Harry Styles ingested a "shoey," a contentious Australian drink

On stage, Harry Styles is drinking from a shoe

On Monday night, British pop star Harry Styles held up a sweaty sneaker full of water to his lips in front of 30,000 yelling Australian fans and drank.

He grimaced as he downed the beverage to deafening chants of "shoey, shoey, shoey," telling the Perth stadium, "This is one of the most disgusting traditions I've ever heard of.".

Styles told the boisterous crowd that he felt "like a different person" after swallowing.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I feel ashamed of myself. I'll have a detailed conversation about this with my therapist. In conclusion!".

Styles is merely the most recent international celebrity to partake in the dubious Australian trend known as the shoey, which involves consuming an alcoholic beverage from a shoe.

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, actor Sir Patrick Stewart, and a host of musicians, including rapper Post Malone, country singer Kasey Musgraves, and singer-songwriter Machine Gun Kelly, have all indulged while visiting the nation, frequently at the urging of Australian supporters.

But the trend divides people. According to many Australians, it is stale, disgusting, and "blokey," which is a shameful trait for the nation to be known for.

Some claim it's just harmless entertainment derived from Australian culture, which respects self-deprecating humor and egalitarianism.

Nobody is certain of the origin of the shoey.

According to Liz Guiffre, a communications lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, "Like any cultural tradition, a few people try and claim it.".

There are rumors that both Russian ballet stars and soldiers performed shoeys during the World Wars.

However, the earliest shoey that Ms. Guiffre has discovered photographic proof of occurred in 1951. Tallulah Bankhead, an American actress, was photographed drinking champagne from her heel while attending a press conference at the Ritz Hotel in London.

Tallulah Bankhead
A shoddy pioneer was Tallulah Bankhead.

However, what began as a display of "opulence" eventually turned into something "silly" in Australia, according to Ms. Guiffre.

According to Mark Gwynn, who has been looking into adding the term to the Australian National Dictionary, the shoey is a relatively new phenomenon in that country.

The earliest mentions he can find are from 2010, when the shoey was popular at sporting events and parties as well as in the Australian punk music scene. It usually serves as a celebration marker.

"I've just done this really difficult thing, and I'm going to drink out of the shoe that got me there. It's a triumph over adversity thing," Ms. Guiffre says.

However, according to both researchers, Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo undoubtedly popularized the shoey in 2016—both the word and the act. He increased its global exposure and made the race celebration his signature.

Since then, its popularity has only skyrocketed.

After winning her first tournament on home soil earlier this month, Australian golfer Hannah Green toasted with a shoey, and Nedd Brockman, who ran the length of the country last year, finished with a drink with sock flavor.

The shoey, according to observers, represents Australian ideals.

According to Ms. Guiffre, the modest act contributes to Australia's well-known aversion to "tall poppies.".

"It's not at all respectable. You're saying, 'I'm not up myself. Although we enjoy seeing people succeed, we don't want them to become arrogant or overconfident. ".

Daniel Ricciardo drinking from a shoe
In 2018, Daniel Ricciardo performed one of his signature celebrations.

According to Mr. Gwynn, it's also a tribute to Australia's sense of humor, sense of adventure, and drinking tradition.

It's not violent at all. It's not automatically sexist, racist, or anything else. It's a laid-back, unconventional amount of fun. ".

But a lot of Australians find it repulsive. These detractors claim that the trend is stupid and no longer has shock value.

Mackenzie claims to have recoiled while watching Styles guzzle shoe juice on television. The 24-year-old, who describes himself as a "reformed alternative vessel enthusiast" and won't give his last name out of embarrassment, claims the trend has not held up over time.

"I'm not sure if I've never performed a shoey or if I've successfully suppressed the memory of performing a shoey. ".

"But shoeys are out, and in is basic hygiene. ".

Research has shown that a shoey can harbor a variety of harmful bacteria, including those that lead to staph infections, despite the fact that the risk is relatively low.

The shoey, according to critics, caters too much to stereotypes that don't accurately represent contemporary Australia.

They call it "blokey," "lowbrow," and accuse it of feeding the myth that Australians are "bogans," a term used locally to describe an impolite individual with a low social status.

Online haters have criticized the situation, asking questions like whether an international guest is being treated properly and other such questions, according to Ms. Guiffre.

But, you know, nobody forced him to do it. I believe Harry will be alright. He is wearing gorgeous Gucci shoes, which are likely more pristine than the coffee mugs that you and I have on our kitchen counters. ".

During Styles' performance on Monday night, Brooke Littler, who was sitting in the front row, was completely taken aback by the celebrity's beverage of choice.

"He really did it? I can't believe it. I didn't believe he would. ".

She wasn't, however, horrified or ashamed.

She claims that shoey demands have become a common occurrence at most concerts she has attended in recent years, and while the singer obviously "hated" it, she believes he should be commended for defying the trend.

"I find it to be pretty disgusting, and I don't know why it's popular, but I enjoy seeing other people do it," the speaker said. ".

She won't be taking part in it anytime soon though.

"To be completely honest, I would only perform one if Harry Styles asked me to.

. "

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