Like me, I’m sure your socks go missing. Two go into the dryer, but only one comes out. Where do they go? Currently I have nine single unmatched socks in my sock drawer. Some have been there for years. I save them, hoping that one day their mates will return. I could blame it on the dog, but we don’t have a dog anymore. Trying to find these missing socks is like trying to find Waldo in the Finding Waldo children’s books. Where in the world are my socks?
According to a study commissioned by Samsung when they launched a new washing machine several years ago, Brits lose an average of 1.3 socks each month which equals more than 15 lost socks every year. With the average Brit reportedly living to 81, scientists determined Brits lose 1264 socks over their lifetime, costing them 2528 pounds which equals approximately $3100 dollars. They concluded that means about 84 million socks go missing in the UK each month.
Wanting to further understand this laundry mystery, I turned to the internet for help. I learned that during a wash cycle, socks can creep into the yawning abysses of the laundry drum. I looked. There are no socks in any abysses. I also discovered the heat and rotations can separate clothes causing socks and small items to disappear into the wastewater hose. I can’t see into my wastewater hose, but I did look behind the hose. No socks. They are not under the bed, rolled up with other socks, in the wrong drawer, mixed up with the cleaning rags or stuck in a shoe.
So, I asked my son who is a creative thinker. He blamed it on the sock gnomes, smaller mythical creatures who can move through solid earth and steal socks to make your life inconvenient. Probably a long shot, but I have no better explanation.
Apparently, my curiosity with missing socks is shared with renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkins. In a book called The Nature of Space and Time, Hawkins concluded that spontaneous black holes are responsible for their disappearance. Hmm. Perhaps my son’s theory isn’t too far off.
Maybe, just maybe, the unexplained missing sock mystery is somehow related to the Bermuda Triangle. For decades, just like my socks, ships, planes, and people have been sucked into this black hole never to be seen again. There are dozens of theories about the disappearances but like socks, no confirmed conclusions.
As I continue to research this daunting dilemma, I’ve discovered that colored socks make up the majority of missing socks. This actually makes sense to me. I don’t wear white socks, but my husband does. His socks never go missing or since they’re all the same he doesn’t notice. Perhaps I should start wearing whites.
Samsung’s work led them to develop a sock loss formula to help work out the probability of losing a sock in a single week by using statistical modelling software that involves a bunch of mathematical complications. I was never great in math, so my eyes glazed over when I looked at it.
Besides, this still doesn’t explain where my missing socks went.
Articles on the subject recommend attaching pairs of socks together with safety pins or sock clips to prevent them from disappearing. That sounds like too much trouble to me, though I guess it depends how attached you are to certain socks. Other articles offer ways to repurpose single socks such as using them for icepacks, dust rags or covering golf club heads so they don’t get bumped or scratched when you are not playing.
I don’t want to repurpose my socks. I want to reunite them with their partners.
I will never know where these socks go, but I think I’ve figured out a plausible way to find them. If I get rid of my single socks, their associates will return. It’s like losing a shoe or an earring. After waiting a while for the missing item to resurface, when it doesn’t, you assume it’s forever lost and discard it. Then like magic, it’s match shows up.
If I do that however, I’m right back where I started as an owner of a bunch of sad lone socks. Only, this time, their matches will be gone forever.