In which I am retching even as I write

To be printed 06/01/10.

It's been a weird weekend. Of course, the Christmas period is always a time of general topsy-turviness, what with everybody eating Lindor for breakfast, buying half-price bikinis and having no idea what day it is, but that last weekend was a proper mind-confuddler. Given that New Year's Day always feels like a Sunday, and Bank Holidays always feel like a Sunday, and then there was an actual Sunday sandwiched in the middle that didn't feel as much like a Sunday as the fake Sundays either side.

But my confusing Christmas started two weeks earlier, when I got home and discovered that in my absence, my family have started wearing slippers.

As an adult child moving out of home, there are many things you worry about. You worry that they'll forget your name or give your bedroom to the guinea pigs. You worry that they'll suddenly develop a taste for DFS pleather sofas and start buying ornaments from QVC. You worry that they'll decide Worthing is too cosmopolitan and exciting for them, and move to Bognor. But you never think you'll have to worry about them suddenly taking up a habit as dangerous and perverse as slipper-wearing.

We have never been a slipper family. I'd like to think it's because the Bravos are free spirits, trekking bravely through life on the bare (or sock-clad) feet that God gave them. But more likely it's because we're lazy, and because taking one pair of shoes off, only to put another, slightly softer, pair of shoes on, feels like quite an effort compared to just taking them off and being done with it.

But if I'm honest it's more than just laziness. I genuinely don't get the point of slippers. Maybe it's something that I'll start to understand with age, like slips or valance sheets. If your feet are cold, you want to warm them - this I understand. But surely, that's what big socks are for. Big socks are great, I am a cheerleader for big socks. They offer insulation for your tootsies without losing the feeling of freedom you get from being shoeless. In fact, on the right kind of flooring socks give you MORE freedom. Remember Risky Business? I think you see my point.

Why you'd want to surrender to another shoe instead of the freeing sock is beyond me. Ladies - imagine you come home at night and take your bra off (sheer, comfortable, free-hanging bliss), only to immediately put on something basically the same as a bra, but with a different name and a fleecy lining. You're just cheating yourself.

Plus, there's just something so poncey about slippers. Those proper, towelling mule ones. They produce the same stomach-clenching reflex in me as flip-flops. They instantly render even the most dignified and impressive of persons a powerless, shuffling twerp.

It doesn't mean I love my family any less, of course. But somehow I feel it's driven a wall between us. I'm finding it harder to look at them and see myself reflected back. And in the spirit of family loyalty, I'd like it to be heard: when I find out who has done this to them, there will be hell to pay.