and Angie Drake were on their way to the Student Union at Midwestern
State University. The two eighteen-year old freshmen were roommates
at the dorm, and though they had met just two weeks before, at the
start of the fall semester, they had already become pretty good
"This calculus class is killing me!"
"Two weeks in, and I'm already lost."
"At least you're
not in advanced honors English," Angie replied.
"I've already got a 20 page paper
"Yeah, but at
least you're into creative writing. I'm an art major who has to take
calculus!" Michelle shot back.
"Well, I guess it
sucks to be you!" Angie said, and mockingly stuck out her tongue.
Michelle shoved her playfully, and the two laughed. They noticed a
girl walking past them, wearing a sorority t-shirt with the letters
"beta" and "gamma"on it. The girl looked like any other college
student, except that she was barefoot, without a shoe or sock in
The girl was walking down the sidewalk without a care. She
smiled and nodded at Michelle and Angie as she passed them. After
the girl had gone some distance, Angie spoke quietly to Michelle.
"You know, that's
like the tenth girl I've seen walking around barefoot since we got
several, too," Michelle replied. "What's up with that?"
"That girl had a
sorority shirt. Maybe it's an initiation thing." Angie wondered.
Actually, I think it's kind of cool," Michelle laughed. "Let your
toes be free, right?" She wiggled her toes in her flip-flops.
rolled her eyes. Her feet were just fine in her tennis shoes and
The two girls came
around the corner of a building and saw a big crowd milling around.
About two dozen tables were set up, with banners emblazoned with
Greek letters hanging from them. The various frats and sororities
were all trying to draw interest in their group, whether through
academic standards, social standing or good old fashioned partying.
Angie and Michelle had little interest in "paying for friends" as
they saw it, so they decided to give the affair a wide berth.
Michelle noticed something at the edge of the crowd. A table with a
"Beta Gamma" banner, and three girls wearing matching "Beta Gamma"
shirts. The three girls were barefoot. The Beta Gammas weren't
making any grand performance to draw attention, they just seemed to
be letting those who were interested come to them.
"Hey, look at
that!" Michelle nudged Angie. "Let's find out what the barefoot
thing is about."
though she was a little curious. The two girls went over to the
Beta Gamma table.
"Hi, I'm Tracy
Hoffman, president of Beta Gamma," said a cute brunette. "Are you
"Well, a little
bit," answered Michelle. "We were wondering what's up with the
whole barefoot thing?"
the first ones to ever ask about it," Tracy deadpanned, then she and
the other two Beta Gammas laughed.
"No, seriously, it's a statement that
we make, for a lot of reasons, one of which is to show that we're
not your stereotype sorority."
"So, it's just a
gimmick?" Angie asked.
"Oh, no," Tracy
replied. "We go barefoot all the time, everywhere."
"All the time?
Everywhere?" Angie repeated. Tracy nodded.
Michelle looked at each other, a bit confused.
Tracy laughed again. "Here, why
don't you take some of our literature and see for yourself. Our
phone number and e-mail is on the back if you want to know more."
She handed Angie and Michelle several pamphlets, and the two
continued on their way to the Student Union.
"Barefoot all the
time? That's crazy," Angie stated, after they had walked a bit.
"Yeah, I guess,"
Michelle replied, but she seemed lost in thought.
That night, Angie
sat at her computer, working on her English paper. Michelle lounged
on her bed, reading through the Beta Gamma pamphlets. For some
reason, she was fascinated.
According to the
literature, the Beta Gamma sorority was founded in 1979, by a young
woman named Jane Geiser. Jane wanted to create a sorority that
provided a progressive and empowering atmosphere for college
girls, something that was not about social climbing or drunken
parties. The "barefoot thing" was a big part of the Beta Gamma
Going barefoot at all times showed
that a young woman was strong, yet vulnerable, tough but sensual.
It was healthy to go barefoot, moreso than wearing shoes, really.
The pamphlet listed testimonials from
several Beta Gammas who noted that they felt more alive and
energized once they started going barefoot all the time.
"Shoes and socks are evil!" said a
girl from Kansas.
A girl from Virginia raved that "It's
amazing how much you can enjoy the world through the soles of your
"I never knew how much I was
suffocating my feet until I let them breathe!" offered a girl from
at her own feet and wiggled her toes. She always kicked off her
shoes when she got home, but she had never thought much about it,
until today. Now, the idea of not wearing shoes or socks ever again
seemed very appealing.
She looked over at Angie, typing away
on the computer. As always, Angie wore her tennis shoes and socks.
It occurred to Michelle that Angie
was almost never barefoot. She wore slippers to and from the
shower, and always put on socks after she had dried off. She always
slept in socks, too.
Michelle had known other girls like
that, but suddenly, it just seemed strange.
Michelle called. "You should read this. It's pretty interesting."
derisively. "No thanks. I'm not interested in being a Greek
hobbit," she replied, not looking away from the screen.
They're not just about going barefoot to be weird," Michelle said.
"They're into civil rights, protecting the environment, promotion of
the arts and a lot of grassroots stuff."
around. That was interesting. One thing she liked about
Michelle was the fact that they shared some pretty strong
progressive left-wing beliefs.
I'll take a look. Give me some of that stuff." Angie started to
read about the Beta Gammas, as Michelle dialed the phone.
"Is this Tracy?"
she asked, after someone answered. "Great! Hi. This is Michelle
Burton. We met at your table today. My friend Angie and I were
interested in learning more about Beta Gamma." She paused for the
response. "That'll be fine. We'll be there! See you then!"
Michelle hung up. Angie looked up
from the pamphlet. "They're having a meeting for new pledges
tomorrow night." Michelle said. "You're in, right?"
Angie nodded. "I do like what they stand for, but this going
barefoot thing is pretty wacky."
Michelle looked a bit crestfallen.
"Don't worry. I'm going with you,"
Angie assured her. Michelle brightened up instantly.
The ideals of the Beta Gammas
appealed to her, but she kept thinking about bare feet.
It wasn't that she was grossed out by
feet, or thought they were ugly. It was just that the idea of going
barefoot everywhere was so alien to her, and to the way she had
Her parents had always insisted that
shoes and socks be worn at all times. Open toed shoes were not
acceptable. Slippers were to be worn any time shoes and socks were
not necessary. Socks were not explicitly required for sleep, but
her parents wore socks to bed, so it was just assumed.
Even at the pool or beach, she was
expected to wear those lame slip on aqua shoes unless she was
actually swimming in a pool.
She had seen Michelle and plenty of
other girls walk around the dorm or their houses barefoot, but it
was just something she didn't or couldn't do. Or could she?
drifted off to sleep, and she dreamed.
She was standing in a forest
She liked the woods, and started
walking, enjoying the sights and sounds.
For some reason, she felt clumsy, and
kept tripping and stumbling.
She heard some soft laughter, and
turned to see a young woman sitting in a tree. It was Tracy, the
Beta Gamma president.
She was barefoot, of course.
Angie could see the soles of Tracy's
feet. They were a little dirty, but it just seemed appropriate.
Her toes were spread out, and they seemed to be the most beautiful
feet in the world, natural and free.
stupid things off your feet. It's great!" Tracy gently urged.
Angie looked at her feet. She was
wearing her normal shoes and socks, but they just seemed ugly and
heavy for some reason. Suddenly, her shoes started untying
She kicked her left shoe off, then
the right. They disappeared somewhere in the woods, and she didn't
Then, her socks seemed to just slide
off her feet. They too vanished in the underbrush, not to be seen
Angie looked at her bare feet. Of
course she recognized them, but they were still unfamiliar to her.
She wiggled her toes, and dug them
into the soft earth. It felt great.
Tracy jumped down from the tree.
"There you go! Isn't that better?" Angie nodded in agreement.
"Well, come on," Tracy said, moving off into the woods.
Angie followed, savoring the dirt,
leaves and twigs under her liberated soles. Her feet felt alive for
the first time in her life.
Soon Tracy and Angie came out into a
wide meadow. The grass was heavenly between Angie's toes.
A whole group of girls wearing Beta
Gamma t-shirts was waiting for them. Michelle was with them.
Every foot was bare and wonderful.
Bursting with joy, Tracy and Angie
rushed to join the group, eager to leave those awful shoes and
socks behind forever.
Angie woke from
her dream with a pleasant feeling. Except in her sock imprisoned
They felt hot, almost like they were
She worked her right sock off with
her left toe, and then did the same with the left sock. Just the
feel of the warm air under the blanket was a sensation on her naked
Wow, that's so great, she
She fell back to sleep, smiling and
wiggling her freed toes.
Michelle got ready for the get together at the Beta Gamma house.
They had decided to dress nice, but casual. Then it came down to
the question of footwear.
Michelle was torn between a pair of
flip flops or some dressier sandals. Of course, the third choice,
which she was also weighing, was just to go barefoot.
"The sandals go
better with your outfit, but flip flops are probably fine," Angie
said. "I doubt these girls are too worried about coordinating
"That's true, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to go all the way
yet," she answered. "Of course, you're not even going part of the
way." Michelle nodded at Angie's loafers and trouser sock clad
"Yeah, yeah, I
know. Look, we're not members of this house yet. We're just
checking it out," Angie grumbled.
"Okay, but don't
you want to borrow a pair of my sandals, or something?" Michelle
"No, I'm fine.
Just decide what you're doing already. We're going to be late,"
"Alright, I'll go
with the flips. I don't want to be barefoot by myself."
on her flip flops, wiggling her toes to make sure they were on al
the way. A part of her was disappointed. She thought if Angie
would have at least worn sandals, she would have had the courage to
Michelle arrived at the Beta Gamma house. It was a large three
story house at the end of a cul-de-sac. There was a big,
well-maintained yard, and a wooded area behind it.
The noise from inside told the girls
that they were probably some of the last arrivals.
They stepped onto the porch and
noticed a pile of shoes. There was also a mat with two rainbow
colored bare foot prints stenciled on it.
Michelle rang the bell. Tracy
answered the door.
"Hey, glad you
could make it!" Tracy greeted. She looked down at their feet, and
laughed. "I always wonder who's going to show up with shoes on.
It's about fifty-fifty. Go ahead and kick those things off and come
Michelle had no problem with going
barefoot inside, and added her shoes to the pile by the door. Angie
rather not right now," she said, almost embarrassed.
"Suit yourself. But I imagine you'll change your mind pretty
quickly." Angie and Michelle followed Tracy inside.
close to Angie. "You're going to look sillier with shoes on than
you will going barefoot," she whispered.
Angie shot a hard look at her friend,
but didn't answer. She did feel a little foolish, but she wasn't
ready to go barefoot, especially in front of a bunch of strangers.
Tracy led them
into the main living room area. About thirty girls were gathered
for the meeting. All of them appeared to be barefoot.
A few seemed a
little timid about it, curling their feet under them, but most of
the girls didn't mind at all. Angie did notice one girl, standing
kind of shyly in the corner, who was wearing shoes and socks. Angie
was a little relieved. At least she wasn't the only one.
were made, and the girls mingled. Angie made her way to the other
shod girl. The girl looked up and gave her a nervous smile.
"Hi there. Glad
to see I'm not the only shoe loving weirdo in this place," Angie
offered. "I'm Angie, by the way."
"I'm Lena. Nice
to meet you," The girl seemed to perk up.
"So what are you
doing here? I came with a friend who was really interested," Angie
"I wanted to join
a sorority, because my mom had been in one, but all the other ones
seemed kind of stuck-up and mean. The Beta Gammas were the only
ones who were nice," Lena explained.
"And they're still nice," she quickly added. "I was just by
myself because I felt kind of awkward."
"Yeah, this whole
barefoot thing is weird," Angie added. "I mean what's wrong with a
nice pair of shoes? Or socks?"
"Actually, I love
to go barefoot!" Lena exclaimed. "I just don't like to do it in
front of other people."
"Why not?" Angie
asked, wondering how she herself would answer that question.
"Because my feet
are ugly," Lena said sheepishly.
"Oh, I doubt
that. And so what? They're just feet! Everybody has them," Angie
reassured her. "Look, all these girls are barefoot. Do you really
think your feet are so ugly they would stand out in the crowd?"
Lena mulled it
over for a minute. Then she smiled. "You're right! I should just
do it," she said.
She quickly yanked off her left shoe,
then the right. Then her socks were pulled off in an instant, then
wadded up and stuck in her shoes. Lena happily wriggled her freshly
bared toes in the soft carpet. "That's it! Oh, this is good!"
Angie smiled. "Actually, you have
really pretty feet. I guess going barefoot has been good for them,
even in private," Angie said.
"Oh, thanks! I
guess they are kind of cute," Lena laughed. "Hey, you should take
your shoes and socks off, too! It feels great!"
"Uh, well, no,
I'm not sure about that yet. Maybe later," Angie stammered. She
could tell Lena was happier barefoot, and watching the girl's feet
revel in their new freedom made her a little jealous.
Deep down, she
thought that she did want to join in, but something still stopped
her. She'd told Lena they were just feet. Angie had feet, too.
So what was wrong
with her? Why couldn't she bring herself to just go barefoot?
into the center of the room. Everyone stopped talking and gave her
"First of all,
I'd like to thank all of you for coming. For the pledges, and
potential pledges, I hope you like what you've seen so far, and I
hope you'll join us. For the Beta Gamma sisters, I'd like to thank
you for making everyone so welcome."
Tracy addressed the group. "Now, I'd
like to give you my version of what Beta Gamma sorority is all
about. I know you've read the pamphlets, but I think a personal
insight is good to have, too."
She looked around
the room, taking care to make eye contact with all the newcomers.
"Jane Geiser started Beta Gamma because she couldn't find what she
was looking for in any other sorority. She wanted something that
was about celebrating the power of being female. All she saw in
other sororities was a breeding ground for trophy wives and snobs.
"To be fair,
that's a generalization, but it was Jane's experience. So anyway,
Jane founded her own sorority, for young women who had been
excluded, or just felt like they didn't fit in to the traditional
sorority girl role."
Tracy let her
words sink in for a moment, then she continued. "Beta Gamma is for
all the girls who are too brainy, too tomboyish, too shy, too
sensitive, too non-conformist, too...whatever...to be accepted by
other sororities. We believe in total acceptance of one's spiritual
beliefs and sexual preferences. We don't turn our noses up at
anyone who doesn't fit some preconceived mold.
"We believe in making the world a
better place, not just in getting a big diamond on your finger or
snaring the perfect man," she paused, then said, "Not that we have
anything against men. I mean, I happen to like them a lot."
Some giggles rippled through the
crowd. "Well, that's all I've got. Now I'd like to turn it over to
a few of the sisters to share their thoughts. Phoebe?"
Tracy's place at the center of the room.
like a classic "hippy chick." She wore a flowing gypsy skirt and a
peasant blouse. She had bangle bracelets on both arms and both
ankles. She had three toe rings on each foot.
Seeing Phoebe's beautiful feet made
Michelle instantly decide she was going to get some toe rings.
To Angie, it looked like Phoebe had
never worn shoes in her life, and it was amazing. Her feet were
perfect. It almost made Angie want to rip off her shoes and socks,
but she resisted the urge.
"Two years ago, I
came to Midwestern State, and was a total fish out of water," Phoebe
explained. "I grew up in a small commune, and had never seen
anything like this. I mean, I had a good education at the
commune, so I wasn't a total ignoramus, but it was almost like
culture shock. It didn't seem like there was anyone like me. I was
becoming so desperate just to fit in, I almost bought a pair of Nikes."
A few good-natured boos from the
crowd. "I know. It was that bad. I mean, I'm a girl who's been
barefoot since birth. My mom never saw a need to put shoes on me,
and neither did I.
"Luckily, I happened to meet a Beta
Gamma, Lupe, literally 100 feet from the shoe store.
She noticed my bare feet, and of
course I noticed hers. We struck up a conversation, and the rest is
"Really, I don't think I would have
made it past the first semester if it hadn't been for Beta Gamma."
Phoebe drew a round of applause as she finished.
Tracy said. "Good thing we saved your feet before they got ruined by
those Nike prisons." Everyone laughed. "Colleen?"
Colleen took her
place in the middle. She looked like a total preppy, homecoming
queen type. She wore a Beta Gamma t-shirt and stylish jeans.
But, of course, instead of trendy
footwear, she was barefoot.
Angie could tell Colleen had worn
shoes in her life, but her feet were still natural and beautiful in
a way she had really never seen before tonight.
"I was one of
those stuck-up sorority snobs," Colleen confessed. "My freshman
year, I was Zeta Rho Tau. One of the worst. I thought everything
was great, and I was on top of the world.
"Then I found out one of my Zeta
sisters was sleeping with my boyfriend. When I went to my other
sisters for support, they laughed at me for being so stupid. They
had all known about it for months and thought it was a big joke.
They had bets on how long it would take me to figure it out,"
Colleen paused, obviously a bit shaken up, even now.
"I ended up just crying on a bench on
campus. I wanted to die. Then a few girls from Beta Gamma were
passing by, and they stopped to help me out. They didn't know who I
was or anything, they just wanted to help out because they could see
I was hurting. That's pretty rare in this world."
A tear dripped down her face, but she
"After we talked for awhile, the
girls invited me to go camping with them that night.
I went, because I sure didn't have
anything better to do at that moment."
Then she laughed. "The funny thing,"
Colleen continued, "is that I was so upset that I didn't even
register that the girls were all barefoot until later on, around the
campfire. Then I asked them about it, and they explained the whole
barefoot philosophy of Beta Gamma. Right then, I ripped off my
shoes and socks and threw them in the fire.
"I haven't worn any since. I think
some of my old shoe stores must have gone bankrupt without my
Everyone cheered and applauded, and
Colleen got some pats on the back as she sat back down.
Tracy came to the center of the room
"Just for the
record, burning shoes and socks is not a good idea. The smell is
terrible," Tracy joked. "Well, thanks Colleen, we love you. Now,
I'm sure some of you pledges have questions. Who'd like to start?"
A girl in the
front raised her hand.
"I'm totally down
with the bare feet. Man, I hate shoes!" the girl stated. "But my
question is, don't you get a lot of grief from the administration?
I went barefoot a few times in high school, and they acted like I
brought dynamite to class!" That drew some knowing laughs.
"Well, first of
all, Midwestern is a pretty liberal school, so they don't care too
much about harmless self-expression. Second, we have the highest
combined GPA of any Greek organization on campus. We make the rest
of them look good. And most importantly, we do a lot of good work
in the community. People see us and say 'hey, you're the barefoot
girls!,' and it's a good thing.
"A few years ago, an elderly lady
lost her house in a fire. The Beta Gammas were there the next day
helping to rebuild it, barefoot of course. It was all over the
news, and the town gave us a public service award."
Tracy pointed out a bronze plaque on
the wall. "So, the short answer is: no, we don't get hassled by the
"What about jobs?
I mean, after graduation?" another girl piped up. "Going barefoot
while we're here is cool, but how does it help us in the real
Tracy began. "It's true some of us end up in shod jobs, but you'd
be surprised how many options you have to work barefoot. An awful
lot of Beta Gammas become entrepreneurs, setting their own work
rules, and being very successful at it.
"And, that's another plus to
sisterhood. We can put you in touch with alumni who are very
barefoot friendly and can give you great jobs. It's sort of our
version of an old boy network."
Several of the girls looked at each
other, liking the sound of that.
"I have a
question," Angie said. "What's the point of going barefoot all the
time? I know what the pamphlet said about strength and making a
statement and all that. But why is it so important for all of you
to be barefoot? I just don't get it."
surprised that you were the one to ask that question," Tracy began.
"And there's a very good answer to it."
"The reason we
always go barefoot is because it's good for us, on a physical,
mental and spiritual level," Tracy said. "Really, it's as simple as
"But that's not
really an answer. That's just an opinion," Angie protested.
enough," Tracy admitted. "So let me explain it: human feet are
meant to be bare. Whatever your concept of the origin of life,
people have always been barefoot. No one has ever been born with
shoes or socks on.
"Our feet are meant to feel the air.
Our soles are meant to have contact with the earth. Our toes are
meant to flex and grasp and be useful appendages."
Tracy reached into her pocket and
dropped a coin on the floor. Angie was amazed as Tracy used her
toes almost like fingers, effortlessly picking up the coin.
Tracy held it between her big and
second toes, then flipped the coin into the air and caught it in her
hand, slipping it back into her pocket.
"And I can write with my toes, work a
TV remote, just about anything. I can do this because I've gone
barefoot constantly for the last three years. My feet are living,
breathing, fully functional parts of my body, not just stumps that I
use to stand on. My feet are perfectly healthy, something most shoe
wearers can't say."
"Alright, so your
feet get exercise. It makes sense that they would be healthier,"
there's more. Mentally, my senses are more alert. I'm constantly
in touch with my surroundings. Having my feet free keeps my stress
level down. With less stress, I can focus on what I'm doing and
stay sharp. Remember when I said we had the highest GPA in the
Greek system? That's not a coincidence."
skeptical, but she appeared to be mulling it over.
"And then there's the spiritual
component," Tracy continued. "It's not something that can be
explained scientifically, but there is a real connection to the
natural world that you can only get from walking barefoot over its
surface. Shoes are a barrier that separates humanity from its
roots. Keeping your feet bare grounds you, but lets your spirit
soar at the same time.
"When we're barefoot, we feel closer
to our fellow humans. For us specifically, it strengthens our bonds
of sisterhood. So, that's why we go barefoot. Did I answer your
"Yeah, I guess
you did," Angie responded.
"So take those
things off!" Tracy urged. Several others voiced their agreement.
Angie suddenly felt very awkward.
"I just - I don't
- I just can't. I feel like I'm being pressured," she
cool. We're not about forcing anyone to do something they're
not comfortable with. Let's have a hand for Angie," Tracy said.
The crowd applauded, offering her
praise for being true to herself. Angie felt better.
"Alright, enough of the serious
stuff! Let's have some fun!"
Somebody turned on some music, and
the girls got back to socializing. Michelle gave Angie a hug.
alright. If this isn't your thing, we can still be friends,"
The problem was, deep down, Angie thought this was her
thing, if she could just let herself go.
Later, Angie and
Michelle left the party. Michelle slipped her feet back into her
flip flops. Angie started to say something, but held her tongue.
They had gone
about 100 feet when Michelle stopped. "Hey, what am I doing? I
don't need these things anymore!" she exclaimed.
She swiped her
flip flops off and carried them in her hand. She started walking
The sensation of
the cool sidewalk under her now naked soles was exhilarating. She
stepped onto the grass, and it was even more exhilarating. It
wasn't like she had never walked barefoot on those surfaces before,
but now she was just somehow more aware of it all.
"Yeah, I think I
could get used to this real fast." She noticed a garbage can just
ahead. She ran up to it, and dropped her flip flops in.
"Are you sure you
want to do that?" Angie was stunned.
"Yeah, I'm sure.
More sure than I've ever been in my life," Michelle stated. "This
Michelle started turning cartwheels
out of sheer joy. When she had finished, she said, "Hey, some of
the girls were going out dancing. Let's go meet them!"
"No, you go
ahead. I'm just going to go back to the dorm," Angie replied.
"Okay, well, I'll
catch you later, then," Michelle raced off, relishing the ground
under her feet and the air between her toes.
Angie walked a
little further, then stopped. She turned around and headed back to
the Beta Gamma house.
She rang the doorbell, and Tracy
"Can we talk? In
private?" Angie asked.
said. "Hey, guys, I'm going to take five," she called to the other
sisters who were helping to clean up after the party.
Angie to the sorority house's office. Angie took a seat, while
Tracy sat behind the desk, propping her feet up. Angie's gaze was
drawn to the other girl's perpetually bare feet.
The thin layer of dirt on the sole,
contrasted with the whiteness of the arch. The perfectly formed
toes that seemed to unconsciously flex, as if in response to the
limitless freedom they enjoyed. The cute toe ring with a butterfly
on it encircling Tracy's left second toe.
"So, what's up?"
Tracy asked, snapping Angie back to her surroundings.
"Well, I guess,
you see - the thing is, I really like what the Beta Gammas stand
for, and I think I would like to be a member, but it's just...,"
Angie trailed off.
"Just that you
can't bring yourself to go barefoot all the time, or even any of the
time?" Tracy guessed.
Angie nodded sheepishly.
"I know it seems weird," Tracy
continued. "You're probably wondering; how come they're so open and
liberal about everything, but so strict about bare feet?"
"All that stuff I said earlier about
going barefoot being good for you, inside and out, is true, but
there's more. Going barefoot is also a symbol of just how we're
different from any other sorority out there, and everyone's unity
makes that symbol even stronger. If any Beta Gamma wears shoes,
even flip flops, it weakens our symbolism in the eyes of others, and
dilutes our message.
"I mean, sure, we could all wear
matching headbands, or pins or something like that to show our
unity, but those are just objects, not a part of us. Going barefoot
shows that you have a real commitment to your principles. It makes
people take notice. They may think you're a little crazy,
sometimes, but they will respect you for it. I've seen it over and
over," Tracy concluded.
Angie mulled this over, letting the
words sink in, though she still seemed torn.
"You know, it
just occurred to me," Tracy said. "I think that deep down you
really do want to go barefoot. That's why you came back to talk.
Is there something that's holding you back? Something in your own
Angie hesitated and Tracy could tell
she was onto something. She tilted her head and raised her eyebrows
slightly to signify her expectation.
replied. "It's my parents, Growing up, you'd think that none of us
had feet. It's like we just had different shoes that we screwed
onto the stumps of our legs every day. Does that make sense?"
Tracy nodded, and smiled.
"Oh, it makes
perfect sense," Tracy confirmed. "Believe it or not, I grew up the
same way. If you didn't have shoes on, you'd better have slippers.
And, oh the horror if a foot without a sock was ever seen."
stunned. "So, how did you deal with it? I mean, you're like the
barefoot poster girl now," Angie asked.
year, I went home at Thanksgiving, and I just did it barefoot.
Being with the Beta Gammas gave me the confidence to stand up to my
mom, to show her who I was and how I was forging my own path," Tracy
"She freaked, of
course, but I stood my ground. By the end of the weekend, I had
convinced her. I even got her to take a barefoot walk with me at
the park. My mother, who I didn't even realize had toes, was
walking barefoot through the park. In late November, no less!"
okay with it?" wondered Angie.
She's not as hardcore as me, but she's definitely an avid barefooter
now. We spread it to my sisters, too. My middle sister is a
sophomore Beta Gamma at Apple Valley right now, and my youngest
sister is a high school senior, but she's already planning to pledge
Beta Gamma next year. She tries to go barefoot in school now, but
of course, there are teacher and principal issues. She's gotten
pretty sneaky, though," Tracy laughed.
I don't know if my parents would go for it, though," Angie doubted.
"Trust me, if my
mom could change, yours can, too," Tracy reassured her. Angie
thought about it.
Tracy gave her a
minute. She could tell Angie was on the cusp of breaking through
her reservations. Tracy had a sudden inspiration.
"Angie, have you
ever had a good foot rub, you know, from a boyfriend, or anyone?"
Angie shook her
surprised. If you don't mind, I'd like to show you how wonderful
the sensations in your feet can be, right here, where it's safe."
Angie seemed a
little unsure. "Okay," she said, finally.
Tracy rolled her
desk chair so that she was facing Angie, close enough to touch. She
reached down and pulled Angie's loafer enclosed right foot into her
lap. Angie trembled a bit.
nervous," Tracy said gently. "I won't even take your sock off."
Tracy slipped the
loafer off and dropped it on the floor. Angie stared at her own
socked foot with dread, but there was another sense, anticipation,
that was building, and overpowering the dread.
Angie's foot, and it was like she had been struck by lightning, but
she didn't jump.
Tracy gently caressed her sole,
kneading it with her fingers. It was like heaven.
How had she not realized her feet
could provide such a wonderful sensation?
Then, Tracy stopped. "I can keep
going, but I need to take your sock off to do it right," she said.
"Go ahead," Angie
Tracy hooked her
finger into Angie's sock, and slowly slid it off her foot. Tracy
was a bit surprised to see a fairly healthy, well-formed foot,
with straight toes and nice arches.
Angie wiggled her
toes in the cool air.
"You've got some
nice tootsies. I guess this is one time nature beat nurture," Tracy
Angie blushed slightly. Tracy then
began to rub Angie's bare foot.
If the massage through the sock had
been great, the gentle touch on Angie's naked sole was beyond
wonderful. Tracy lovingly worked over the ball, the heel, the arch,
the crevice under the toes.
If there were any spot on Angie's
foot that could feel good, Tracy found it. Tracy's grand finale was
to corkscrew every toe, finishing with the little one. Angie was
almost in a trance-like state.
feeeels soooo gooood," she managed to mumble.
"So, should I
stop, or do you want me to do the other one?" Tracy asked, already
knowing the answer.
Without a word, Angie kicked off her
left shoe, and reached down to quickly yank off her sock. Then she
put her left foot in Tracy's lap.
"I guess that answers that question," Tracy laughed.
She repeated her performance, using
her hands like a concert pianist. Once she had finished with the
final toe corkscrew, Angie was in ecstasy. Tracy let her bask in
it. Finally, Angie seemed to come back to earth.
outside," she said, matter-of-factly. Angie stood up, savoring the
soft carpet under her soles, the threads oozing between her toes.
Then she headed out the door, leaving her shoes and socks discarded
on the floor. Tracy quietly followed her out.
onto the porch to see Angie soaking up the sensations of the lawn.
Angie felt like she could feel each blade of grass gently brushing
against her sensitized and energized feet.
Then she remembered the wooded area
behind the house. She ran to it, not caring that it was the middle
of the night.
She plunged into the tree line,
feeling every distinct part of the underbrush, the roots, twigs,
leaves, the bare earth. She could feel the energy welling up
through her bared soles, as if the living planet itself was welcoming
her back to its embrace.
She felt alive, primal. Why had she
let herself be closed off for her entire life? She spent a long
time soaking it all in.
When Angie came
out of the woods, she found Tracy waiting for her. She opened her
arms and embraced her warmly. "Thank you. It's just - it's
amazing. I can't describe it," Angie told her.
"You don't have
to," Tracy replied. "I know what you're talking about." She
playfully rubbed her foot across Angie's. The two laughed, and
"I'm going to get
going, but I'll be back tomorrow to fill out the membership
application," Angie said.
have it ready for you," Tracy told her. Angie started walking away.
"Hey, what about your shoes and socks?" Tracy called.
"Oh, you can
throw them in the trash, where they belong," Angie shot back. She
intended never to wear shoes, or especially socks, again. Wouldn't
Michelle be surprised!
The End, and a New Beginning.