Z: Men are weird.
Z: I’ve worked with this guy for five years, and we’ve said maybe all of three words to each other. The other day I see him wearing some of those new running shoes, the Vibram FiveFingers.
She: Those shoes that look like a foot-mitten? My grandma knitted me a pair of those once. They had different colors for each toe.
Z: So this little piggy wore green and this little piggy wore purple.
She: Exactly. They were adorable little foot-mittens, but I ended up with a lot of multicolored yarn between my toes. The FiveFingers ones come in red with black and camouflage. Is that what your co-worker had?
Z: His were the camos. I asked him a question about them, and he launched into a half-hour explanation of the shoes, of his experiences with them, and mostly about his various foot problems.
She: You mean like toe-wedgies? Ouch. Or the farting noises I used to get with my Crocs? There actually are a surprising number of potential obstacles associated with the barefooting philosophy.
Z: Believe me, I heard about all of them. His tendonitis, his plantar fasciitis, his foot-braces and orthotics, and of course, his new shoes.
She: This must have been a great bonding moment for you, what with your own orthotics. Is this guy your new best friend at work?
Z: You would think. But after the first 20 minutes of hearing how these foot-mitten shoes may or may not be better, and how Nature magazine along with every running magazine in the universe is fascinated by them, I kind of lost the love.
She: I’m surprised. It’s pretty much the only reason you’re still friends with A, after 30 years, right? Your mutual love of all things foot related?
Z: A is way more into it than I am.
She: Our Stanford grad friend did famously say, “I may not know much, but I know orthotics!”
Z: He’s turned it into a lifelong research project. His own Lorenzo’s Oil.
She: He’s definitely got a sneaker fetish, too. Even back in the day when he would wear his holey T-shirts into the ground rather than spend five bucks for a new one, he spent hundreds of dollars on tennis shoes.
Z: He’s all about performance. I’m just about preventing foot pain.
She: Which is kind of a surprise since his big running workouts consist of going twice around the block instead of his usual once.
Z: Who has time to run when there’s shoe research to be done and orthotic Web sites to be surfed?
She: And who knew that foot fetishes would take the place of football and basketball as male water-cooler talk?
Z: I’m worried that it’s a sign of my age. Next, we’ll be talking about the best performance diapers.
She: It might be age, but our son seems pretty obsessed with his feet as well.
Z: That’s because he’s got flat feet that don’t all point in the same direction. The poor kid is cursed to a lifetime of orthotic obsession.
She: I wish the orthotics came in better colors, or patterns or something. Then I might be more interested in this weird, male hobby.
Z: Hey, do you think they actually make performance diapers? That would be pretty awesome.
She: Yes, dear.
— Share your happy feet stories with She and Z at firstname.lastname@example.org.