when Child A was a baby I used to chew on his feet calling out “Footie pudding!”

    At the time it was cute. Really.

  2. I’m the same exact way. I can’t STAND feet but can eat baby feet all day long. They don’t even have to be my baby’s.

    My oldest is seven now, and every year I grow a little less OK with his feet. They aren’t baby feet, they are boy feet and boy feet are gross.

  3. I also wore birks in high school! only I was a dirty liberal hippie who believed in God. but I’ve never been afraid of feet. which is weird because I have somewhat ugly feet from ballet. but I looooove open-toed shoes. I cannot wait for spring so I can break out my flip flops. awyeah!

  4. I don’t have feet issues. I do have tingers. (totally stealing your word there!) I think it is some kind of law that those of us with tingers are okay with feet. I don’t love them or anything like that, but I’m not bothered by them.

    Baby feet are always cute!!

  5. Your husband has mad skillz!!!

    My husband cannot write with his feet, but they’re so hairy and big that I absolutely wig out if he touches me with them. Those things are nasty!

    And people really have avatars of feet? What kind of whackjob does that?

    I, too, nibbled on the feet of my babies. So delicious.

  6. I feel this way about teeth.

    On this same topic, a girlfriend told me last night that her “pet peeve” (but we deduced this is more a phobia) is toes interlocking or toes touching (someone else’s). She she was at a “lock-in” as a youth a girl with social issues (she said she was “different” ahah!) ran over to her, sat down, and randomly interlocked her toes with my friend’s. GROSS! Would you have died or what?!

  7. My little brother used to wear socks with his sandals to hide his feet. I have adorable toes, so I’m not so freaked out by feet. Danny DeVito’s feet, however, disgust me.

  8. I have a gigatoe for my second toe. It is a tinger, almost as long as the pinky on my hand. It is useful for picking things up around the house. I also wear a 12 narrow. I have a lot of issues going on with my feet.

    I do wear flip flops a bit in the summer but I am a closed toe shoe kind of girl.

    PS – I work Docs in high school – you know, just in case we needed to start a militia? Maybe?

  9. Feet never bothered me at all, until I met my J. He has the freakiest toes in the history of mankind. I call them monster toes and he has a gap between the big and second toes so big he could fit in A WHOLE OTHER TOE.
    And you know what his shoes of choice are?
    Those toe shoes.
    I don’t know why I let myself be seen in public with him.

  10. I, too, hated feet until I had a little one. I just love baby toes! I could just tickle them, count them, and kiss them all day long. Even when they get a little stinky. In fact, the “Shew-wee stinky toes” game is one of our faves. It always sparks rolling, baby belly laughter, which I believe is a drug I just can’t get enough of.

    Although I can say that other people’s feet still gross me out. I can deal with my husband’s feet now but WILL NOT touch them with my hands or let him get them anywhere near my face. That’s just gross!

  11. One of my college roommates loathed feet. We, of course, would go out of our way to touch her with our feet. And then, as the ultimate act of cruelty, we collected our toenail clipping in an old pickle jar and gave them to her.

    We were kind of jerks.

    I don’t mind feet, but I am completely disgusted by the insides of ears – I refuse to touch other people’s [including my kid’s] and am completely grossed out when people touch mine.

    I need to lay down just thinking about it.

  12. it’s nice to see i’m not the only one with foot issues. i’ve never liked people touching my feet. even when i was super preggers and my feet and legs swelled up like balloons, my hubby tried to be nice and rub my feet and i freaked out and kicked him in the face. i blamed the hormones but he totally learned his lesson not to try that again.

    though i guess it’s weird that i don’t like people touching my feet b/c i’m so anti-shoes. like all summer i go barefoot. if i’m going to the store or out where i have to wear shoes, i always wear flipflops. maybe it’s just a look but don’t touch kind of thing i have going with my feet.

    and baby feet are awesome. i loved to play with all my kids’ toes. right up until they started wearing shoes. then they were old enough that i didn’t think of them as “baby feet” anymore. and anything other than “baby feet” will not go near my mouth.

  13. I, too, am a foot-hater! I used to wish for hooves when I was younger, but I think your perma-shoes idea is much better.

    Back when I waited tables, I would come home from work with aching, throbbing feet. My husband knew, of course, that I hated feet, but one time I was so whiny that he thought he might try massaging them for me. That was a mistake – I nearly kicked him in the face. He hasn’t gone near them since.

  14. “I’ve tried to love his tingers (toe + finger).”

    It took me reading that sentence *four* times before my brain could process what it meant.

    I won’t tell you what I initially thought it was about. Because then you’d judge me.

    But I’m now in awe of your husband’s feet.

    Now those will come in handy against the zombies.

    I’m not sure how.

    But they definitely will.

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