Hardy Plumbing
January 26, 2011

Let's Talk Shoes


I think most guys are a lot alike when it comes to shoes. We have 'em. We wear 'em, but that's the end of it. We don't think about our shoes very often. We certainly don't obsess over them. Take me. Like most men, I have one "good" pair, just as I did when I was a kid. Back then the "good" shoes were for Holy Communion, weddings, and special Sundays. Now they are for court appearances and funerals.

The most important thing we learned early on was to limit the exposure of the good shoes. Because they were shiny and leather, our moms reacted poorly to any abuse of the good shoes. If we got them snagged on a nail or something, all hell broke loose. "Go take your good shoes off," our moms would constantly order.

I realize now it was because good shoes cost money, and thus became something to be treasured, to handle like a small bird. Unfortunately, the thing I remember most about my good shoes is I stepped in doggie poop a lot when I wore them. I didn't do this on purpose, it just happened. It was as if they were equipped with poop-seeking radar.

In addition to my good shoes, I have my every day shoes, which are dock shoes.

Most guys I know have a pair, but none of us ever set foot on a yacht. Being we're in the Hamptons, though, it sends a subtle message: he might own a yacht. Some men prefer loafers, but it's the same principle -- you wear 'em, but you don't clean them. You don't worry about them, and you replace them when you feel a hole coming through. (If you step in poop you leave them outside for a couple of days -- no big deal.)

Then I have my sneakers. I used to insist on the most expensive basketball sneakers, even though my game peaked around the ninth grade. Most men still wear hideously ugly three-color contraptions; I learned to just get plain white, realizing the multicolor, day-glow models are a Third World tool of revenge, whereas underpaid slave laborers get the last laugh on America by making its bread winners look like schmucks.

Sneakers nowadays have hundreds of crazy shaped grooves on the soles, which purportedly make you jump higher and cut faster. They do neither, but they do one thing very well. They are a top-notch storage facility for dog poop. In fact, if you step on dog poop when wearing sneakers like this, throw them away. You know from experience you'll never clean all those grooves out, ever.

Incidentally, memo to grown men: not only are your multicolored sneakers an embarrassment, but the sweat clothes you're wearing really make you look like a clown. No one thinks you've got anything left in the tank. We all know you are a middle class blob. Rule of thumb for men wearing gym clothes: if you don't do anything that makes you sweat, you shouldn't be wearing them (unless walking makes you sweat, in which case it's official, you're dying.)

Anyhow, that's it for my shoe collection. Good shoes, everyday shoes, sneakers.

Then there is my wife, Karen.

"Do you like these?" she'll ask.

First of all, this is not a real question, because there is only one possible answer if you want to stay alive: "Yes, I love them!" you squeal. You're thinking to yourself, "She has 48 pairs that look just like those damn things. Let me guess --another 280 freaking dollars down the drain" but for your own safety you must never utter those words.

Shoe sizes to women are inversely proportionate to penis size to men. That is, the smaller the foot the better. Women who are size eights buy size sevens. Women who are sevens get sixes. The shoe companies caught on, so now a woman who has cloppers the size of tennis racquets can honestly say, "Like them? They're a seven."

I know women with feet so big their bunions are a legitimate size five, yet the shoe companies can sell them a size seven.

My wife is not a Clydesdale: she has very small feet, and thank god, because if she didn't, there would be no room in the house for me! She makes Imelda Marcos look like Cinderella.

All women play an elaborate shell game to keep men from guessing exactly how much they spend on shoes. I'll get the credit card bill and see five pairs for $980 and blow my stack. She'll give me the look --- we all know it --- that says "you poor pathetic goon."

Then she'll explain: "Honey you know I never keep the shoes. I just bought them to bring back. Next week they'll be on sale and I'll bring these five back and get a credit and use the credit to buy eight pairs and then I'll bring five of them back and end up with three pair for nothing, then next week I'll return another pair for cash and actually make $180. I was going to give the money to you, but since you made such a rude comment now I'm going to keep the money and buy shoes with it."

Even though the shoes theoretically all get returned, they continue to accumulate all over the house. Women have shoes for everything -- summer or winter, shorts, suits, dresses, pant suits, lingerie (I always say "why you wearin' shoes? You're not going out dressed like that!"), wraparounds, you name it. Women have shoes of every color and texture and nuance. They have high heels, spike heels, half-heels, no heels, strapless, straps, half-straps, midcalf, calf-high, half boot, half spiked midcalf boot with or without strap, buckles, laces, and so on.

But for all their ingenuity, for all the designer shoes ever created, women still do not have a shoe specifically designed to step in doggy-do. I know, because if such a shoe existed, Karen would have 33 pairs.

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