Friday, June 20, 2008

Shoes and Socks

Photo by Jthole / Flickr

irst of all, it should be said that the average man likes a good pair of shoes as much as the average woman. We have a different relationship with shoes than women, but we still like them. Shoes to us are more companions, like old friends, than ornaments like earrings. We don't switch them about too much except for practical reasons, like work or basketball. A good pair of well worn shoes can no more be easily discarded than a friend who is old and worn. It's a question of loyalty. At least it is to me.

One night many years ago, after a few years of marriage, I asked she who must be obeyed the whereabouts of an old pair of slippers that I hadn't seen in a while. She said matter-of-factly that they were tattered and old and had been discarded. Why, I wondered silently, did that disqualify them from being worn? They fit, they were comfortable and I liked them.

I like looking at an old pair of good shoes sitting on the closet floor waiting to be called into service one more time. They look up at you like an old friend, with an old smile. And my generation is more laissez-faire towards shoes than my father's generation. I recall my father, every night, taking off his wing tips, inserting the sturdy, cedar shoetrees and shining them before putting them away. That my friends is true love. Which brings to mind that I and many other men enjoy a good shoeshine. It's partly that it is hard to get them that shiny ourselves but also afterwards we hop hop off the shoeshine bench with a kind of "now I'm getting down to business attitude." When I was traveling a lot I always stopped at the DFW airport shoeshine before I got on the plane. Things always went better that way.

The other thing that is missing from shoes for men are Men's Shoe Stores, like Larry's near St Patrick's Cathedral downtown. It was a place that a man could go every year or so and be fitted like he had been for the last 10 years, and walk out with a shiny pair of shoes. Now we are forced into warehouses the size of Walmarts that sell shoes to anyone with feet. Over the top egalitarianism and another sure sign that Western Civilization is crumbling.

More on this tomorrow and also: the sock dilemma.


Rambler said...

Try the SAS stores next time you are down here. Good shoes and good service.

Francis Shivone said...

Is that on Magnolia?

Rambler said...

Not to my knowledge. I went to the store on 183 over by Carswell. It's in one of those centers just north of Ridgmar Mall. There's one over on Pipeline just south of Northeast Mall as well. Now you have me wondering if there are any Larry's left. I know the store by St. Pat's closed, but there was one down on Hulen and I20.

Francis Shivone said...

If I'm not mistaken the last Larry's closed about a year ago off of Airport Fwy. The one near St Pats has been closed for, 5 -7 years I believe.