I want to talk to you about shoes. And love.
The all consuming female shoe obsession is not a new condition. While shoes were once a luxury exclusively in the preserve of the elite upper class, the post-war species has been able to experience the exhilaration of a wide open free-for-all of designer shoes. Often, I would visit a friend's condo or apartment and idly glance down while hanging my lined windbreaker in the closet.
"That's quite a number of shoes you have."
"Thanks! Did you know there was a sale last weekend at Aldo? I bought that pair on sale for only hundred seventy. I managed to swing by after work just in time to spot the last pair my size. You know how impossible it is to find a pair my size, right? It was like that one time during the boxing day sale at Metrotow...."
Clearly a conversational opener you do not want to use to idly fill the silence.
But when I ask why they possess enough pairs to provide for a small village, they shrug and say they are girls. And that I will never understand. Because I'm a guy.
Not a very convincing reason so I pose the question again. Why shoes?
It's definitely not about the comfort. Some women shoes are so unergonomic that girls walk barefoot after a night of dancing (by the way, I think there could be a huge market for comfortable, sexy dancing shoes somewhere. Maybe with retractable heels?) When we guys compare shoe purchases, we value utilitarian qualities. Is it shock absorbing? Waterproof? Does it have solid traction for winter time sidewalks? When I overhear a heated discussion about designer shoes, it sometimes sounds like they are describing architectural motifs. So maybe it's about aesthetics? Sounds reasonable.
By the way, I am not of the opinion that women buy shoes for men. Men don't look at shoes. I mean, men are pretty oblivious to pretty much all the preparation women go through to go to dinner (or go to breakfastâ€¦). Which is a little sad, I suppose. To quote a friend, "that men/boys are totally oblivious of the daily effort put into being female i.e. the lengthy, drawn-out process of 'getting ready'." And of the dim observations of sartorially challenged men, feet are perhaps the last thing to be noticed if at all. Well, I suppose we men do notice the overall effect - just not the details.
I don't think they are to impress other women. That just leads to envy.
My best guess is that shoes are not meant to impress, be useful or be necessarily pretty. They are just another means of self-expression. The right fitting shoe is a symbol of uniqueness. Maybe they tell a story. How're you doing today? Look down and find out. Shoes can be like secret diaries. Like blog posts. When you put on the right pair, you are wearing your tweets on your feet.
And I have a hunch, guys, that if you look for those indicators with your significant other, you might get those all so important subtle signals.
If shoes are the female soul, does that mean there can never be the One Perfect Pair? What if you could find the one pair that describes the totality of your personality?
One Shoe to Rule Them All
I have one perfect pair. They are vegetarian friendly shoes, imported from England. My chelsea cut boots are black, end just above my ankles, and are a snug fit. They are my everyday boots. I wear them everyday. They are rugged enough to go hiking in Northern Ontario. They can be polished up for any evening formal. I wear them in the slippery Winter and throughout the Summer. I don't think I can ever go back to any other pair. But not only that, they fit my personality completely. I've never fallen in love with an article of clothing before, but this was sweet, monagamous love at first walk.
Last winter, the treads of my pair finally wore out. I was incredibly distressed. My chelsea boots served me tirelessly almost everyday for two years. I wore them until it became completely untractable on snow. After a morning of mourning, I went back to my little shoe shop on the side of Kensington, and without glancing at any other enticing offers asked the shopkeeper for the exact same pair.
The Perfect Pair. It expresses. It serves. It is faithful. It exists for me, and I'm certain it exists for you. I just hope it doesn't take a hundred pairs to find your true love.