Getting Your Socks-With-Sandals Groove On

The Sartorialist today described this Parisian woman as “cool.” I wouldn’t have thought that from looking at the picture; I would have described her as goofy. But there must be some quality about her that isn’t coming across in photo, some je ne sais quoi that turns even goofy to cool.

Diane Keaton had it in “Annie Hall”—there she was in her stupid hat and fat tie and dude still wanted to kiss her. Lear had it on the heath: raving in his underwear, he was still king. I think that’s what the je ne sais quoi is, the confidence of kings: lungta, in Tibetan—the unlimited energy of basic goodness, or inherent wakefulness. (Wow, that’s freakin’ far from the chick in the the jodphurs and the Corkies with socks, but what the hell.)

Maud had a friend in high school, in Halifax—Lauren—who used to wear socks with her Birkenstocks, and her grandmother’s white wool coat that closed with a sash. If I wore that I’d look like a Vermont lady who drank homemade wine and sprinkled cat hair on my cereal with my flax seeds. But Lauren, who embodied lungta, was beating both boys and girls (and dogs) off with a stick.

Trungpa Rinpoche, the man who brought Tibetan Buddhism to the West in the late Sixties and early Seventies, used to tell his American students when they’d lost their lungta, to pull up their socks. There’s a story about how one day he said this to one of his students—pull your socks up—and the student said, “But Rinpoche, I’m not wearing socks,” to which Rinpoche replied, “Then pull up your pants.”

Clearly, that’s what the Sartorialist lady did, she pulled up her pants.