When I was a freshman in college – the one year that I had absolutely no control over who I was going to share a room with – I was assigned a horrible lovely roommate by the name of G. Good old G hailed from butt fuck Egypt Defiance, Ohio and her devoted fiancé was a pear-shaped weirdo down-home country boy who was never, ever seen without a cowboy hat.
Please believe me when I say that I really did try my best to get along with G. But it was a very tall order as we had absolutely nothing in common. I liked punk music and indie rock; she liked country (and also western.) I was a bleeding heart liberal with a boner for Bill Clinton; she was a rabid conservative with a boner for IT’S A CHILD! NOT A CHOICE! I liked going to parties and concerts, studying with friends, and working at my university job; she liked never leaving our dormitory room EVER.
But perhaps most importantly, I believed in proper foot hygiene.
She did not.
You see, G had the most heinous problem with foot odor of anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. And no! Don’t you dare go defending her and blaming it on some physiological anomaly. I can tell you right now that it wasn’t because of her diet, as she ate the same college dorm crap we all did, and none of the rest of us had radioactive green vapor trails coming out of our shoes. It wasn’t from some rare medical condition that made her feet sweat more than everybody else’s, or which caused her foot perspiration to smell like a zombie’s taint. And it certainly wasn’t from her weight, as I am easily as overweight now as she was then, and my feet don’t funk out like two bricks of half-digested Limburger cheese.
No, the problem issued from one source and one source alone. It was caused by her trusty, crusty pair of these:
Look, I like a pair of broken-in Keds as well as the next person. But here’s the thing. If you NEVER wear socks with them, and if you go to college in a state that stays boiling hot from early May until about halfway through friggin’ October, and if you spend a lot of your time trekking up and down hills to get back and forth from class… those Keds are going to REEK.
And believe me, hers did.
They reeked so badly that at any given time, I had about five bottles of Lysol spray sitting around the room for quick and desperate access. They reeked so badly that I spent a lot of money I didn’t have on an extensive collection of candles, oil warmers, and air fresheners. They reeked so badly that I eventually went down to the local head shop to purchase some incense meant to mitigate the smell of the strongest ganja.
None of these things worked. Not even a little.
In fact, as the dreaded pair of Keds continued to age, the smell got exponentially worse. It got to the point where I could spend almost no time in my own dorm room, except to change clothes and sleep. Even sleeping was an unpleasant experience – I had to fall asleep *under* my bedclothes, which I sprayed each night with copious amounts of perfume (there was no Febreze back then) before crawling into bed. And let me just say that choking on Obsession fumes while sweating to death underneath the cheapest, polyester-est duvet in the world is not exactly conducive to a good night’s rest.
My friends confirmed what I already knew. They would swing by to get me on their way to class, but they would wait for me *outside* of my room rather than set even one toe inside. And one time we were all studying in the hallway when we realized you could actually smell the foot funk seeping out from under my closed dorm room door.
Needless to say, I never took boys back to that room. Ever. Not even once. I lost a WHOLE YEAR OF HOOKUPS thanks to G’s awful foot stench.
When the academic year was over, and my father and I were loading my things into his little black GTI, I remember feeling a palpable sense of relief that I would Never Have To Smell That Disgusting Shit Again. And I never did smell it again. No foot odor I’ve encountered before or since has ever matched that of the incomparable G. And in a strange way, it’s kind of led me to put ol’ G up on a pedestal. A pedestal of Incredible Foot Nastiness Surpassed by No One, but a pedestal none the less.
I wonder what G is up to these days. She liked church, and marching band, and of course she loved her cowboy-hat-wearin’ weirdo. Maybe the two of them got married young and are living happily ever after. Maybe they volunteer at their local parish, or for the Republican party. Maybe they have a whole mess of chilluns. She probably doesn’t remember me much – except for possibly the fact that she hated my guts – but I hope on some level she knows that I remember her.
And the foul, positively repulsive smell of her Keds.