[Originally published December 17, 2012.]
You’ve grown accustomed to seeing our kind in unoriginal montages, but remember when we were new? When, at Longaberger basket parties, you’d marvel at the photos of bare feet set against Laura Ashley wallpaper. Babs and Phil and their towheaded children, sporting their neutrals and toe jam for all to see. How odd, you thought. Did someone forget his shoes for picture day? Is this a political statement? Shoeless for justice?
That was 1991, and the requisite jeans cum white oxford shirts were just making a splash. Conservative outfits eclipsed by our radical barefoot message! Were the Baby Boomers raising a generation of neo-hippies? These sparklingly white families—in more ways than one!—forsaking their loafers and tartan plaids, barefoot kicking to the curb the faux Olan Mills fireplace in favor of a stark white floor and backdrop. They’d smile, as if their pyramid stack had just failed, and seemed to say, “We are a family of window mannequins from the Gap!”
That was our barefoot heyday. We still miss the ’90s. We miss Clinton. We miss Color Me Badd. We miss sharing our ingrown toenails and bunions every holiday season.
But now the Pinterest mafia has deep-sixed us. This year we are covered in riding boots, because what better way for a McMansion-dwelling family to say “Happy Holidays!” than with a staged portrait set in a rented rustic barn?
All we ask is that if our photographic extinction is permanent, just lay it to us straight. We need closure. If this is indeed the end, we’d like our final resting place to be next to the official feather boa from Glamour Shots. On our other side, we assume will rest Crocs, but we won’t bother eulogizing this potholder masquerading as a shoe—as feet we have suffered enough.
Wishing you lots of mistletoe and games of footsie under the table. Thank you and happy holidays.