ASK A LADY: WHY YOUR SHOES MATTER
Image: Brian Ferry
Words: Jenny Bahn
So you’re meeting a girl for a blind date. You’ve heard amazing things about her. Good job, nice family, speaks five languages, can cook a mean omelet… she even has an active HBO GO password that isn’t being poached by all her friends. You open the door to the restaurant, only to come face-to-face with the woman in question, wearing the fashion equivalent of Lady Gaga’s meat dress. BAM! Suddenly, all possibilities vanish in an instant, because meat dresses, as one might imagine, are kind of a deal-breaker.
Gentlemen, this is how women feel about your shoes. I know. You might not believe it. You’re probably reading this thinking, “Shoes. They’re all the way down there. Who cares?” We care. We care desperately. There is nothing that can foil a man’s game quite like the wrong pair of shoes.
Allow me to provide you with a short and straightforward list of shoes to avoid: It’s safe to say that the ladies aren’t really onboard with paisley-print pimp shoes, the shoes that look like a naked foot (complete with five toes), and sandals (especially with socks). Furry slippers may only be worn after you’ve locked a girl into a long-term relationship and there is absolutely, positively no chance of escape. And please know that you’re standing on thin ice – unless you own a ’51 Jaguar XK120 Roadster and a chateau in France somewhere – trying to pull off driving moccasins. Steve Jobs might have been a wizard, but I can assure you that a pair of chunky sneaks with dad jeans ain’t the right way to go. And, if you are to avoid one shoe for the rest of your life, let it be anything with a square toe. Square-toed shoes are like kryptonite to babes (but we’re sure you’ve heard that before).
Now, I know you’re looking at your closet frowning, angry with me that I have basically poured gasoline over all your kicks and am standing above, poised to light them on fire. Not quite. Now that you’ve ruled out the offenders, there are still a frightening number of wearable options out there. It’s like sitting down to a meal at the Cheesecake Factory and having to decide between a Glamburger® and a Belgian Waffle “Elvis Style.” Such decisions can be stressful. You’ve got combat boots, Chelsea boots, Jodhpurs, single monk straps… there’s saddle shoes, split toe bluchers, wingtips. And we haven’t even begun to talk about loafers, sneakers (pretty hard to screw up), or those desert boot things that everyone seems to like. Where do you start?
Though taste is always a very personal matter, one must always approach an impending shoe purchase with a dedicated eye to quality. When it comes to shoes, cheap materials are the worst offenders. You know, the kinds that stick out like a black leather couch in a bachelor pad (newsflash: your potential mate hates those, too). Generally, it’s wise to judge the perceived quality of a shoe by asking yourself the question: “Does this look like Daniel Day-Lewis cobbled it by hand?” The truth is that women want to look down and see that this is a man who understands – through the nuance of a leather upper, a shoelace, a stitch – nuance in the quality of life. How you see your shoes, after all, is how you see the world. Or something like that.