Wackiest Student Press Story of the Year: The Shoe Licker

His Twitter account bio features a poem: “Lookin in the mirror. Checkin My hair. What Kinda shoes have you got on there? Bitch I’m Jamie, and I like lickin’ shoes.”  The “personal interests” on his Facebook page: “Mens boots, Licking shoes, Being exceptionally creepy.”

He is the Tampa Bay Shoe Licker.  The young man apparently roams the city’s historic Ybor neighborhood looking to lick– yes, lick– the dirtied soles of people’s shoes.

In a first-person news column published last month in The Hawkeye at Hillsborough Community College, staff writer Danica Jordan describes an encounter with this brazen-tongued mystery man.  It is by far the wackiest story– in a good way– I’ve come across in the student press this past year.  Throughout much of it, I was simultaneously laughing and squirming.

A snippet:

I spotted a young man dressed in a concert t shirt and jeans headed toward us, almost running. He was probably around 25, but his face looked innocent, almost child-like. I couldn’t tell from what direction he had come; all I noticed was the huge smile on his face. . . . The unnamed man flirtatiously raised an eyebrow as he glanced up and down [the writer’s friend] Drew’s body, stopping at his feet. I laughed at the nervous look on my friend’s face, not familiar with being ogled. ‘Hey man,’ said the stranger, ‘what kinda shoes are those? They’re nice.’ . . . Quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move before, the man dropped to his knees and balanced his weight on his palms as he squatted in front of my friend. He was clearly not phased by the sticky, grimy, possibly urine-soaked pavement of 7th Avenue. Exhibiting unusual strength for such a skinny, petite guy, the man lifted one of Drew’s Nikes. He stuck his tongue out and slowly, almost sensually licked the entire length of the shoe from bottom to top, as if it were a pool of water and he’d been lost in the desert for weeks.

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