Day 47 of the Shoe Challenge – Good Tree Climbing Shoes

Those are nice shoes” the Baby Lawyer said to me today. I looked at him suspiciously. He was smiling at me in his usual open way with a lot of clean, white teeth.

Van Dal Low Heeled Mock Croc Courts

What do you mean these are nice shoes?” I asked defensively “these are the kind of shoes that Maggie Thatcher would wear“.  For a split second I wondered whether or not he was old enough to know who Maggie Thatcher was. Then I put it to the back of my mind because we were in the midst, I was sure, of what is known in the West of Scotland as a Slagging and I had to prepare for a fight.

For those unfamiliar with Scottish culture a Slagging is a prolonged verbal evisceration, involving thinly veiled insults masquerading as humour. Since your ability to dish out as well as take the insults is judged closely by your peers, Slagging is a spectator sport. It is generally taught in Primary Schools, passed down by osmosis from teacher to pupil to fellow pupil. Now looking back on it I see it as a venomous activity designed to strip people of dignity – it is bullying wrapped up in sarcastic humour.

For example, a Slagging would start with someone saying “That’s a nice dress you’re almost wearing“. You are then on the back foot and have to come back with something equally abusive but semi-humorous line like “It’s deconstructionist chic, a bit like your haircut…and your face” and so on. The first person to descend into actually insulting the other person or who resorts in door slamming or physical violence loses.

Slagging can also be non-verbal. If someone wolf-whistles at you it might be a stranger showing appreciation for your good looks/tight jeans or it might be one of your friends taking the piss out of you.  You won’t know until you turn round and smile to find someone laughing at you, so you learn to glower when people give you a compliment. Eventually  you become very loathe to accept compliments at all or you rebuff them at source. I think that the Australia expression for a Slagging is sledging which is part and parcel of the Tall Poppy Syndrome.  Sledging and Slagging and the Tall Poppy Syndrome take years to recover from.

Now if I was in Scotland, no doubt I would cop a really good Slagging for writing this blog.  In fact, if I was in Scotland I would probably not have bothered starting a blog to avoid the inevitability of such a Slagging. Thankfully, I have almost deconditioned myself from expecting a Slagging for daring to draw attention to myself.   Almost but not quite.

As I mentioned yesterday, while I feel physically comfortable wearing low heeled shoes, I don’t feel mentally confident.  So, the Baby Lawyer  inadvertently set off my internal Slagging radar which I tried to squash by saying: “What’s so nice about them thne? They are flat, they look like school shoes, they are boring and conventional“.  He looked straight at me and said,  “Exactly, they are so different from your usual shoes that you look sort of rebellious in them” with only the faintest trace of a cheeky grin.

I’ll take that compliment.  In fact, I felt so rebellious that I decided to climb a tree in them.  For which I copped a bumful of itchy sap and ants. Way to go Baby Lawyer.

5 thoughts on “Day 47 of the Shoe Challenge – Good Tree Climbing Shoes

  1. If he can get you sap-arsed, imagine how he can unseat his feminine opponents in court. Slagging a woman’s shoes is like turning the tables on the gentle emasculation we’ve been practising on them for years. Thinly veiled derision where the party paying out on the other party does not understand nor respect the obsession the other party has with the object they are paying out about. Shoes are like the sexy impractical sports cars of the modern successful woman. I wonder what it is men think we are compensating for? Small breasts?

    Meanwhile, I broke ranks today and wore my ‘new’ animal print flats. They are so comfortable I found myself walking along a little retaining wall on the way to work and pretending I was on my way to primary school. So I know how you feel…

  2. This slagging you spark of sounds exactly like my aunt. I thoght she was English! I must be mistaken as she is a natural at slapping you down while giving you the most wonderful smile as she twists the knife.
    Ps. Nice tree climbing.

    • It comes back to you, tree climbing. Not to beat about the bush, no-one can put you down like the Scots except the English. Australians cannot hope to compete in the brutal sport of cutting one down to size.

  3. This is so awesome – you in a tree in your fancy shoes. I generally reserve tree climbing for barefoot days.

    I’m also here to confess that I have commandeered my daughter’s Uggs in this ridiculous snowy weather we’ve been having, which is a sin of the highest order, not simply because they are horrifically ugly, but because I would never buy shoes that expensive for myself.

    I need an intervention!

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