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Swiss and French men top European smelly sock league

AFP · 11 Oct 2011, 17:58

Published: 11 Oct 2011 17:58 GMT+02:00

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When it comes to socks, one is more likely to find a French or Swiss man wearing a smelly pair than a German or a Brit.

A study by Swiss firm Blacksocks found that only 66 percent of Frenchmen changed their socks daily, while just seven in ten Swiss men put on a clean pair every day.

On the other end of the hygiene scale were German and British men, with 78 percent saying they put on fresh socks daily, according to the survey of 3,000 people across six European states.

Overall, 77 percent of women and men surveyed changed their socks daily, while 11 percent do so once every two days.

Four percent put on a fresh pair every three days, and one percent changed their socks only once a week.

The frequency of changing socks may be related to the number of pairs owned.

Story continues below…

German men were found to be the biggest sock owners, with 24 pairs on average each. Austrians came just after with 23 pairs, followed by the Swiss with 22 pairs.

Frenchmen own the least pairs -- just 17 on average each, the survey said, adding that it could explain why they kept their socks on for a longer time than other nationalities.

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Your comments about this article

2011-10-14 21:36:02 by Willi Es
Thank you sryan5597. Your history lesson was more informative than the news article itself. Someday the mystery may be solved, but until that occurs, we may find solace with the math involved in the scientific study mentioned in the article. To wit: 3000 people were telephoned across several European States. 1 percent said that they change their sock once each week, which amounts to 30 people who A: have a telephone, B: answered it, C:agreed to participate in this study, and D: had no shame in admitting their hygienic habits, or lack thereof. 30 is a small number, but perhaps there are more folks out there who did not participate due to any of the aforementioned conditions? Having a telephone may be correlative to having access to soap and water... In Other Words, if you can't afford soap, then keeping a telephone connected may be out of reach as well. Or perhaps those 30 had to choose between buying soap for a month or keeping their telephone connected for the same amount of time, and they chose the phone. In this case, then one would rather talk to them by phone anyway. The stink of dirty feet may be the least of their worries, without soap for a month...
2011-10-14 05:07:44 by sryan5597
This is not a surprise. It has long been true of the French men. It dates back to the Napoleonic Wars, especially to the 1812 campaign in Russia. In the long trek back from Moscow, French soldiers found it difficult to launder their socks. Some wore the same pair of socks throughout the retreat. Subsequently it became a matter of pride among the survivors of the campaign that they had gone so long with un-laundered socks. They adopted this feature as a symbol of their experience, which distinguished the veterans of the Russian campaign from other French men who had stayed home. These veterans prided themselves on never changing their socks. Whenever another Frenchman complained of the odor, the veteran would growl that if the complainer had been in the Russian campaign, he would not worry about a little thing like foot smell. That usually silenced the draft-dodger and in time it became a badge of honor to not change one's socks. Why the Swiss men followed the same practice, I do not know. Perhaps French-speaking Swiss men adopted the practice. Some say that the Swiss Guards who served the pre-Revolutionary French kings, brought the custom home but Swiss historians point out, after research, that the French Revolution took place before the Napoleonic period, so that could not be the answer. Others say that the Swiss Guards serving the Papacy in Rome brought home the custom. The Popes never changed their socks. Most other Italians of the day did not wear any socks at all. This question may never be resolved.
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