ON THREE occasions in the month of October, I was asked to supply three separate men with pairs of socks.

The first was when, after a night in the pub, a load of people came back to me and my girlfriend’s flat. Always a good idea at the time. However, the flat we’re renting has cream carpets. So, upon everyone entering, I had to become everything I’ve never wanted to become. “Dae yees mind takin yer shoes aff, please?” I said in a low mumble. “Cream carpets. Am sorry.” Everyone was fine with it though and our pals are all very understanding and respectful people.

After maybe 10 minutes of running around, getting people drinks, showing people about and phoning the stragglers who were still trying to locate the flat, my pal came up to me looking very sombre and very different from the man I had just shared a few shots with in a pub just half an hour ago.

“Have you goat any socks, Chris?” He asked me in a whisper. My eyes drifted down. It was like a camera panning down in a film; suspenseful music played as I prepared for the big reveal.

Peeking out from the bottom of his denims was just a hint of his horrible, pale naked feet, toes curled under as he tried to hide them.

I laughed a very uncomfortable little laugh. “Where’s yours?”

I asked. He’s no the kind of guy to go out sans socks.

“Well, when ye said ye were havin everybody back tae yours, I jumped tae the toilet. Didnae wanty come right in dae it in yer new toilet.”

“Mate, I really don’t mind ye using ma toilet.”

“Ye wid’ve. This wisnae pleasant. An there wis nae toilet roll.”

Jesus Christ, I thought. I read between the lines, piecing together what happened in the cubicle. “Take it yer socks are still in the pub toilet then, aye?”


I gave him a pair of my scabbiest socks and haven’t spoken to him since. You think you know a guy then they go and do that.

The second was again, after a few shandies at ours. I walk into the living room to see another pal standing, on the cream carpet, in a pool of very darkly-coloured fruit cider. “Ye goat any spare socks, Chris!” he laughed. “Mine are aw wet!”

Aye, I can see that mate. He worked his little toes into the wet carpet, bubbles of cider fizzing up between them.

The third occasion was not in the house this time, but on Buchanan Street. I was standing with the dug, waiting for my girlfriend to finish work. She text to say she was going to be a wee bit late. That was fine with me, that gave me some time to check my emails or do some people watching, try and get some ideas for stories or indeed, for this column.

“Ye goat a fag oan ye, mate?” a guy asked me.

“Naw, sorry, mate. Ah don’t smoke,” I replied.

“Any spare socks?”

“Wit?” I thought for a minute that this guy had been stalking me or something and now he was ready to reveal himself and taunt me about the fact I’ve been haemorrhaging socks for a month.

“Socks,” he said, even more sure of himself. Like it was as common a thing to ask for from someone as a fag. “I need some socks.”

“Naw, am sorry, mate. I don’t have any spare wans oan me.”

“Wit aboot they wans.” He nodded down at my feet. I gave another uncomfortable laugh.

I looked to the dug, hoping that we’d suddenly developed some kind of telepathic link and that he’d sense that I was freaked out, maybe he’d help me in some way. I couldn’t lose a third pair of socks in a month. That’s unheard of. Must be like a world record.

For a brief moment, I considered just handing them over and accepting that I was now the kind of guy who for some reason just gives his socks away to anyone who asks. He was quite a normal guy, it seemed. And he must be desperate, because who just asks a stranger on Buchanan Street for their socks? Was I now part of a chain? Would I now have to go and do the same? Was it about to be my turn to be sock taker, not sock giver?

Naw, I thought. These are my socks, gifted to me at Christmas by my maw, granny and aunties.

“Naw,” I said to the guy. There’s “a Primark up there”.

“Fine,” he said, storming away in a huff.

Since telling him no, I’ve managed to keep a hold of all my remaining socks so far this month. It seems I have broken the curse.