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16 May 2008

Shoes: a warning

A potential partner's choice of footwear should be carefully observed

By Richard Herring

You can judge a person by their shoes.

I haven’t really considered that cliché before, but I think it’s probably true. You have to make a lot of decisions when buying a shoe, about style, comfort etc. It’s a definite statement, though it’s sometimes a statement which, although bold, leaves its audience thinking, “What the fuck does that statement mean?”

There was a girl opposite me on the tube today, who was reasonably attractive, her hair was quite trendy, her clothes were smart, but stylish. You’d probably meet her and think, “She looks nice, maybe we could be friends. Perhaps after a few weeks, we may become lovers. Then when the time is right, I will ask her to be my bride and we will buy a place together, have a couple of kids. I might have an affair about six years in. She’d be hurt, but she’d forgive me and in a sense the whole episode would make our relationship stronger. We would become old together and watch our grandchildren grow up in a world that neither one of use really understood any longer. But we would be happy.”

That’s what you’d probably immediately think.

Unless you looked at her shoes.

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Because her shoes told a whole different story.

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Firstly they were an odd, unpleasant shade of blue. Darker than navy, but kind of dirty. Not that the shoes were dirty, you understand. Just the colour. What was more striking was that on the toe of each shoe was a incredibly unattractive representation of a flower. I suppose it was a rose, with that petal inside a petal effect. But it was more of a kind of blodge on top of another blodge and was too big, and still in the awful blue colour of the rest of the shoe. The shoe itself was clunky and clumsy, seemingly painfully sensible from the front. But then I noticed that at the back it lifted up and was perched on a high and narrow heel. It was wrong. Like two shoes that had been involved in some kind of high speed shoe accident and had been welded together by an unscrupulous cobbler.

One had to ask why anyone would chose to buy such a shoe, but anyone can make a mistake under the hot lights of a shoe shop, so more importantly what kind of person would actually wear a shoe like that? The kind of person who thought that this was the shoe for them, must have something deeply wrong going on in their brain.

Far from forgiving you for that affair, a woman wearing that kind of shoe would take dreadful revenge upon you and the woman (or man) that you had dallied with. But she’d force you to stay with her for the sake of the kids and make the rest of your life a living Hell. However much you tried to explain it had been a mid-life crisis, that both of you were to blame because you’d taken each other for granted, old blue rose shoes would screw her face up at you and snarl and call you a bastard. You’d try to complain, but she’d hiss “Shut up, the kids will hear.”

You’d die at 50 having subconsciously deliberately drunk yourself to death. And she would dance on your grave in her blue rose shoes (stumbling slightly due to the structure of the heel).

All because you had been failed to look at her shoes.

She got off at the next stop and I watched her awkwardly waddle off. In fact I watched the shoes. And considered the fatal mistake I had so nearly made. Realising that one day a man would come along who wasn’t so observant. The clopping of the sole on the floor was that unfortunate man’s death knell.

Could he not hear?

Could he not hear?

There are none so blind as those who don’t look at people’s shoes. Yet ironically it is the people who constantly look at people’s shoes who end up bumping into stuff.