good old summer days (when thongs were footwear)

by wendi

These long summer days have made me wistful for the days when my beauty routine consisted of stealing into my sister’s jar of Noxema and then rolling on enough cherry flavored Lip Smackers to coat the entire surface of my lips and beyond. I felt pretty fancy back in the day with my hair parted precisely down the middle and then feathered away from my eyes for a look that I felt was spot on Sabrina (ala Kate Jackson) from Charlie’s Angels. Truly, I would have preferred to look like Jill (ala Farrah Fawcett), however I knew my style was far more tomboy than sexpot. Besides, Sabrina was spunkier and had a better sense of humor.

In the late 70’s I wasn’t even double digits, but I knew quite well that I liked being just girly enough not to be mistaken for a boy, and just tomboy enough not to have expectations for higher standards of grooming (some things never change). Summers were meant for finding the balance between lazy and excitement, and when excitement meant exploration beyond our rural(ish) property lines, the summer footwear of choice was “thongs”. Not flip-flops. Thongs. This was before “thongs” meant skimpy underwear.

At least where I grew up, thongs were the rubber bottomed footwear that had a stripe of color between the black and brown upper and lower, a really uncomfortable plastic piece that sat between the first two toes, and a thick strip of material that looked like big shoe laces that held the look together. When I was really getting fancy, my own thongs might have a slight lift at the back with several colored stripes. I loved them. That was, I loved them when I had to wear something other than nothing on my feet.

Mostly, summer called for bare feet. Still does. And this is one of the reasons I adore yoga and boating (and even gardening). Anything that gives me an excuse to spread my toes and allow my feet the pure pleasure of spreading out on the earth (or alternative surface). Especially since my job now forces me into practical footwear five days a week. Not even thongs/flip flops. Real shoes with real arch support that fits a business casual attire. Big bummer.

And that brings me to the sad fact that my beauty routine is no longer easy. Beginning with my incredible array of lotions and potions that promise brighter, softer, smoother, more energized and wrinkle free skin to the make ups touting perfecting, lengthening, covering, and long lasting wear. Ever since the days when I snuck into my mother’s jar of Oil of Olay, I’ve been a sucker for beauty products. Only now I have added concerns that compel me to spend extra time researching products and extra money on products that assure a lack of parabens, sulfates, carcinogens and basic toxic compounds. Then, of course, anything I buy must be cruelty free with packaging that can be recycled.

So. No cobalt blue tub of tingly goodness and no tubes of cherry flavored gloss. Not like the ones from “the good old days”. And, for that matter, no running outside without a slathering of an Environmental Working Group’s approved sunscreen and a practical hat to avoid sun damage or skin cancer. But nothing, and I mean nothing, can keep me from adoring summer and from tossing off my shoes every chance I get. And when shoes are called for, if I can possibly get away with it, I go for my thongs flip flops. Because that’s how this angel rolls.

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5 Comments to “good old summer days (when thongs were footwear)”

  1. I’m a old Noxema graduating to Oil of Olay gal myself! What memories in a smell. And agree about the old thongs, that slapped against your feet like thongs are s’posed to. :) Great blog, Wendi.

    • So glad I’m not alone in remembering thongs! I’m also really happy that the new, improved versions don’t cause blisters between my toes.
      Here’s to lotions, potions, and the knowing that we don’t actually need any of them, because we’re damn fine ladies :)

  2. I well remember when “thongs” were flip-flops-I’m surprised you do–the photo is sweet, and, so are you, your writings, continue to warm my heart. Love, Beverley

  3. Wendi, just read your recent blog. What a talent you have, I love you, Dad

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