Boy with the Purple Socks

“Sometimes you have to lie. But to yourself you must always tell the truth.”
-Ole Golly in “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh

Today on my drive to work, I saw a young man driving around downtown on a chic, slick moped.  He was dressed in a business suit and I wondered about the wind blowing dirt onto his suit jacket.

He was smiling.

And when I glanced down towards his feet I saw that above his black shiny professional loafers, he wore bright purple socks.


I loved “Harriet the Spy” when it first came out.  I loved the idea of being able to hide and watch what everyone else did without them seeing.

Spying seemed like the perfect survival tool.

I started my own notebooks, it was completely goofy I know.  I was jealous of Harriet’s other tools; the vintage binoculars, the rotating flashlight, that yellow rain slicker.

But it was the boy in the purple socks that always had me fascinated.  Who was this boy? Why did he never talk? Why did he wear purple socks? In the movie, it’s never really revealed, although in the book he explains that his mother wanted him to dress in all purple to stand out, but he talked her down to just the socks.

And yet he stands out anyway.  To me at least.

Before I read the book (one of the few book-to-movie renditions where I saw the movie first) I used to theorized all sorts of things about the boy in purple socks.

Sometimes I wondered if he was like me.  He didn’t really want any attention, but he didn’t want to be invisible.  So he compromised.  No talking, but wear purple socks.  I wondered how else he could be like me.

And today I wondered about a businessman who would drive a moped and wear purple socks.  It seemed exactly what the boy would grow up and do.

12 thoughts on “Boy with the Purple Socks

  1. sleepingshadowdragon

    This post made me smile: Harriet the Spy was one of my favorite books as a child (I haven’t seen the movie version). I too appreciated the fact that she could just be an observer, see into other people’s lives, look behind closed doors and see what people were really like. I think it was that book (along with a few others) that really piqued my interest in psychology and wanting to understand the funny and strange things that people did when they thought nobody else was looking.

  2. Bourbon

    I used to be so conservative with my clothes. Never wear anything too colourful or bright. Now I have purple shoes! And I love them. I love that I keep catching them from the corner of my eye and cause they’re my favourite colour they make me smile =) That was a random share from me lol xx

  3. vwoopvwoop

    Harriet the Spy used to make us so sad. She lost all her friends just by telling the truth. I know it made us feel so awful and sad for her, and made us realize that maybe people didn’t love us if we told the truth.
    I’m pretty sure that’s not the point of the movie. But that’s what we retain about it.
    Purple socks boy is lovely. 🙂

  4. Lilly Sue

    Love the story. I enjoy wearing crazy socks, not necessarily purpe ones, but ones that make me smile (weird designs or super bright)…when the work day gets rough I can look at my socks and laugh 😀


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