Day 81 of the Shoe Challenge – Absolutely Fatuous Boots

Now and again I think that it might be worth reading newspapers and newspaper columnists again. Then I read something that annoys me.

The Sun Herald in Sydney published the above  column entitled “Absolutely Fatuous” in its S Entertainment & Fashion pull out section yesterday (Sunday 1 August 2010).  The author peppered the column with deliberately provocative opinions:

the more obsessed a woman is with clothes, shoes and handbags, the more utterly barren her interior life

is it possible to have one’s moral compass in working order and …own 100 pairs of shoes?

Fashion is about the self, the me and if your wardrobe occupies half your bedroom …it’s a fair bet that your head is planted firmly up your own tastefully garbed bum”.

I have no intention of naming the chap that wrote the column. Attribution would simply further encourage him in his ‘smug, shallow and egregious’ written opinions  (to quote A Cat In A Tree). In any case another blogger has already done a sterling job of beating him about the head with her feminine principles.

John Stuart Mill once argued that a citizenry could not, would not, flourish unless it was nourished by the full spectrum of voices that exist among the people.  This means, of course, that anyone with an opinion should be able to voice it.  I agree entirely with this precept provided that we are not charged the cover price of a newspaper to read that opinion.

There are those of you who will tell me that if I don’t like what this chap says I should just not read what he writes. Or buy the newspaper.   A bit like that scene in the Big Lebowski when the Dude asks the driver to change the channel because the Eagles are doing his head in and the driver says “Fuck you man! You don’t like my fucking music, get your own fucking cab!

If you don't like my music...

Columnists are meant to be opinionated. They are also meant to be challenging and controversial. I’m all for risk taking and if someone is offended in the process of publishing a groundbreaking, confronting column this is a positive thing.

The chap in question however produces copy which neither groundbreaking nor particularly novel. As one of the commenters (meganwegan) on the News with Nipples blog observes that notes his schtick is that:

materialism is only bad when women do it.

Shoes, bags, frocks, interiors = fatuous and shallow.

Cars, iPads, cellphones etc = serious and important.”

There may be people out there who buy things wantonly, fatuously and unquestioningly.

I have never actually met these people. Virtually everyone that I know has a very distinct idea, theorem or need in mind when they buy material things.

Nowhere is this more obvious to me than in the area of shoe purchasing. Using myself as an example, I cannot help but look at the contents of  just about every shoe shop that I walk past. I can tell within about 30 seconds whether there is anything in there that interests me. 99.9% of the time I see nothing that makes me want to go into the shop. I don’t think that I am unusual in this.

The other 0.01% of the time I see something that resonates with me For example, the boots that I wore today were purchased in an Op-Shop – the Smith Family Charity Store in Hurstville. Never worn suede high heeled knee boots from Gary Castles Sydney which cost $15.00.

Gary Castles Suede Knee Length Boot size 37 – tight

At first sight, my internal shoe calibration equipment buzzed an instantaneous recognition signal to me and I bought them without any hesitation.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realised that these boots reminded me of this pair of Sergio Rossi knee length suede boots from the late 90s.

Sergio Rossi Knee Length Suede Boots photographed by Miles Aldridge for Marco Ascoli

Not exactly a match, I’ll grant you but a close similarity.

A close enough similarity to spend 3 months stretching the leather with shoe trees. A close enough similarity to:

  • spend 45 minutes getting the zip up using metal skewers and other implements from my cutlery drawer before heading off to work
  • wear all day even when my (larger) right foot started to scream ‘can’t move, can’t breathe’ on me.
  • sacrifice very expensive tights which had been caught up in the zips when I put the boots on or about the same time as my right foot started screaming.
  • think about calling for help from the work toilet (right next to my boss’ office) when I realised that cutting myself out of my tights with office scissors hadn’t helped liberate me, the boots were still attached to my legs and I was bleeding everywhere.

    Fatuous – me? Absolutely not. Masochistic – possibly yes.

    9 thoughts on “Day 81 of the Shoe Challenge – Absolutely Fatuous Boots

    1. when that good “ol boy”, henry ford, asked various punters among the good “ol boys” of the western bits of “oosa”, I quite like “oosa” instead of USA but we ain’t all made the same or, indeed, we ain’t all perfect with, possibly, the exception of myself, that is. anyway, to continue with the henry ford tale. henry asked the guys with the big hats, hairy chaps (probably quite hairy chaps as well), and two pistols, with or without notches: – “did they desire to have something faster than their present horse, again, excuse me, hoss and they replied YUP! SHO DOH, A FASTER HOSS.

      so, my dears, what is the point, if any, to this limpid tale of bleary eyed short sightedness. you may well ask! but, if you did ask me, although “no one ever does”…..eyeore, of course, I would have to reply that no matter what one, anyone for that matter, does in this life and that includes both their likes and dislikes, there will be some dumb ass who has to stand up and criticise. it is their moral duty to do so. well that is how they see their role on and in this spinning ball of rock and flame as it hurtles around the sun. they, most certainly, should never be ignored because some of them inevitably get to be rulers of countries which they almost always do in a spirit of moral rectitude and total incompetence. it is how they are wired up. that could be, of course, a direct product of their upbringing. a classic example of extended potty training in their teen years could have been “never ever, indeed, not ever, put a finger against each side of your nose and blow the snot out of the other one on to the sidewalk. just suck and swallow, suck and swallow, suck and swallow”. it is said, however, that this mucousy diet does not give one indigestion but, frankly, that is just hearsay. they must not only be gunged up inside but also suffering from severe indigestion. to relieve this tiresome and inadequate diet they write rubbish to alleviate their suffering from colitis and indigestion, the scylla and charybdis, of badly brought up weans.

      I believe that all of us, regardless of size, sex, inclinations, ambitions, disgusting personal habits, et al, have the god given right to seek our pleasures wherever we can find them. if it is a case of shoes, boots, slippers, etc., then there can be no frontiers which should not be explored whether they be pain, chaffed raw flesh heels, bunions, nipped toes, scrunched up foot bones and so on, it is a pure and personal matter.

      I would love to write a wee bit more but I have to make my dinner so pax vobiscum to, as the pope says. “urbis et orbis

    2. Be aware that those who so often speak of their own depth and the lack of it in others, are often not as convinced of their rant as they sound. Maybe they are attempting to convince themselves.

      In life, we must find out who we are and be ok with that. Then it is ok for everyone else to have an opinion because it doesn’t rock our world.

      I like shoes and iPads. There will be apology.

      Keep being you.

      Love, Mana

    3. Oh. I wrote a long comment last night & it has disappeared 😦

      I basically said the boots are faBulous, your masochism inspires me, you bring sunshine to my life, you’re right about the bozo who wrote that article and… I wondered (worried) about the next series since you’re up to 81 in the shoe challenge…?


    4. Oh, lordy – I actually don’t even dare to read that article, because I already know how angry it’ll make me! Ironically enough, I think it’s almost become fashionable these days to look down on fashion like this, and to sneer at those who love it – it’s as if doing that helps reassure people how clever they are in comparison. The fact that they need that reassurance says a lot to me: I don’t need anyone to reassure me that my moral compass is in working order, even although I own lots of shoes, but this guy does seem to feel he has something to prove about his own superiority and well, if you have to say it, you ain’t it.

      I also wonder why there are never articles asking whether it’s possible to have a meaningful life and own over 100 video games, or whether it’s possible to have a moral compass and spend hundreds of pounds on season tickets to the football. For some reason, all other hobbies/interests are seen as just that – hobbies and interests – whereas people who are interested in shoes or fashion are almost always considered to be consumed by it, to the point where there’s absolutely nothing else in their lives. Bizarre.

    5. My comment dissapeared, too… The jist was that it always strikes me as funny when people have to protest so vehemently against fashion: I don’t really feel the need to defend my love of shoes, because I know perfectly well that it’s only one small part of my life (and I think anyone who knows me realises that too), but for some reason, people like this columnist DO seem to feel a need to bang on about how ridiculous it all is, as if to try to prove how much cleverer they are, and how weighty and “important” their lives are in comparison. (Because obviously they have NO interests that could be described as simply “fun” – they presumably spend all of their spare time trying to find a cure for cancer or helping the poor…)

    6. Oh, you said it all – exactly what I think! I completely agree with you! I also used to say to some guys who thought or said “superficial” girl, because of the love for fashion: “how much did your new car cost? Did you really need it?” Answer: “You can’t compare a car to shoes!” Oh yes, I can. I could. That was their hobby. Their wish, passion. Or gadgets. Phones. Etc. It doesn’t matter. I like shoes, fashion, but also reading, cinema, dancing, painting, architecture and so on… it’s such a cliche: a woman who likes fashion, has nothing consistent in her head. They are so wrong, fashion history shows the change in the society’s values along the years. But “they” are too narrow-minded to see this. Then, who is superficial?

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