Tying Shoes

Okay, seriously slacking today, guys. But before you tune out, I didn’t fake-learn how to tie my shoes in the same old around-the-tree shoelace knot of old; I learned how to tie my shoes in a brand new way!

Midge was my esteemed professor for the day. The decision on what I would learn went a little something like this:

While we were at a picnic, plotting ways to kidnap our friend’s adorable niece…

Gigi: So, what have you learned this week?
Me: Nothing yet.
Gigi: Is this going to be the first week you fail at your blog?

I imagine her swooping in via Superman cape or something, but that obviously didn’t happen. Also I probably made up 80% of that conversation. Anywho…

Midge has been talking up this shoe-tying technique for months, but, despite being an all-around amazing human being, she is sometimes lacking in the ability to provide helpful instructions.

The first time she showed us how she ties her shoes, the directions basically consisted of “tie a knot, hold your shoelaces, and recite this magic spell.” No matter how many times we tried to get her to show us what exactly the magic spell consisted of, we just could not get it down. However, after about 10 minutes of trying (which for shoe-tying is a lot), I finally managed to tie one shoe—twice.

Instead of the knot-loop-around-through technique of my youth, this one was more of a knot-hold-hold-grab that eluded me for longer than I’d care to admit. Wait…I already admitted it. Okay, it eluded me for 10 minutes.

Step 1. Tie a knot. This was much more a point of contention than you might realize, as it essentially devolved into me and Midge loud-talking at one another regarding whether this initial step would, in fact, be considered a knot. I think I ended the conversation with an IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER, so it was never settled.


Sadly, I couldn’t take pictures of the next parts (aka the SUPER IMPORTANT things) because I only have two hands. So use your imagination.

Step 2. Hold the right lace between your right index and middle fingers, and slide the thumb up toward the knot until the lace is parallel with the side of the shoe. See? Pictures would totally help here.

Step 3. Grip the left lace in your left hand so the lace is resting on top of your index finger and thumb. Your remaining three fingers should be holding the excess lace.

If you did this right, your shoelace will now look like an “N.”

Step 4. Do some grab-grab magic. There really is no good way to explain this, so Midge, you are hereby forgiven for your awful teaching technique. If you want to learn, I’ll have to show you in person.

Step 5. Pull through.


It looks just like a regular bow! But it took way longer and was infinitely more difficult. Also, please excuse the horrible state of my shoes. I promise I have new ones; I just haven’t laced them yet and am wearing these until the soles fall off.

As an added bonus, I also learned some words in Marshallese while we were trying to convince the adorable niece that living with us would be way cooler than the Marshall Islands: kabbokbok means “clap,” and uma means “kiss.” Those are probably spelled horribly incorrectly. Oh well!



4 thoughts on “Tying Shoes

  1. Sonali

    The best thing I learned from this post was “kabbokbok.” Although the shoelace tying thing seems cool too.

  2. Sally

    You totally spelled kabbokbok right! Umma, as it turns out, has two M’s, which I think is meant to make it sound more like a kiss, but really just confuses us Americans with our stupid phonics. But then again, spelling in Marshallese isn’t technically standardized, so hey, you can do whatever you want! Yokwe/Iakwe/Iokwe!

  3. Deb

    “It looks just like a regular bow! But it took way longer and was infinitely more difficult.”
    Magic, Allie. That’s all you need. Also, I wonder if this is as hilarious if you weren’t there. I’m guessing not at all. But I got a little laugh-cry in, so we’re all good.


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