In the 1990s, the Southport Sockmen, otherwise known as Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop, paid drunk people in Liverpool bars and clubs to give them the socks they were wearing. The Sockmen took photos of each “donor,” before placing each sock and its matching donor photo in a plastic bag. The police found 4,000 pairs of socks piled 18 inches deep when they arrived to arrest the pair for “acts of gross indecency.” The socks were also hanging from the furniture and lampshades -- and some were in the microwave.
Most of us put on a pair of clean socks every morning. Beyond what color and style we choose, we don't give much thought to the history, craft or fashion of socks. Nor do we think about the intimacy of the sock. Almost half of sexual fetishes are for feet, shoes or socks. This seemingly boring object that we wear on our feet every day is really quite interesting.
- Kim Adrian is the author of the memoir “The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet.” Her most recent book, “Dear Knausgaard,” was published in September. She teaches at Grub Street in downtown Boston.
- Kara Mavros is a writer based in New York.
- Chloe Bryan is the deputy editor for Mashable’s shopping section, covering tech and lifestyle products. Previously, she was a culture reporter for Mashable. (@chloebryan)
Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.