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Beware the Granby Sock Nazi

Rob Taylor " If Men Could Talk

The dress code at the Granby office is business casual. In podiatric terms, that means that my feet subsist in a world of dark polyester: black, navy, brown, gray and the occasional green.

The business of matching socks and slacks was pretty straightforward ” or so I thought ” until I was stopped in the hall and set straight by the Sock Nazi, a co-worker of mine.

Her name is Stacey Thompson. You might catch her mowing down pins at Grand Lake Lanes on Monday nights, at the Fraser or Granby Rodeo, or perhaps tutoring some of East Grand High School’s finest students ” something she does on the side to make ends meet.

A Wyoming transplant, Stacey’s dream is to land a full-time teaching position in Granby, Fraser or perhaps Kremmling. If the teaching gig doesn’t pan out, there is no doubt that she could inspire the next The Devil Wears Prada film.

“You should have worn black socks.” she said pointing at my feet, “Always wear black socks with black shoes unless your socks perfectly match your pant color.”

Other females congregated around my ankles like vultures converging on a fresh kill. They all nodded in agreement, staring at my argyle greens ” shaking their heads in disgust. I could have sworn that I heard a faint ‘amen’ in the background.

I made the mistake of saying, “But my socks do match my pants; they’re green.”

Chaos ensued. Names of colors I never heard before were shouted in a chorus of soprano and alto voices.

“Men are so colorblind; that’s definitely myrtle!” one insisted.

“Faded olive,” another said, joining the fray.

Someone else was making a case for celadon.

It occurred to me that the real problem could be traced back to my modest upbringing. As a child, I had the box of eight crayons; apparently, the entire Grand County female population used the 256-color box.

These Crayola elitists are opportunistic ” keeping constant vigil for any occasion to clobber simpletons over the head with ‘chartreuse’ and its highfalutin cousins. While women find inspiration in periwinkle, men are far less threatened by the familiar ” like Bullwinkle, which would (logically) be a nice chocolaty-brown if it were a color.

After this episode, my life has been forever changed. Each morning I open my drawer (quietly, so I don’t wake up my wife), shine a flashlight on the sock pile and begin the great debate. Gee, does this match my green pants exactly – I wonder – telling myself that it is in the green family? It is usually about then that the Sock Nazi’s voice barges into my head.

“Uh, uh, uh,” the voice scolds. “It doesn’t match exactly. Better go with the black socks.”

Sock Nazi ” though annoying ” is quite convincing. In the end, I go with the black, lamenting the fact that I will never again be able to sport my green socks and feel good about them.

If ignorance is bliss, then my days of happy feet are long gone. What am I supposed to do with my colored socks? I refuse to publicly humiliate myself in the men’s clothing store (usually the Haggar joint in Silverthorne) by holding up socks to pants ” trying to match colors.

I’ve only got a few good years left before my children are too embarrassed to be seen with me as it is. I don’t want to lose them over being anal about my socks.

Do you have a gender story tidbit that you’d like to share? Email me at ifmencouldtalk@live.com.


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