The human feet. An often forgotten but highly important part of our anatomy. The elephant in the room, to me at least, that I feel we must address, is a common myth regarding the foot and a man’s, erm, ‘special area’. Let’s get it out of the way. It’s not true. The common myth is that the length of a man’s foot directly matches the length of his – you get the picture. There was a study done in London in 2002 that measured both in over 100 men and there was no correlation. You may wonder how such a prevalent myth became so common when it’s complete nonsense. Several previous studies suggested there was a correlation, but in none of these studies did the studiers measure both. What they did was measure the feet but then they asked the men how big their Hampton Wick was. You can imagine their responses. Says a lot about men, doesn’t it?
Feet in the UK are measured in barleycorn, a last bastion for the sensible and correct metric haters. It’s based on the length of one grain of barley. One barleycorn is a third of an inch, and an inch is the width of an adult man’s thumb. My feet are nine barleycorns. We don’t actually say that here, we just say ‘size nine’, but I wish we said barleycorn instead. You see, this is why I prefer the imperial system. Makes the world much a brighter and happier place, doesn’t it?
That said, many remote tribes across the planet don’t wear any footwear at all and scientists tell us these people have better feet than those who do wear footwear. The barefooted Zulus have the best feet of any humans on Earth.
And the feet are a great place to look for medical problems. Anaemia, poor circulation, deficiencies, diabetes, thyroid issues, fungal infections, nervous system trouble, arthritis, gout, skin diseases, muscle damage, lung disease and even cancer can all be discovered by signs your feet are giving you.
And then there are the oddities. Butterflies taste with their feet. Two in every 1,000 babies are born with extra toes. The oldest known prosthetic found is a prosthetic toe, over 3,000 years old. No centipede has ever been found with 100 feet – all have more or less. The closest found to the magical 100 was 96, also the only one ever found with an even number of legs. And your feet increase two sizes when you stand. Which is probably why the first shoes you pick at the shoe store are always uncomfortable when you walk around in them.
Yes, feet are fascinating. But what of mine?
I’ve never liked my feet. To be honest, it’s a strange thing not to like. You never see them, really. I don’t take good care of them and they have problems. And I only have one pair of shoes. It’s illogical to have more than one pair, isn’t it? Why would you have more than one pair of shoes? If I did, I’d have to have a system for deciding when to wear each pair. Like I do with my two coats. I wear the grey one with dark shirts and the black one with light shirts. I can’t decide! I need my precious rules and order. I also only buy slip-ons, originally because I couldn’t be bothered learning to tie my laces and now because I can’t be bothered to tie them after getting used to not doing it. It’s more effort. I don’t like effort…
But maybe we should all be much prouder of our feet. They’re interesting and tell us a lot about ourselves. And they’re riddled with wonderful facts and a rich history, too.
But what do you think of your feet, readers?
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The Indelible Life of Me
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Hark Around the Words
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