17 February 2014

The superiority of slippers

Last week, we talked about pet peeves with my students. Stinky people on public transport and annoying parents factored highly. However, one of my students had a particularly interesting pet peeve.

'People who wear socks with sandals,' he said. 

'Um,' I said, looking down at his feet, 'like you are currently doing?'

'No, not like me. These are bačkory.'

Readers, I present to you Czech bačkory with traditional socks for extra warmth and comfort.

Sadly, my freakishly small feet meant that pink was my only option
To American/British eyes, these house shoes look suspiciously like off-brand Birkenstocks, a popular-and-expensive outdoor sandal. However, Wikipedia informs me that Birkenstocks are originally German and also usually worn as house shoes, so I'm afraid my fellow countrymen and are the ones doing strange things.

The concept of bačkory has been a difficult one for me to grasp. I mean, I understand the general idea behind it - wearing dirty shoes in the house is indeed manky. However, there seem to be rules about when one should take off one's outdoor shoes and when one shouldn't - house, yes; doctor's office, yes and also no! go put your shoes back on! 

The students at my school are required to change into bačkory. Initially, it seemed really strange and far too informal to see students in slippers all day. This doesn't seem to be a requirement for teachers (at least not one I was told about), so for the past few months, I've been wearing my most-imposing boots when teaching. Primarily because I thought it would give me a bit of gravitas in the classroom.

But the doubts started creeping in that maybe I was missing out on a perk of teaching in a Czech school. And so, last week, I took my home slippers in to work with me.

It turns out that gravitas is overrated. 

A special pair of work slippers have now been purchased. (They, unlike my pink house slippers, are purple. I'm pretty sure I have no dignity left).

Smalls, of course, has a few pairs of bačkory. Traditional Czech house slippers for kids initially puzzled me with their....hm, unattractiveness. But, I must be getting more acclimated since I'm quite fond of Smalls's latest pair. 

No comments:

Post a Comment