This was one of those truths that I held to be self-evident for the first 35 years of my life. Wearing colored socks was a clear sign that you had gotten “old”. Only old men wore anything other than white socks. Dick Van Dyke and my grandpa wore black socks. Guys in suits wore black socks. I did not wear black socks. I wore white socks. Socks of youth.

Black cashmere socks are a sort of gateway drug into other colored socks.

So it has been something of a struggle for me this last year to finally accept the idea of wearing colored socks. I’m pretty sure it all started when my wife talked me into buying a pair of black cashmere socks and oh-my-holy-God they were so comfortable. And that pair was a sort of gateway drug into other colored socks. I now have — and I say this with a sort of shame — almost a dozen pairs of non-white socks. And I wear them regularly.

This fact more than any other is a warning klaxon that I am no longer “a kid”. More than the fact that I sometimes want to take a nap in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. More than the fact that I’ve started — gasp! — golfing. More than the fact that I am often sore the day after a trip to the gym. More than the fact that I actually enjoy wearing shirts with French cuffs and cufflinks. More than the fact that I now frequently prefer to stay at home and watch television instead of going to a bar to get plowed.

In just a few hours I’ll be celebrating the start of my 36th year. I’ll be on vacation so it’s likely that — except for when I’m on the golf course — I won’t be wearing any socks at all.

And to be fair, I always really liked Dick Van Dyke and my grandpa.

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What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

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You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.