Monday, November 12, 2012

Russians and Slippers

I don't believe in cold feet. In the completely literal sense. One of my favorite, albeit a wee bit strange, pastimes is soaking my feet in hot water. Ideally in the sink while sitting on the countertop. No matter how uncomfortably small said countertop may be, I will finagle it so my 6'0" self can be sufficiently scrunched to allow for soakage. Pure. BLISS. If we eliminated the stand alone sink from the market completely, I think the world would be a better place.

This being the case, I think you can understand why I have wholeheartedly embraced the Russian culture of slippers. And yes, it is a culture.

Traditionally, when you visit someone's home you're expected to take off your shoes and are offered a pair of tapochki to wear while inside. Note: Don't refuse the offer. That makes you not only completely foolish (do you really WANT cold feet?!) but also impolite.
There's more to this concept that I love than warm feet, however. Somehow taking off my shoes and putting on a pair of slippers immediately makes me feel as if I've come home. Slipping my feet into those tapochki creates a level of comfort and closeness that shoes just wouldn't allow for and, while I might be only a guest, for that moment I'm part of the household. And if you're lucky enough to be invited into someone's home, slippers are likely only the start of the generosity that abounds when Russians play host! And I'm finding, in many respects, that once they decide to let you in, you will be hard-pressed to find more loyal, giving, and kind-hearted people.

While I can fully get behind the slipper tradition, a quick shopping trip for slippers online produced some results that I am not certain I can readily support.

Bunnies? Maybe. Over-sized creepy toes? Not so much.

But slippers in general? Yes. Especially after a long soak in the sink---Don't question. Just go change your life. Now.

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