Area man sorts through his sock drawer

Realising that he was 15 minutes late to work the other day because he couldn’t find a matching sock despite a collection of more than 60 pair, area man Bob Frapples, 52, is sorting through his sock drawer.   Frapples, a research scientist with the Institute of Applied Institutional Applications in Hamburg, Germany, says the task he faces is an immense one.

“Look, maybe I’m going fucking colour-blind in my old age, but I just can’t tell them apart anymore,” he laments.  “I mean, look at these things.  One’s blue, the other’s dark blue, that one’s black… you know, I’ve got better things to do that piss around on my day off sorting through socks.”

Frapples is not alone. In a recent poll, 65% of German men said they gave up finding a matching pair the other day and actually put on their Birkenstocks without socks, a major male fashion faux pas in a country that leads the developed world in awkward ways to dress.

Another survey found 35% of men would rather spend money on new socks rather than spend the time sorting through their old ones.

Specialists in the field of household psychology pin the problem on the pervasiveness of technology in modern life.

“People just figure they’ll be able to download some app for this sort of thing one day like they do for everything else, so they let their socks just sit there in the drawer, forever unsorted and ultimately unused,” said Bill Melater, Ph.D.  “Then they find they’re neglecting other household tasks, like getting around to doing the laundry or finally fixing that damned handle on the bathroom door that never seems to close properly.”

Economists have also picked up on the trend and say the growing under-utilisation of sockage in the market might be countered by external forces that will determine whether socks in the future get sorted.

“You might actually begin to entertain the idea,” said Gudeggs Getlaid of the London School of Economics, “that it is starting to look like the initial stages of a budding appearance of a growing societal trend wherein market demand for a strategic fit in the realm of sock drawer logistics is determined not by whether one ends up with two socks that actually match, but…oh…  Oh shit.   I’m terribly sorry. Where was I?”

iPhone developers have picked up on the trend.  One group is now working on an app that could revolutionise the world of sock drawers and free up untold millions of hours now wasted on sorting.

“Alls ya godda do is point the iPhone at your sock drawer, and the app’ll do the rest, OK?” said an excited app man at some Starbucks somewhere. “The app will analyse the colours and sizes, then suggest paired matches on your screen.”

Frapples says he couldn’t be arsed with the iPhone or experts for that matter as he spreads his drawer out over half his living room.  An organised man, his socks are now neatly ordered one beside the other according to length, not colour.

“That breaks it down a bit,” he said on a break for lunch three hours in.   “I figure with my system in place, I’ll be done before it’s time to head to work tomorrow morning.  I’ve already warned my wife that the living room’s a construction zone ’til the job’s over.”

Frapples has brought in extra lighting from neighbouring rooms to help out in the task.  “That helps to tell the difference between dark blue and dark-blue-but-not-that-dark-blue-could-be-black-for-all-I-know,” he said.

So far his method has resulted in about 20 matches.

17 Responses to “Area man sorts through his sock drawer”

  1. October 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I’m shocked you didn’t mention Blacksocks and it’s iPhone App, complete with the blackometer.

  2. October 30, 2012 at 8:16 am

    So then, you’re doing NaNoWriMo?🙂

  3. October 30, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Oh gosh… for a long time I just can’t buying more and more socks to avoid the sorting….

  4. 5 Jul
    October 30, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I was quite sure this was an Onion headline the first time I scrolled by it on Facebook.

    (Was also going to mention blacksocks.com, but Adam beat me to it.)

  5. 6 Meenakshi Preisser
    October 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Ian, there are way too many people out there who shouldn’t be blogging. You are not one of them. I read every posting, though I might not comment on every one. Know that you have a dedicated fan here in der Hoheluft. …Also, even some women suffer from this sock-sorting problem. A few years ago I just bought all the same kinds of socks, with a few, very obvious exceptions. So all my black ones are the same, all my white ones are the same, then I have a couple pairs of crazy socks whose partners would never confuse or elude me. A full dump-out and re-buy might be the way to go for you too. Either that or you do it like my MIL, who, when folding the clean laundry, finds the matching socks and wraps them up together before throwing them into the sock drawer. After a while, you’ll find that most socks in the drawer are physically attached to their partners.

    • October 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      I’m physically attached to my partner sometimes, too. Whoops, did I say that out loud?

      Meenakshi, thank you for the compliments and your Hoheluft fandom. Germany expat bloggers still rave about your Hamburg tour guiding skills.🙂

  6. 8 Jan-Ole
    October 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Seriously? There’s an app for sorting socks? And those are tagged by RFID? I must be older than I realize if I think that’s way too much hightech for a little thing as sorting socks. Going by length is also the way I use to do it and hey, it works most of the time and afterwards it’s the cuff I look at. Or I don’t bother anymore and just put on two of them that seem reasonably identical in the hope noone ever notices.
    Still, brilliant text made me laugh out loud a few times and could indeed be Onion material. Nice thing to read and nice to hear that other people also got problems sorting those damned things…

  7. October 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I also thought it would be perfect for The Onion! Great names, man.

    I actually like folding laundry so that is one of my household chores…my husband has too many black socks that are hard to match up as well!

  8. 10 hmunro
    October 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Hilarious! Lots of memorable moments here, but my favorite line is “… a major male fashion faux pas in a country that leads the developed world in awkward ways to dress.” So tragic, and so unfortunately true. Thanks for brightening my day.

  9. October 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    omg that is so fucking funny i’m in tears. thank you for sharing that!

  10. November 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Socks? I remember those! Living as I do in the land of boat-shoes-no-socks, it’s not such a problem, but at least I have a way to attack the problem now if it ever arises. I did know an old German widow back in the 80s who was being pursued by hordes of men in their 80s who were intent on marriage. She’d just snort and say, “What? At 92 I should marry again and spend the rest of my life sorting men’s socks?” She played dominoes and bingo instead, and seemed quite happy.

  11. November 9, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I laughed so hard that I had tears. The day that I sort anyone’s socks for them is not in this life. My hubby buys only one brand of socks called “happy foot” and all are black. Matching them up is no problem ie. he doesn’t app for that.

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