Edit: I adopted this article’s title as my new newsletter name! Going forward, I’ll only post the biweekly Odd Socks newsletter on Substack. All the previous single posts/articles will remain available for browsing.
That phrase makes me smile now, as it did when I first heard it as a teenager. I believed it meant unmatched or orphaned socks: abandoned, unpaired, or unloved.
Now it’s a metaphor for any mismatch that works at a level or way other than intended. Like combining weird foods (who remembers bananas and mayo on white bread sandwiches?), or a couple so different that somehow they make it work despite the odd fusion.
Still associated with socks, yet hijacked for a more robust and fun meaning.
In my youth, show up at school in mismatched socks was a serious faux pas. My excuses ranged from dressing in the dark, or living adjacent to the high school and habitually waking 10 minutes before first bell (why rush, eh?). My homeroom teacher, who lived in my subdivision knew exactly how close I lived.
Now distant from that youth, I’m no longer compelled to follow bourgeoisie fashion rules. Some days, in a spasm of fashion rebellion, I blatantly mismatch my socks. Truth is, at my age, no one notices (or cares). Yet, as an elder earning the odd-sockian right to be weird and outlandish, embracing a devil-may-care attitude, what’s the harm?
Winter mornings you’ll find me in plaid pajama bottoms, a plaid long-sleeve shrit, and a plaid bathrobe. My fashion trifecta is visually painful to behold, but thus I honor my inner odd-sockianness. And no picture forthcoming of that fashion felony (you can thank me for that now).