Footsies (also footsy or footsie) is a flirting game where two people touch feet under a table or otherwise concealed place, often as a romantic prelude. It is a game played either as an act of flirtatious body language, or simply for enjoyment. Although footsies is not inherently romantic, the nature of it as playful touching is often done between lovers as a sign of affection, and most often without discussion. The term comes from a 1940s humorous diminutive of foot.
In a 1994 study on secret relationships, participants (college students from the US) played a partnered card game in which a subset were instructed to play footsies with their card playing partner. Of these, individuals whose footsies was kept a secret rated the attractiveness of their partner significantly higher than either those who did not play footsies, or those whose footsies was publicly known.
Use in popular culture and medicine
American comics author Robert Crumb published an autobiographic comic strip named "Footsy" in 1987 which deals with ″his teenager encounters with the feet of various lusty creatures at school″ and is a "typically self-lacerating portrayal of one of Crumb's myriad sexual fetishes".
The term "footsies" was coined by the fighting game community in reference to "the mid-range ground-based aspect of fighting game strategy." The word was likely chosen due to its similarity to a common strategy in fighting games whereby a player moves in and out of their opponent's striking range, uses fast, weak moves (such as crouching light kick) to bait their opponent into attacking, and subsequently punishes their whiffed attack.
- "Footsie". oxforddictionaries.com. Archived from the original on June 26, 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Bryan Marquard. "Daniel M. Wegner, 65; Harvard social psychologist unraveled mysteries of thought and memory". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- Wegner DM, Lane JD, Dimitri S (1994). "The allure of secret relationships". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 66 (2): 287–300. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.527. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- Lan Dong: Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice, McFarland & Company, 2012, p. 21 
- The Return of Robert Crumb, Time, August 20, 2002
- The Complete Crumb, Vol. 16
- Art Riggs: Deep Tissue Massage: A Visual Guide to Techniques, North Atlantic Books, 2002, p. 65
- Footsies Handbook
- Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 1, Element 01
- Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Chapter 2, Element 04