This post was originally published on my Medium profile on January 21st, 2016.
Since I was 12 I’ve been in love with toe socks. They’d become the symbol for the quirky, cute, intelligent girl who didn’t quite fit in but was still gorgeous according to conventional standards of beauty. They appeared in the glossy spreads of my teen magazines, desperately read in a grasping attempt to be relevant, to gain friends. Maybe if I did these things, people would like me….
It took me years to realize there was no magic formula between the covers of Seventeen or J-14 to make me into one of the cool girls; to make me attractive to boys or other girls or anyone, even myself. So much time sneaking around with my best friend, hiding her copy of Seventeen from her mom lest she get in trouble for reading something “too old” for her; reading aloud to each other in giggling whispers; blushing at the questions about sex submitted by readers just like us, we thought.
I don’t remember where I first saw pictures of toe socks on quirky, fascinating, manic pixie dream girls; I don’t recall what magazine it was, but I remember what the picture looked like — a top-down shot of a few girls sitting in a circle, knees up, feet on the ground, toes pointing to each other, all focus on the socks. Rainbow-striped knee-high toe socks.