Internet | January 4, 2022 12:19 pm

AOC’s Boyfriend’s Feet Aren’t That Gross

His "pale, male feet" seem fine to me

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Riley Roberts leave the 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. A columnist recently tried to attack the boyfriend for having gross feet.
AOC and her boyfriend. (Not pictured: his feet.)
James Devaney/GC Images

Most of the time, the “main character” of any given cycle of internet discourse is a person, typically one who has either already done something deemed reprehensible or is about to get milkshake ducked. Occasionally, however, the main character is an inanimate body part belonging to someone tangentially related to a famous person. A few months ago it was Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls; this week it’s AOC’s boyfriend’s feet, which, according to former Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes, are “gross.”

In a New Year’s Eve tweet, Cortes took it upon himself to call out Riley Roberts’ “gross pale male feet” on display in “hideous sandals” in a snap taken while Roberts was minding his own business on vacation in Miami Beach with his girlfriend, U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Clearly, this unprovoked jab at her beau’s Birkenstocked feet was meant to attack AOC by association. But while having a boyfriend is inherently embarrassing, if the worst thing someone can say about the man in your life is that he has gross, pale man feet, I’d say you’re doing alright in the grand scheme of embarrassing boyfriend traits and behaviors.

Moreover, calling someone’s feet “gross” is, in addition to not being a very good burn, extremely tired and boring. Being performatively grossed out by feet is one of those extremely annoying and prevalent habits that everyone thinks makes them quirky and unique, like hating the word “moist” or loving tacos. People who talk about hating feet think that this is a very strange, uncommon aversion that makes them funny, interesting and perhaps even slightly superior to those of us who apparently aren’t refined enough to be offended by feet, when actually it’s tired, boring and extremely overplayed.

I don’t care if you think feet are gross, whether it’s a specific pair of feet or feet in general. In 2022, it is much more interesting to be turned on by feet than to be repulsed by them. Unless you’re horny for feet, I don’t really care to hear what you think about them.

Still, that’s not to say that feet can never be unsettling. Are some feet gross? Of course, there are plenty of things that could be wrong with feet, and like any other body part, feet need to be properly cared for to avoid becoming unkempt. Are “pale, male feet” more likely to be gross than other kinds of feet? Maybe, though I have to wonder what kind of feet Cortes himself is sporting if not perhaps slightly tanner male ones.

Another issue Cortes seemed to take with the feet in question is that they were out “in public (not at a pool/beach),” despite the fact that Roberts was wearing sandals (which Cortes deemed “hideous”) and dining at what appears to be a very casual outdoor establishment, none of which seems gross or otherwise inappropriate to me.

Birkenstocks are hideous though, I’ll give him that.