It’s not a big deal, but I haven’t bought myself a new pair of shoes in almost a year. It’s not that I need another pair, because I don’t (and need is a strong word), but I should buy one for variation’s sake. It’s not like I have to wear something new everyday. Believe me, I don’t. Honestly, I can wear (and have worn) the same 3 outfits for a month or even a whole season (don’t come my summer wardrobe). Don’t even get me started on shoes.
I don’t know how to go shoe shopping. Obviously I know how to swipe my debit card, but what I mean is that my process actually more complicated than it should be, at least compared to other people’s. It’s weird. I don’t care to follow trends, but even if I did, I would have to ask the salesperson or my little sister to pick out a pair for me, the mere thought of which makes me feel like the “cool dad” who tries and fails to be hip in the midst of an embarrassing quarter-life crisis. The times I have succumbed to the peer pressure of having the latest, greatest footwear have been unfulfilling, as trends are fleeting. Being perfectly honest, something in my soul does not sit well when my style, or anything else, is prescribed.
Despite the urge I have to be unconventional, there is always the underlying apprehension of buying “bobos”. For those of you who are fortunate enough to have survived childhood without being bullied about your generic gear, the good girls of Urban Dictionary were generous enough to fill you in:
Generic, no-name shoes or even worse shoes with corny names (i.e. pro-wings, avia, sike (just glue it), four-stripe adidas, ragamuffinpinwheelsdeluxe. . .).Bobos, they make your feet feel fine, Bobos, they cost a dollar ninety-nine. . .
For the record, this is the first September that I am not scrambling to find new school clothes, because this the first September in nearly 20 years that I am not enrolled in some type of educational institution. Although the “dress to impress” compulsion I had dissipated in my college years, I would still try to buy something, just for the ritual of it all. Fortunately, I have no reason this year to subject myself to the painstaking process of picking an appropriate pair of pumps.
When I finally do decide to shop for shoes, I put a lot of thought into it (as I would rather not revisit the darkest day of the loneliest corner of recess). After deliberating for hours (possible exaggeration), I usually end up buying the most classic brand of shoes that align the best with my style while still boasting some sort of x-factor. Since they never seem to go out of fashion, I proceed to wear them ’til the soles have holes. I should probably make my own damn shoes.
Do you ever wonder who invented shoes, or like… why we even wear shoes in the first place? I mean, there’s always the potential crack needle lurking on an unassuming sidewalk or the too-sharp shards of a broken cell phone screen, but what are the odds? Seriously, let’s not allow so-called modernity destroy our sense of adventure. Seriously.
Maybe it was Mercury, the messenger god. Yup, it’s Mercury’s fault. If it weren’t for his infamous winged-slippers, maybe we would not be so pre-conditioned to the trauma of squeezing our feet into the strange spaces and places they don’t belong. I understand he was a traveling man with places to go and people to see, but there are other ways to get around. What was he thinking? Only a god as duplicitous as Hermes would think it humorous to trick (me) people into the mental maze that is shoe shopping. And for what? To stimulate the economy by cleverly marketing something as commercially superficial as shoes? Trickster my ass. Mercury is nothing more than Hades in a handmade toga.
Am I mad at Mercury for the thoughtless mind games? Guys, no. Despite the headaches, confusion, and nervous anxiety that arise at the mere mention of what some people refer to as “retail therapy”, I can honestly say it is a work-out of my wit, which is wonderful in a way. I’m learning how to use my brain (no matter how much it hurts), because it’s the only one I have and I have it for a reason. Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me and leads me to question my own judgment, concerned with what other people will think, but then I remember that I must think for myself. That means I must be learning something, right?
Venus didn’t wear shoes, but if she did, she would do it as a reflection of her own personal style. Her shoes would be an extension of her value system, what she loves and appreciates. Instead of commodifying heartlessly, Venus would take her time to craft a beautiful piece of footwear, and she’d probably be kind enough to share her creation with other people. I would love to share shoes with Venus, because she would make them just to complement me and I would be eternally grateful. I’d probably even make her a playlist as a symbol of my gratitude, because that is what Venus is all about; giving, receiving, and mutual affection.
Whether I am buying sneakers, loafers, boots, flip-flops, or any other article of clothing, I will not go shopping because society says so, but because I am moved aesthetically to indulge in a design that enhances me on a visual level and complements everything that I value in myself as a spiritual being. That may sound materialistic, but what I accumulate is a reflection of who I am, inside and out. As I begin to approach fashion as less of an assignment and more of an art, the previously daunting process becomes a surprisingly pleasurable experience.