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Danny Wallace: Using a website to learn how to fold socks the right way

"Trust me, you don’t want to know what your socks are saying about you"

Danny Wallace: Using a website to learn how to fold socks the right way
20 September 2017

I am looking at a website that tells me how to fold socks, because my wife recently revealed she doesn’t like the way I fold socks.

Anyway, we all have our different styles when folding socks, don’t we? And we’re always being told to be confident in our style, aren’t we? That style comes from confidence? Well, discovering my wife has a problem with my style (of sock folding) was a bit of a shock. I’d thought everything was fine in our relationship. Then she drops this bombshell. But what is really surprising is that a website that tells you how to fold socks not only exists, but also goes to the bother of explaining what socks are.

“Socks are a necessity,” it begins. “Their functions are multiple.”

Well, I’ll stop you there. Already I think I’d be prepared to argue this. Socks are not some kind of Swiss Army knife of the wardrobe. That said, I am no sock expert (or ‘sexpert’), and immediately jumping to conclusions is not my style.

Besides, the article continues.

“They keep us warm, they protect the feet and absorb sweat, and they are often used to add stylistic flair to our outfits.”

This sounds like the intro to some nature documentary about socks in the wild. Why is it telling us about socks? Who is the author explaining socks to? No one has come here to find out how to fold socks without first knowing what socks are. Does he think someone just found a pair hanging off a bin somewhere, asked what they were called and thought, “Well, I’m very confused as to what these do, but I better find out how to fold them”?

As for stylistic flair, I think the world is divided into three sorts of men:

Men who wear plain socks.

Men who wear novelty socks.

And men who don’t wear novelty socks but do wear socks of all colours, which is the sort of posh version of a novelty sock, and is like their feet have learned a form of semaphore, able to convey vital information at a distance – usually the words “Keep Away From This Man”.

Now, I would not be surprised if elsewhere on this website there is a short piece on What Your Socks Say About You. If those socks are multicoloured, trust me, you don’t want to know what your socks are saying about you. Your socks are slagging you off. Your socks are essentially talking behind your back (which normally would mean you’re a contortionist, or ‘sexpert’).

“They come in a variety of styles,” says the website, still insisting we can’t possibly understand socks, “and are also made from numerous materials.”

These are statements so vague and yet so correct they are impossible to argue with.

“Regardless of their function, though,” it continues, finding yet more ways to introduce you to the concept of socks, “folding the socks properly helps keep them looking new for a long time.”

Well, bingo. Now we’re getting there. This is why I’m here. And the article is right: I cannot stand meeting a friend in town and noticing their socks don’t look new.

But I feel I have a handle on what socks are now, so I scan the first technique for folding them.

And look! THAT’S THE WAY I FOLD SOCKS! The ‘Folding Over The Cuff’ technique. Take ’em off, fold them into a little ball, toss them across a room. “The most common and easiest method” – not my words, the words of someone who has devoted an entire webpage to this by choice. Finally – hard evidence my wife is insane. I’ll print this page out, fold it however I deem best and hand it to her. I’d come to this website to see what I’d been doing wrong, and how to right it. But I’ve been doing it right my whole life!

It is possible my wife’s fury comes from a sense of insecurity. Or perhaps it is because she is Australian, which is widely known as a sockless society. Maybe the kindest thing to do would be to teach her how to fold socks like I do. For do they not say, “Give a girl a sock, and she’ll then have one of your socks. But teach a girl how to fold socks, and although she’ll still have one of your socks, she’ll at least know how to fold the other?”

Answer: they do not.

But I’m ready to close this site and move on with my life. I click it away, ignoring other techniques that apparently my wife would prefer I employ – the ‘Crossing The Socks’ technique, ‘Military Style’ etc – because I don’t care if my wife doesn’t like how I fold my socks. The way I fold my socks is perfect.

And then I realise: all those experts are right.

Style is about confidence.

It’s about folding your socks any way you please, no matter the consequences. And, sure, there will be doubters. There will be people who tell you you’re doing it wrong.

And if you’re wearing multicoloured socks?

Well, they’d be right, and you should listen to them.