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I’m not talking about the kind worn between butt cheeks, but the kind worn on your feet. The kind that collect dirt on the back of the heels, and toe nails, the kind that flick mud up on the back of your skirt as you walk along, the kind that can snap without warning leaving you one peg lower in the style stakes – bare footed.

Yes, the humble but ever popular Aussie thong. Known as flip-flops in the States, jandals in New Zealand and sometimes called by other names around the world. In Oz, we ofter refer to them as “the humble thong”. Humble? Humble? How about “lowly”?

Thong wearers be warned, cracked heels syndrome is the gentlest malady associated with wearing thongs. Ankle sprains and broken bones are common injuries along with tendonitis for those with over-pronated feet. But the worst injury of all, can be caused to the eye of the beholder when viewing thongs worn at a get together, in the street, or even at hotels.

Thongs are intended for extremely casual situations such as going swimming or at the beach, where wearing almost anything else is inappropriate. They are meant to protect your feet from burning as you walk on hot sand or other surfaces just before taking them off to get into the water. They are meant for quick and easy removal. They are essential wearing for pedicures and that’s about all. They are not meant to be worn into town, to the cinema, or to visit your nanna in her nursing home.

Confusion arises because of the price. Since they are no longer available at $2 or less (except perhaps in your local reject store), upmarket versions are being seen more frequently beyond the beach. Sorry: this is fashion fail, for me. Just because their prices may have become more sophisticated and they can cost upwards of $50, they are still just lowly thongs and not to be confused with sophistication itself. They can kill a Look, for both men and women.

Under no circumstances, no matter how jazzed up they look, should they be worn to a wedding unless you are trying to offend the hosts. The only possible, repeat possible, exception is a sandy beach wedding ceremony and reception where the dress code has called for bare feet or thongs.

Yet people in Australia persist in wearing them with anything other than their swimming costume. And to make matters worse, they also choose to wear them on holidays overseas, explaining to locals that this is how “everyone” dresses in Australia. To the many men I’ve overheard giving this explanation overseas, no mate, they don’t. Only the most common, the most vulgar and dare I say it, the most unhygienic and unsophisticated think “everyone”’s wearing them and that it’s ok to wear them everywhere. I’ll never understand why.

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