If the Shoe Fits
July 20, 2011 § 2 Comments
When it comes to shoes, I admit I’m somewhat oblivious to them, contrary to the stereotype of women. But during this busy week, it’s been hard to maintain oblivion as I’ve stumbled over pairs of shoes littering my hallway. Finally, I took the time to put them away. Even for a non-shoe-fetish person, I still own an absurd number of shoes. I’m not sure how this happened.
It reminded me of two scenes in the British sitcom Coupling by the brilliant writer/producer Steven Moffat. In one, the men complain about women (“Why do they have so many shoes? Do they sprout rows of additional feet while we’re asleep and gallop around the streets at midnight?”), while a parallel scene features the women complaining about men.
“They’re overdressed toddlers needing dinner. There are empty bottles in the fridge, and the whole place smells of feet,” complains one woman.
“Not enough shoes,” says another.
“Not enough shoes. Their feet get sort of marinated and smell.”
Enlightenment. The tables have turned, and my question is now: why don’t men have more shoes?
Life magazine’s slideshow tracks the oddities of famous footwear trends from both men and women in the last 80 years, everything from converse sneakers to combat boots.
And the poet Charles Simic contemplates the self-revealing nature of what shods our feet in his poem, “My Shoes.”
Shoes, secret face of my inner life:
Two gaping toothless mouths
Two partly decomposed animal skins
Smelling of mice-nests.
My brother and sister who died at birth
Continuing their existence in you
Guiding my life
Toward their incomprehensible innocence.
What use are books to me
When in you it is possible to read
The Gospel of my life on earth
And still beyond, of things to come?
I want to proclaim the religion
I have devised for your perfect humility
And the strange church I am building
With you as the altar.
Ascetic and material, you endure:
Kin to oxen, to Saints, to condemned men,
With your mute patience, forming
The only true likeness of myself.
At least Paolo Nutini knows what makes everything alright:
The investigation continues.