We all have our obsessions in life, some more severe than others. I myself have several vices and I think shoes are at the top of the list (followed by Lady Gaga and crappy reality television). Recently I lined up and counted all my shoes with some friends and turns out I had 93 pairs. I agreed with my friends, who were saying it was time to rid myself of some of the older pairs and I let go of 17; with the deal made that I could buy one new pair for every two pairs I got rid of.
That deal quickly fell through and I am pretty sure I’m at over 100 styles now, but it’s reasonable because they each serve a different vital purpose in my life.
The other day while I was busy adding the much needed pairs of army green suede boots and chic black and white pumps to my collection, I saw someone else in the store who seemed to love shoes even more than I do. He was sitting in the ladies boots section trying on a pair of (not so cute) black pleather knee highs with a pointed toe. I had to do a double take, not just because a man was trying on women’s boots but also because I thought it might be Newman from Seinfeld shoe shopping here in Rhode Island.
His main struggle seemed to be zipping the boot over his large hairy calves, but it certainly was not stopping him. After he had squeezed into them he sauntered over to the full length mirror and gave himself a look in it like he was Miss America, spins and all. He then casually returned to his seat neatly placed the boots back in the box and I assumed he was through. Wrong. He walked towards me and stopped at a pair of red leather knee high boots, again with a pointed toe. The look on his face can only be described by the visual of an 11 year old boy accidentally turning into the girls locker room. It was bliss. My entire opinion of him changed in that split second. I felt ashamed that I had been one of the people judging him as I walked by, because what I realized is, this was really making him happy. I don’t know if he bought any pairs because I left the store while he was wrapped up in some matte white knee highs, but it was very clear that he was in his own version of heaven.
People all over the store were staring. It’s not that I don’t think he noticed, but he seemed to genuinely not care. He had his shoes and if others could not appreciate his joy, he was not going to let that stop him.
I spend almost every minute of every day worrying what others think of me. I hide the things I’m afraid I will be judged for, and I downplay my addictions when I’m with people who don’t think they’re cool (except Gaga, I will defend her to my grave). He wasn’t hurting anyone or making a scene. He was tidy, quiet and unobtrusive as he tried on boot after boot and each time the mirror was his reward. If I’m being really fair here, he actually pulled them off with some real sass.
I want to be Newman in the shoe store. I want to do what makes me happy regardless of what other people think, and I want to let my inner kook out and let her shine. More importantly I want to take from this that I still have some work to do in regards to how I initially view others. Man in a shoe store trying on hooker boots? Awesome.