Shoes Maketh The Man?
Life's Too Short For Bad Shoes
She had the reputation for being an ice maiden with the smile of a gargoyle. It was a meeting I wasn’t looking for to. Crushing the corporate shag pile under foot I blinked at the panoramic view of London’s glory like a convict experiencing daylight for the first time in weeks. A breathtaking vista still glistening from the morning’s sugary frost. My nostrils twitched at the invitation of coffee, “do you take milk?” The conversation interrupted my distraction and sucked me back into my morning’s mission, to sell a bagful of ideas and concepts which I was sure would be lost on someone who knows everything about marketing but doesn’t know how to market. Enduring half an hour of hmms, sighs and quizzical expressions I packed up the goods and suggested she defined what she was looking for. It was like parading a child around an ice cream parlour, neither sure of which flavour they fancied…frustrating.
The familiar sensation of crushed pile returned and as she reached for the door her tone changed, “nice shoes by the way, it’s the first thing I notice on a man.” Grabbing hold of the compliment and the door handle I nodded, smiled and thought she’d missed her vocation as a personal shopper.
Weeks later, strolling through gentrified Bloomsbury I was complimented by a passing stranger, “nice Jeffrey’s mate.” My footwear reactions got me thinking, maybe it’s true, shoes maketh the man. I mean clearly they won’t get you elected for a Nobel Prize, on a Parliamentary back bench or win an Oscar. But if you only get one chance to make a first impression, then shoes are definitely a supreme asset in a man’s collection. More than just a few patches of leather crafted together, in the right hands and on the right feet they have the power to shod a chap in confidence, vigour and distinction. Equally in the wrongs and on the wrong feet they have the power to transform a gent into Charlie Chaplin. Shoes can reflect a man’s attitude to detail and personal value. If I did win an Oscar for Best Supporting Shoes, special thanks would definitely go to the men whose work rests beneath my bed. So a big heartfelt thanks goes to Messrs Patrick Cox, Jeffrey West, the Loake family¸ whose footwear has been a constant companion ever since I decided to grow up.
So if your eyes drift down to survey the state and calibre of your footwear and they answer ‘could do better.’ Go ahead and treat your feet they’re the only ones you’ve got.