Day 77 of the Shoe Challenge – Geek Ladies Lunch Date Boots

3 Times OTK Boots

Do you remember Sex and the City when it was on the telly? When there was nudity and energetic shagging and Carrie was still cool and all the ladies had long lunches with scandalous topics of conversation?

Until recently, I had never had one of those lunches. Until Damana Madden arranged a ladies lunch and directed that the dress code was ‘long boots’.

The Vital Statistics:

Venue:  Bird Cow Fish, 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Photo originally appeared on the Melbourne Gastronome Blog January 2010

The Attendees:

Alegrya, Damana,  Cathie McGinn, Kristen Obaid, Me

The Chow:

Potato gnocchi with prawn meat sautéed in burnt butter, verjuice, capers & crispy sage

Langoustines, courgette and fennel salad or (to Aus-ify it as Cathie McGinn would say)  yabbies with zucchini and fenn-o.

Fish & Chips

Possibly too much Veuve Cliquot

(All courtesy of the absurdly  generous Damana).

The Occasion:

I would say that this was a Geek Girl lunch but then, apparently, I would be infringing a trade mark. As a mostly law abiding lawyer I would not dream of doing so.

So it therefore came to pass that five fair geek ladies (it is my story shaddup) joined together in lifting our champagne glasses aloft  aloft and talking about a number of things that turned heads and caused much tsk tsking at the other tables as follows:

Topic 1 – Breastfeeding

How we ended up talking about breastfeeding is less relevant than the public reaction to our discussion. If you ever want to get a roomful of people to go silent immediately this is the topic to do it. In fact I am pretty sure that tumble weed tumbled past for the duration of this part of our discussion.  Two or three people  left at one particularly graphic point. You would probably rather not be involved with the mechanics of the let down reflex and the accompanying trajectory speeds discussed or how the taste and composition of breast milk changes depending on the time of day.  The accusatory fingers should quite rightly have been aimed at Kristen and I as none of the other ladies have kids. Nor are they likely to want them now, I’ll wager.

In the light of the number of stomachs we turned, I wonder how/when chef Daniel Angerer will eventually introduce his now canapé of breast-milk cheese with figs and Hungarian pepper to his Klee Brasserie clientele.

Chef Daniel Angerer's Blog - Mommy's Milk - February 6, 2010

Topic 2 – Nice Smelling Stuff

Meeting people in the flesh as opposed to online involves dealing with a host of competing sensory stimuli.  You see people in three rather than two dimensions – you hear the timbre and the warmth in their voices, you are bombarded with an immediate olfactory sense of that person as soon as you hug them. All of these things, in my experience, either draw you to the person or put you on fight or flight stand-by.  It is something that always worries me before I met people in real life who I have formed previous online relationships with.  So when you meet me please don’t be concerned if I appear to be sniffing you. If I am close enough to do so take this as a good sign. Trust me – if I don’t like the way you smell, I’ll be on the other side of the room or mouth breathing.

Perfume is a really hard thing to judge.  One friend of mine disliked Coco by Chanel with such ferocity that she insisted we ate outside when I wore it. At least she was honest.  We all agreed that it is becoming increasingly hard for us to find genuinely alluring and distinctive womens fragrances these days. Most perfumes are so synthetic that the top notes resemble air freshener.  Alegrya mentioned her  love of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab oils.

How can you resist a perfume company that uses words like indolent and judicial in relation to its scents? These days I check with Violet Lily (who blogs about fragrance and is obsessed with scent) before I buy anything new in the smell department. Her review of Alchemy Lab oils is posted here

Topic 3 – What Lies Beneath the Burqua

Kristen (who has in-laws from Kuwait) discussed how fond Arabic women are of rare scented oils. This lead us inevitably to the burqua and what Muslim women wear underneath.  As a child I used to be similarly obsessed with what nuns wore under their habits and whether or not their heads were shaved. It is a bit of a shame that fewer nuns dress in the traditional habits these day. In plain clothes, nuns aren’t quite as formidable as they were when I was at school.

I have long advocated allowed people to dress to express themselves and if that involves bringing attention to their religious beliefs, so be it.

According to popular cliches (and the new Sex & the City Movie) were you to disrobe a niqabi clad woman  you would find her wearing exquisite clothes and shoes, perfectly manicured nails, beautiful jewellery and yes – elegant lingerie.  Recently the German lingerie brand Liaison Dangereuse has attracted a lot of positive and negative publicity for its viral ad which carries the tagline “Sexiness for everyone. Everywhere.

The advert features a beautiful Muslim woman dressing in a nice bra and knickers, rolling on a pair of sheer stockings, slipping into a high heeled pumps and then donning the niqab with a theatrical flourish.

Without going into the politics of male objectification of women the advert works for me precisely because it blatantly uses our cliches against us.  The most interesting question that the advert raises is – is this woman dressing for herself or for someone else? The point of view is that of the woman in question – we are voyeurs and that is how we will remain. We want to know who she is, where she is going, what she is going to do. Arguably the advert draws us in with its narrative.  That is, in my view, engagement rather than objectification. Personally I find the advert for Budget “Boojay” Direct Car Insurance on Australian television and the cultural stereotypes therein are much more offensive to women.

Have a look here and judge for yourself.

Our discussion, it transpired, was prescient in that Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has since  labelled the burqa ”un-Australian” and called for a ban based on his belief that it signals Muslim women’s oppression. Last time we looked at you Mr Bernardi, you were neither female nor Muslim. So back off. Fashion censorship is something that I will always oppose. If you want to wear hot pants and gold tassled cowboy boots, go for it. If you have a penchant for head to toe pink chiffon (as a friend of mine used to) and it makes you feel good, wear it with applomb. That said, I am currently trying to get the Minx to wear some clothes, any clothes in public so the well of my magnamity runs deep these days.

Topic 4: Boots – How Long are too Long?

A restaurant full of people will, we found, react strangely and slightly defensively to three women wearing OTK (over the knee) boots having their pictures taken.  Strictly speaking my boots weren’t OTK until I unrolled them.

Shoobiz Pinét Brown Leather Boots

As Cathie suggested perhaps we attracted attention because we looked “stylish & vaguely terrifying, like a dominatrix army on manoeuvres“? Or perhaps it was because we had already outstayed our welcome by talking  loudly the aforesaid topics.

This lead us deep into hitherto uncharted boot discussion territory.  What is the appeal (if any) of the high boot?

Damana (far left) has had men following her up and down in the elevators of her building just to stare silently at her boots. My boots (centre) which are actually quite a demure height for me nearly caused a traffic collision when the driver of a white panel van shouted something incomprehensible at me on the way to lunch. Cathie’s boots (right) ensured that our 10 year old (extremely cute waiter) hovered around our end of the table for the whole meal with the bottle of champagne.

Such was the collective boot impact that further boot research was conducted (with the help of Cathie and some other ladies and gentlemen). The results will be blogged about later this week.

Anyway, and meantime, here we all are and if we put you off your lunch, I do apologise. Next time I shall bring the Minx along to eat off the floor as a diversion.


We also talked about blogging. To this end I highly recommend that you check out the Geek Ladies’ writing yourselves:

GEEK DIVA: Geek Girls do it better

Tropical Snowflake


Mental Meanderings

A Cat In A Tree

Also, if you have not year read Kristen’s excellent Miss Boots series for this blog here are  Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4

9 thoughts on “Day 77 of the Shoe Challenge – Geek Ladies Lunch Date Boots

  1. Personally speaking, I have always found breast feeding a little, if you will excuse me, distasteful. talking about the same in public is a clear howler which can only lead to the general exodus of those unfortunates seated around the offending table. why should these dumplings (sorry!) be denied their lunch because of unholy conversations at nearby tables. I recall as a young man doing what used to be called the “grand tour” and attending mass in saint peters, rome and catching sight of Italian ladies whipping out their breasts and stuffing them into their wean’s gub for subsequent sooking noises instead of prayers and incense slowly curling up into the vast glen interior. You could sense every plastic saintly effigy turning their eyes sharply heavenwards and their breath sharply inwards. Mind you, there were one or two pleading that their sore plastic necks could not let them turn their gaze away despite their horror at such perfidy. Perhaps this grotesque slip of etiquette is acceptable in the inner sanctums and darker corners of the Glesca barraland dance emporium but, and here I must appeal to all saintly souls without exception, Saint Peters in Rome, no less! Shrieking banality knows no bounds or restrictions. there might be, however, some little excuse or other for things of this sort going on in Oz. What would they know anyway?

    With regard to the fragrances and silken elegance of the things that arab women wear beneath their hijabs and long outer clothing that is and must always remain an area for male conjecture and female secrecy. I do find such garbs both charming and occasionally revealing. I have noted, for example, that many Arab women have quite nice and very well shaped bottoms. So there is an underlying secret code involved here which I am still trying to unravel. The da vinci code as they say b’dammed. There are much better things to ponder over I believe, or should that be pander?

    The thigh length boots are again, a prerogative of women’s choosing. whether they should be above the knee or below the knee that is truly the question. It would not surprise me if arab women wore them as well under their black tents. By the way, the canape not only sounds ghastly but looks pretty duff as well. Clearly the man is an idiot and would be better employed cleaning out drains.

    Have you considered , by the way, the possibility of renting the bairn out as a vacuum cleaner. it would take sydney by storm although you might fall foul of the various child agencies in Sydney. That problem could be solved, however, by giving them first option on said services and perhaps even a small discount. I asked a couple of arab ladies if their style of clothing was very warm in the heat of the day and, to my surprise, they said that the apparel was, in fact, quite cool. as they say in the apple” we live n loin” amen to that.

  2. Wish I’d known earlier re: the OTK dress policy, I feel like I let the team down!
    It really was a wonderful lunch – some of the patrons glowered, but I’m sure they were just jealous we were having more fun than they were. Luckily it didn’t lead to any arrests (a la SATC2).
    I maintain that Islamic women wear expensive high fashion clothes and accessories beneath their burqas (plus amazing lingerie, makeup & hairstyles)… And I’m 100% with you re: let everyone & anyone wear WTF they want!
    Thanks for another wonderful adventure xox

  3. You cover a lot of territory here! And I will not try to be brief! 🙂

    First of all, I am perenially offended and disgusted at those people who think breastfeeding is offending and disgusting. These people need to freakin’ GROW UP. We have no problem with sexualizing women in every form of media yet the mere DISCUSSION of breastfeeding makes people get their “knickers” in a bunch.

    Yes, I breastfed my kids. All four of them. For a total of five-and-a-half years of my life. And I wish it had been more. My first child weaned (what I would consider) early – at six months. I wish I had nursed her much longer. Breastfeeding was one of the highest joys of being a mother and I miss it.

    Now, this has nothing to do with anyone else’s choice to breastfeed or not…it has everything to do with adult men (especially,) and women, growing up and realizing that talking about breastfeeding is no big deal. Damn, guys can dissect women’s bodies (in conversation) and think it’s “cool” but they can’t handle a discussion of breastfeeding. WTH?

    I do have to disagree with you concerning the advert about the Muslim women and her lingerie – I believe that is clearly objectification. Moreover, I believe we should show respect to people’s religious views and that advertisement is clearly offensive to Muslims.

    I am guessing that just as women in general wear everything from thongs to granny panties, it’s probably the case in women who cover up more than most. Although I will say that the nuns of the past were definitely wearing very “chaste” undergarments. Understanding the theology and philosophy of those who take orders, that is the only logical conclusion, I think.

    On to the boots…WOW! I have so far been uncomfortable wearing boots on the outside of my jeans. Well, I used to, but haven’t in a long time. I would have liked to see a full-on photo to see how the whole look worked. Now that I have lost some weight I think I might be able to pull that look off. Either way, I thought those boots looked absolutely FANTASTIC! But I don’t think I could ever pull off the over-the-knee boot because I am just too short (only 5′ tall).

    Finally, have any tips on “how-to-wear” certain types of boots. I’d welcome them!

  4. An excellent lunch; thank you for allowing me to relive it. As I often find the riotous laughter of women upsets people, I’d chalked it up to that rather than the breastfeeding banter, but I think on reflection you might be right.
    There are still some images that I may never scrub off my brain…Good times.
    C x

  5. A most lively lunch! Oooh, the potato gnocchi with prawn meat sounds just wonderful. Am drooling at the thought of it!

    Wow, and thank you for posting my fragrance reviews, I was not expecting that! 🙂

  6. That was a very SATC lunch. I didn’t notice anyone giving us looks of any sort but I’m usually not too bothered by what strangers think of me. I wouldn’t own half of my shoe collection if I was.

    It was lovely to spend time with intelligent, beautiful and confident women who value each other. I hope we can do it again soon.

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