Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Me and Christian Down By the Schoolyard

[Louboutin] is an exponent of what might be thought of as a Slow Foot movement, asserting that a sort of virtue is forged in the discipline of wearing exquisite, handmade shoes, even if they cramp the metatarsals. Clogs are a particular bugbear. "I hate the whole concept of the clog!" Louboutin said. "It's fake, it's ugly, and it's not even comfortable!" He continued, "And I hate the whole concept of comfort! It's like when people say, 'Well, we're not really in love, but we're in a comfortable relationship.' You're abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. 'Comfy' - that's one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy. It's really depressing, but she likes her life because she has comfortable clogs."

I read this beautiful gem in a profile of Christian Louboutin by Laruen Collins in this week's New Yorker while I was riding the train home from work this evening. It was a depressing, dreary day, and not just weather-wise. The weather certainly has a great deal of influence on our moods and waking up this morning, I was none too eager to get out there and live my life given the steady rain coming down outside my window. I went to work though, because that is what we do. We go through these motions necessary to continue our survival, our existence as we have become used to, and (dare I even say it given that Louboutin quote) as we have become comfortable with. My job seemed more annoying today than usual. I couldn't wait to get out of there. The string of exasperating and stupid phone calls seemed endless today. Six-thirty could not come fast enough.

What made the day more depressing was that I had no plans after work. There was the intention of perhaps going to the gym, but the nasty weather outside when I got off of work made me want to get straight on the train and not walk the ten more blocks past the train entrance to my gym. Also my feet were wet.

My shoes, one of my favorite pairs, this black pair of Stacy Adams Madison shoes, have been worn into the ground. The soles are paper-thin in parts and my socks were sopping up all the water on the sidewalk, making even the short walk unpleasant, making me sad that my feet were wet and cold, but also that this pair of shoes I have such an affection for are nearly at the end of their lifecycle. I originally found a brown pair of these shoes at a vintage shop in the East Village and was totally wowed by them. They were the dress shoe that I am always looking for and never find. They have a perfectly curved toe that I want in dress shoes - not square-toed (God, no) and not too pointy either. They also have a heel that is a normal size, not the booster heels that so many men's dress shoes have to compensate whatever insecurity men who buy dress shoes are nursing. I was in love with this brown pair and have basically worn these into the ground as well. It was after I had fairly wrecked those ones that I found a black pair in my size at the same vintage shop.

So I sat there on the train, reading Louboutin talking about comfort and shoes and style and really dreaming that I was perhaps more fashionable than I am, agreeing with him, the two of us joking about such things, such as the man standing in front of me in his awful square-toed dress shoes, me confessing to Christian (the two of us on a first name basis at this point in our train ride together) that that was a deal-breaker, that I just can't take someone seriously, can't find them attractive if they wear such shoes. Neither of us could wrap our heads around why these shoes were made, let alone purchased, what exactly it meant about the male ego that these shoes were in such abundance at times, trying to parse out what symbolism there was in this square-toed business, that ill-fitting and hard edges, a lack of concern with shapeliness, is what separates masculine from feminine, or some such similar logic.

I finished the article just as I got to my stop, put it in my ratty tote bag and walked home in my dilapidated shoes, socks soaking up water, one of my umbrella's ribs broken, the thing tilting in on one side.

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