Well, if there’s one thing you can’t accuse this blog of lacking, it’s variety. And if you think this is bad, you aint seen what’s coming. It will literally knock your socks off. Okay, metaphorically. Because, funnily enough, you can’t actually knock someone’s socks off, despite the common phrase suggesting otherwise. Like when your partner asks you if you like her new hat. “Wow, it nearly blew my socks off,” even though you’re just saying that to make her happy. Unless you actually do like her hat in which case, wow, you’re a rare breed. Anywho, they did try to knock someone’s socks off once. Didn’t work out too well, sadly. They might slide down a bit. They then ramped up the test a bit and detonated a 500-pound explosive surrounded by mannequins wearing socks. They did achieve the goal of knocking the socks off the mannequins at 15 and 25 feet, but also concluded that, if they were real people, they’d be quite dead. And I don’t know about you, but if that’s what it takes to knock my socks off at the sight of a new hat, I really don’t think it’s worth it. “Do you like my new hat?” “It’s sure swell, honey…” “Does it… you know, knock your socks off?” “Are you trying to kill me, dear?” “Certainly, if you don’t like my new hat.” “IT’S JUST A HAT, DAMMIT!”
They had socks in the Stone Age, don’t you know. They weren’t made of stone. I don’t know why it was called the Stone Age. Perhaps they had a fondness for stones. Anywho, those Stone Age fellas made their socks of animal skins tied around their ankles. By the time of the Ancient Greeks, a poet known as Hesiod wrote of piloi, which were socks made from matted animal hairs. These were often worn by actors in comedy plays. I do wonder why a poet was writing about socks, but I find it rather sweet. Everyone has a passion in life. For some, it’s ships in bottles. For others, it’s socks. Nothing wrong with that, really.
The modern sock started to take shape with the Romans, predictably. By the 2nd century, they were wearing udones, socks sewn from woven fabric and pulled over the foot, rather like our modern kind. But if you’re looking for knitted socks, and, let’s face it, why else would you be here, reading about socks on a cold Sunday night, you need to look toward Ancient Egypt. The oldest socks we have are from this time, currently displayed in the Victoria and Albert museum. Egyptian tombs from the 3rd to 6th centuries had knitted socks in them. Probably to keep their feet warm in the afterlife.
People and socks have a funny history. By the 5th century, holy people across Europe wore socks named ‘puttees’ to symbolise purity. I mean, it’s not the first place on the human body I’d think of when it comes to purity. Probably the last, in fact. Well, okay, top three, maybe. They were being worn as a status symbol of the nobility come 1000 AD. If only they could see us now. We’d kick the shit out of them and steal their time machine…
Socks became an item for the people when the knitting machine was invented in the 16th century, made accessible down to mass production. Whilst the nobility stuck to their pretentious silk endeavours, wool socks became an item for the common man. And ‘man’ is correct. These stockings were only worn by men, such as Henry 8. Queen Lizzy was the one who popularised them for woman, around 1560. Not the current one, obviously. She’s many things, such as a lizard, but she’s not 457-years-old.
Up until 1939, cotton, silk and wool were the materials of choice for the humble sock, but that year, the sock world was rocked to its core when a young pretender called ‘nylon’ showed up and shook the sock world to its very foundations. I might be overstating this period in history a tad. Just a tad. Nylon became all the rage for stockings, largely due to the strength and elasticity of the material. The stockings grew shorter, too, and soon, the word ‘stocking’ was replaced by ‘sock.’ At first, argyle socks were all the rage, but men soon found basic coloured socks much more fashionable. Still, sock experts, or ‘sockperts’ as nobody calls them, are adamant the crazy socks are making a comeback. Oh, yes. Interesting and diverse colours and patterns are very much a 21st century renaissance…
American women fell so in love with nylon stockings that they even rioted over them. DuPont, who introduced the nylon stocking, paused production on the item during the Second World War. Soon, and this is true, a hosiery black market popped up, making and selling nylons at ludicrously high prices. When the War ended, high demand and limited production led to riots all over America. Women were lined up outside stores and when those stores ran out… boy, you wouldn’t want to be there. During this period of turbulence, there was a battle in Pittsburgh. Over nylon stockings. A 40,000-woman riot. FORTY THOUSAND! A day after a 30,000-woman nylon stocking riot in New York…
Socks nowadays come in a variety of options. Ankle socks for idiots. Toe socks… for idiots. Bare socks for people who can’t stand their bare feet. For some reason I’m yet to work out. Knee-high, for school kids and… erm, me. Over the knee for mavericks. Sexy thigh high socks for those looking to lure a mate. What do they call that these days? Ah, yes. Dating. That’s it. And crew socks, ribbed for your pleasure, a lot like condoms, and probably used much the same way by teenage boys…
It’s not just for fashion and warmth why we wear socks, but also for perspiration absorption. Just one foot each day produces four fluid ounces of sweat, thus meaning socks are rather handy at drawing away this delightful substance, thus allowing it to evaporate effortlessly into the atmosphere. Oh, yes, our foot sweat ends up in the atmosphere, meaning when you breathe in…
Socks can also be strange. You can buy a pair of socks for £30 million pounds and yes, I did just say that. Covered in jewels and diamonds. 676 million socks are lost in the UK each year. And, I swear this is true, socks increase our chance to orgasm, by 20% in fact. Got something to do with making us relaxed and more comfortable. You see, I’ve said all along that girls wearing nothing but socks is hot as hell and now I have science behind me. I adore science. Thank you scientists, you magnificent bastards.
Today, socks are well loved. Come on, stay with me, you’ve stayed this long… they are well loved – why are you laughing! They are well loved, are socks. The town of Datang in China produces eight billion pairs of socks every year, more than enough for every person on Earth, and then some. China produces 40% of the global sock market. That’s some demand for something many of us deem to be ‘just another item of clothing.’ Socks get on with things, don’t they? They suffer all day on our feet and we never stop to think of them, do we? Admittedly, such would be a weird thing to do, but that’s not the point. I actually forgot what my point was several sentences ago, but hey-ho…
Why are socks so awesome?
Are you kidding me? Just look at them!
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