Wednesday, June 4, 2008

왜 "고무신 걸"이라고?

Why "Gomushin Girl"?
Gomushin are cheap rubber shoes that used to be common footwear here in Korea. They're kind of cute in that they look like little rubber boats, or shoes for elves. I'm sure that's exactly what Galadriel had on her feet when Frodo came calling. My mother wears a pair when she gardens, but other than her you'll usually only see them on the feet of the elderly and monks. I don't know quite how they got to be the official footwear of the traditionalist monk (running shoes are also a popular choice, but I suspect they're the more progressive monks) but regardless . . .
I've never had a pair of gomushin. I do, however, own a pair of bright green ballet slipper Crocks. Now in their worst form, crocks do look a bit like bright, happy, foot-eating carnivores. Sometimes they mate with Uggs and you get Cruggs (shudder!) But mine almost looked like real shoes, and they were a glorious innovation that make a lot of sense during the rainy season. They're very practical footwear that will hold up in a good drenching. They're also apparently irresistible to the Metropolitician's junkie cats with their plastic addictions. Yes, the Metropolitician's cat ate my shoes. It's not the strangest thing to ever happen to me.
Anyway, a certain Korean friend of mine accompanied me on the shopping trip that resulted in their purchase. Aforementioned friend took one look at them when I picked them up and pronounced them the most expensive, ugly pair of gomushin he'd ever seen. And that is exactly why I bought them. Shortly thereafter I needed to adopt a 필명 for FeetManSeoul, and thus was born my new secret identity.

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