First of all, it’s just as weird as it sounds. Secondly, I hate feet.
It all started in November when I was in my dining room with two of my flatmates, all of us doing our coursework. The room was silent except for the frantic typing on all of our laptops and the occasional sips of tea. Then I finally spoke up, “I want to go away.”.
Specifically, I wanted to go to France. I feel like because France is so close, why can’t I go there? There is a backstory to this. Back in college, I was friends with a girl who was a few years older than me and she always wanted to go to Paris. She would talk about it all the time, she had Duolingo on her phone and kept up on her French lessons from that aggressive owl, she followed all these Parisian bloggers and their Instagram accounts. Then one day, right before we finished our first year, she vanished. No one at college knew where she went, not even our teachers. My other friend and I would joke that she moved to Paris and started a new life there and completely cut us all off; funny thing is, she did the exact same thing. She had packed up her bags and just moved to Paris, finding a tiny - and I mean, TINY - apartment close to the 7th arrondissement and rented a room.
Suddenly her Instagram was full of everything Parisian; reading old books, sipping a black coffee with a packet of cigarettes next to her. Or there was a photo of her in the streets minutes after France just won the World Cup. She was LIVING the dream she was always talking about! Granted, she never finished college and left with no qualification but after those two years living like the It Girls in Paris, she had moved back to the UK, starting a degree at KCL.
Every time I get stressed or panicked about where I see my life going, or what will I do if I fail my degree or what will I do when I graduate, my first immediate thought is to move to France. Drop everything, pack a small bag of only the most French things I can find, pick up smoking, start enjoying black coffee and move. If she could do it, so could I. But there is a problem; I’ve only been to France twice, both times for very short periods of time. Also I barely know any French after dropping it during my GCSEs. I can’t just move to France, how do I know if I’ll like it?
The amount of times my friend, Annika, and I have discussed on renting an AirBnB in Paris and living there for a week is unprecedented. We would talk about how we’d smoke cigarettes for that time only, shop at the French pharmacies we’ve heard so much about, even go to Kiliwatch to buy vintage Levi’s. There is an issue: Money. Being a student takes up a lot of money. I have rent, bills, subscriptions and takeaways to pay for, I can’t afford Paris. I could get a job, but jobs don’t pay as well anymore when you only want to work two or three days a week. Over summer, I worked full time at a hotel earning £6 an hour, I could barely afford to pay my car tax at the end of each month.
Sitting with my flatmates, we agreed that France was the best place to go for a day trip. We did our research, finding a roundtrip flight costing £50 (cheaper than my train journey back home) and found that if we paid an extra £45 we would get a ticket to Disneyland Paris. Who can refuse a trip to the happiest place on Earth? The bus to the airport would be reasonably cheap too, then a train from the airport to Disneyland would be decent as well. We were thrilled, about to book our flights and confirm our trip when my flatmate, Rob, says, “I don’t think I could afford the whole thing.”. Shock and dread hit us all. The sudden realisation that going out to clubs, pubs and having daily takeaways have cost him a trip to Paris. We just got so pumped and excited about us three going on this wild adventure for a day, when now he can’t afford it. We couldn’t back out now, we were too into the idea of going, can’t shrug it off. So, we did what anyone would do, Google how to make quick money.
After searching through all the results seeing what would help us, we almost gave up. Until YouTube suggested a video to us: How I Sold Feet Pics. Curiosity ensued, why would you sell pictures of your feet? Who would want pictures of your feet? Turns out, a lot of people. In this video, this girl - clearly a pro - claimed she made $1000 in a week selling her foot pics. She listed websites and places to source these feet lovers. First thing we had to do was decide who’s feet we were going to sell, who was going to do the business side and who’s bank account the money would go to. Feet: Sophie’s. Chat and business: Me. Bank account: Rob’s.
We made an Instagram account for the feet, made a Kik - which we all thought died when we were 13 but its where the weirdos hide out apparently - account linking to the Instagram, we made a Whisper account, we went on Omegle. And found people who wanted our feet, and wanted to PAY for them! We did a whole photoshoot with Sophie’s feet (you can see how much we didn’t want to do our own coursework, can’t you?) , painted her toenails different colours, with fishnets, we did it all. And we starting searching for these people; or ‘fishing’ as the people say. We send out a post and wait for the replies piling in. We were up until 2am talking and selling, with our profit being £15 - just £80 left to go. We made our final posts of the night, our Whisper saying “I’m so broke I need help!” Which isn’t technically a lie.
I woke up about 6 hours later and looked at my notifications. 14 messages on Kik, 23 followers on Instagram, and 32 replies on Whisper. Going through them, there were the obvious ones offering to be a sugar daddy and give us £3k a month (it was tempting can’t lie) or of similar prices, the ones asking for nudes, the ones just asking for pictures of anything. But I narrowed them down to the ones who were after one thing: FEET. You’re probably thinking about how gross this is and how desperate we are to get our friend to Disneyland, and you’re not wrong. The whole process is gross and the different requests for what type of pictures they wanted were on various scales. Some just wanted painted toes, some wanted fishnets, some wanted the soles of the feet, some even wanted videos. We had to make a price plan, we knew we wanted to keep it fair and we did take notes on how much these girls on YouTube were charging. £3 a pic, £5 for foot and the sole, £7 for tights and/or heels per picture. For the first time, I actually thought that making the money was possible. You could hear It’s a Small World ride in the distance and smell the sugar of the Mickey Mouse shaped lollipops, we could do this.
These guys were from all over the world, India, America, Australia, even France! I did all the talking, some of them had requests to say certain things to help them get off which was an easy copy and paste trick while sending photos from the night before. And what we learnt which was our main rule: GET THE MONEY FIRST. After checking our Paypal or Cashapp to make sure it went through, I’d send the photos and say a few things, then after they were done, they’d always leave a tip ranging from £1 to £10. In the same words of Jay from Big Mouth, we were making BANK! Within four hours, we not only had reached our target, but earned £130, the £95 going straight to Rob and the rest splitting in between the three of us.
Not much for a day’s work, huh?
Will we go back to it? Maybe, we can’t lie. We’ve built a clientele that have told us they’d pay again for other requests so who knows how much we could make from this. It’ll have to wait until the next spontaneous trip.