why I do not know how to tie my shoes.

I carry a few secrets around with me, sources of deep shame. Don’t we all?

Okay, I’ll go first.

I can’t really drink out of water fountains. Whenever I do, I get water all over my entire lower face. I can really only attempt it if I’m wearing long sleeves, so that I can use up one (or both) of them to mop up before I return to a fully upright position.

And I don’t know how to tie shoes correctly.

I’m not sure why this is– I think I was under deadline to learn over Labor Day Weekend, before first grade started and I’d be on my own with my imitation Docksiders (speaking of sources of deep shame). And so my dad taught me this sort of placeholder method that was a lot easier to teach me at the time. I think he figured he’d teach me the “real way” later. And then siblings 3, 4, 5, and 6 were born.

Most people, in my history of observing people tie shoes, use the method detailed here- let’s call it the ehow method. The first half of the method, making the “X” out of the two long shoelaces and pulling it tight, is how I do it too (let’s assume that that’s universal). But then, here is the norm from which I deviate:

  • Fold one shoelace in half while holding laces taut.
  • Wrap the other end around the folded end.

  • Grasp it in the middle after pulling it around the folded end.
  • Bend it into a flat loop and pull through, making a bow.
Totally lost. I’m totally lost! No idea ehow to do that. When I was six, I learned this gentler method:
  • Make two bunny ears.
  • X the bunny ears.
  • Put a bunny ear through the hole.
  • Pull.
I’m going to call this the Wondertime method, since I’ve just discovered it’s what they espouse as a teaching method. And yes, it does get the job done, kind of.
The problem is that the two-bunny-eared Wondertime Method is much more prone to unraveling — yes, even when a double two bunny knot is employed– than the one-bunny-eared Ehow Method.
Since 1995, my husband has been promising me to teach me how to tie my shoes correctly “this weekend.” We’ve never gotten around to it. We have similarly sworn since 2002 that when the time came to teach our children how to tie shoes, Daddy would have to take the lead.
We delayed that day for quite some time (thank you, Velcro Skechers!) but apparently Velcro sneakers are a sure sign of a mama’s boy, and so both my boys chose lace-up sneakers to change into for daily PE this fall. Right around when my husband started a new job and fell off the parenting radar screen entirely.
And so this week, both my boys have learned the two-bunny-eared method. I’ve been telling them Daddy will show them the real drill one of these days. Maybe before they leave for college. Either that or ehow can teach ’em.
Any other two-bunny-eared folks out there? Make me feel better about myself.

 

 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Co_herrin September 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

My brother does the bunny ears. We think he’s really weird 🙂

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Amy Wilson September 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm

See! Deep-seated shame. I feel his pain.

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

See? Deep-seated shame.

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Amanda September 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I’m a bunny ears too and now my Kindergartner is too. I learned from Sesame Street apparently, so maybe you can blame them too. Embrace the bunny…it works just fine!

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Julie September 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I’ll teach them next time I’m over.

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Way to rub it in.

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Beth September 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Would you feel better if you knew that the knot you tie with the “bunny-ear” method results in the same knot as if you used the standard shoelace knot method? 

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Beth, is that true? Really true? I’ve believed all my life that my knots were of an inferior grade.  That blows my mind a little bit.

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Beth September 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

It’s true.

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Debi September 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I”m a bunny ears girl too – I was taught that was the left-handed way of doing it. I’m 28 and still do it! 

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I don’t have the left-handed excuse. “Julie” below IS left-handed and is offering to teach my kids the non-bunny-eared way. so I’m not sure what to make of all that.

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Larakercinik September 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I’m not a bunny ear tier.  However, I can only add numbers if I count them on my fingers.  Totally embarrassing while figuring out tip on a check.  I went to a top 20 university and have a MA degree.  What’s wrong with me?

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Christa September 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Tying shoes is overrated. I think we should all be required to wear velcro 😉

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Christa September 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Tying shoes is overrated. I think we should all be required to wear velcro 😉

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Whitneyisetta September 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I am totally 100% a bunny ear tyer. I didnt realize there were others like me out there. I understand the concept of the other method, but why would I bother learning it when the bunny method is so fast and efficient? I have NEVER successfully tied my shoes any other way.
Hello, my name is Whitney. I have been tying my shoes bunny ear style for nearly 30 years.

‘hi whitney’

We should start a support group.

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Consider this our home base.

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Kim @The Fordeville Diaries September 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I can only do it the Bunny Ears way.  If my life depended on it, I don’t think I could use the traditional, one-loop method.  I try not to tie my shoes in public too often, for which my husband thanks me.

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I’m seeing a trend here: women who tie bunny-eared and the men who mock them. Of course I have relatively few male readers, and maybe their bunny-eared shame would run too deep to comment even if they did read this.

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mpb September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Another bunny ears girl here. We learned that way in Sunday school and I can’t use the other method at all. My son is left-handed and we had a difficult time showing him how to tie so he’s a bunny ears guy now too! It was so hard to show him that he was subjected to velcro gym shoe the last 2 years and finally practiced bunny ears himself at after school care so he can wear his tie shoes. I’m kind of embarassed to admit he’s in second grade.

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Connor just learned this past week, and he’s in THIRD grade. So no need to be embarrassed here.

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Kate September 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Haha! My husband and I always laughed over my inability to tie my shoes the right way (and I’m an elementary school teacher!). I’m glad to see I’m not alone!

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Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

See here’s what I’m starting to think. Now that I know I am not alone. We DO tie our shoes correctly. Perfectly valid method. I will no longer be ashamed!

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Katy September 23, 2011 at 12:09 am

I feel like I want to tie my shoes bunny ears way just to join this fun, supportive crowd! I tie the other way, sorry, but I can’t eat a meal without spilling on my front. Neither can my mom. We know it’s a genetic predisposition to spilling, but my husband thinks we are simply slobs.

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mpb September 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I completely forgot about the imitation Docksiders–they split at the seams and made your feet look twice their width. The lingering shame! Amy, you are so spot on! Love this site and I LOVED your book.

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Taube September 25, 2011 at 12:46 am

My husband ties shoes the way you do. He grew up in India, and apparently that’s how they do it there. When I learned that, I was a little horrified to discover that I had grown up referring to that as “the baby way”. I don’t think one way is better than the other, though – they both require a double knot to prevent coming undone!

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Stephanie Precourt September 26, 2011 at 10:13 am

Can you post a video? I need someone to teach my kids…

Steph

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Shoddy Left Handed Tie Anyone? September 28, 2011 at 7:15 am

Being the only left handed person in the house I have always had a hard time with shoelaces. I coulnd’t tie my shoes until I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. My mom and grandma tried to teach me, but I just could not ever get it. I finally made my own method that is similar to the ehow method. I do all the steps in the ehow method, I just use my left hand the whole time. I begin tying like a left hander, but when I make the loop I hold it with my right hand, wrap around with my left AND pull through with my left too. It actually sounds difficult, however it is the only way I can tie anything. My shoelaces are never perfect, but I at least don’t need anyone to tie my shoes anymore. Besides when I skateboard I knot them tight and tuck them in the shoe.

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lizzard October 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

haha.  I’m thirteen and still tie my shoes the bunny-ears way.  On the 8th grade Wildcat field trip, I had to stop and tie my shoes, and one of my friends saw me and started laughing at me.  She told everyone else in our group, and then we had this ten-minute session for teaching lizzy how to tie her shoes (I still don’t understand how to do it, even after this information session).  Was not a fun time for me.

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J7286 June 2, 2012 at 12:14 am

It bothers me that my 10 1/2 year old granddaughter doesn’t know how to tie her shoes at all.  She simply stuffs the laces in the side of her shoe, and is impatient with me when I try to show her step by step how to tie a bow.  Obviously her dad (my daugher’s ex-boyfriend) and his mother don’t care, and they are the ones raising her, so why does it bother me? 
I think because it was such a big deal when I was a child.  I had to know how to tie my shoes before I entered kindergarten (was this a school rule?  Or my parents?).  It was hard for me, and when I finally mastered it (practicing with ribbons on my tap shoes), it was as if I had passed an initiation ceremony.  I was a big girl now.  I was five.
So I guess it bothers me because the fact that a girl going into sixth grade doesn’t even care whether she can tie a bow or not is a sure sign that my great accomplishments of childhood are, uh, meaningless nowadays.  Sigh.  I’m obsolete!

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