When my friend said to me, “I can’t find any boots that I can wear with cropped trousers, keep my ankles warm, are dressy enough to wear to work and don’t appear to cut my legs short,” I said, “Challenge accepted.” After a couple of days scouring the internet and my wardrobe, I found the solution: sock boots.
So while this post is primarily about sock boots (more on that below), it’s also about being overly-competitive. It got me thinking, “Why do I see the most standard of comments as some kind of personal challenge?” I put it down to my competitive nature, which comes from being the second of four sisters, all of us close in age. And as my thoughts ventured down this road, it all came flooding back to me… the first date swim challenge!
This story started innocently enough. I was on a first date with a handsome Irish man in London a few years ago. We met for a cocktail and things were going swimmingly (haha) until he mentioned that in his younger days he used to train with the Irish national swim team. At this comment, my ears pricked up and my inner “Ugly Australian” showed up (wearing a hat with corks hanging from the brim). She pulled up a chair, ordered a schooner and joined us on our up-to-then perfectly pleasant date. “Challenge accepted”. A guy who swam at national level in Ireland could be no match for an Australian girl who swam in her high school swim team and occasionally played low-grade water polo at university.
The rest of the date was spent planning the swimming race over more cocktails. It was to take place the following day at the local rec centre. The race would be over 200 metres and I was to have a 50 metres head start (I argued that I didn’t need it but he insisted).
I didn’t really see the problem with this challenge until the next day when it came to swim-race-prep. Here was a perfectly lovely guy, who I’d been on one date with, and who I wouldn’t mind dating again. So making a good impression is crucial at this juncture, right? So what the hell was I thinking when it seemed like a perfectly fine idea to meet him at the pool, in winter (i.e. pasty-pale and “festively plump”), in a swimsuit, swimming cap and goggles?
As far as the race went, I lost spectacularly. On retrospect, I could have done with 100 metres head start. He was a very gracious winner however, and although we tried to meet up for future dates afterwards, it all just fizzled out. Was it because of the overly-competitive-crazy that I unleashed on this unsuspecting guy far too early in the dating game? Was it my lack of self-awareness when it came to the limits of my sporting abilities? Or was it the goggles and swimming cap? It remains a mystery.
Anyway, this brings me to my latest self-imposed challenge and its awesome (if I may say so) solution: sock boots. They solve the problem of cold ankles and cropped trousers for those of us living in cooler climates. My Tony Bianco pair are elegant enough for work and evening, thanks to their pointed toe and luxe lycra fabric. The key is to ensure that your sock boots more than meet the hem of your cropped trousers so that you avoid the gap between the two, which tends to have the effect of making your legs look short and stubby. Because sock boots hug your feet, they will show a “nicely turned ankle” to its best, most flattering effect. They also look fab-u-lous with skirts – see here.
So the moral of this post is to stay competitive, but know your limits, and don’t put yourself in a situation where you look like an alien on your second date. And consider sock boots, because they do look rather awesome.