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I Am Not Spartacus (and Neither Are You)!

by Glenn T (writer), Las Vegas, NV, September 15, 2009

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One man ventures into the dangerous waters of critiquing female fashion... if only long enough to try to move fashion out of the Bronze Age.

I realize the risk I’m running by writing this. It’s one thing to wax poetic on the fashion tragedies of other men that I see running around and still try to maintain some air of masculinity – but it’s another to speak out women’s fashion. But after spending years as a male cheerleader and even longer as a dancer, I’ve given up on expecting my sexual preference to be obvious from the things I do.

It wasn’t that long ago that I finally realized why women spend so much time, money and effort on shoes. I remember the maddening mystery of it as an adolescent, a young adult and as a grown man. Back then, I could satisfy my own footwear wardrobe needs with three pairs – and if pressed, probably two. But once my hormones had calmed down to the point where I could finally notice something about a women besides the fact the she was female, I began to notice the details that made femininity so damned alluring. I certainly didn’t have anything even approaching a foot fetish (in fact, just writing that gives me an inexplicably cold chill), but I could finally appreciate just how great a great pair of heels was. I can’t imagine any practicing heterosexual male that doesn’t love beautiful legs. And the right shoe was the perfect ending to my favorite story.

Despite the exorbitant prices and monies involved, the trends in ladies footwear have always seemed to produce ever more flattering displays of legs, ankles and feet – even offering those unfortunate Sasquatch-footed girls with an opportunity to make their boats look a little manageably sized (I’m talking to you, Heidi Klum). I finally got it, and no longer wonder why Loubintons cost $800 (because they’re worth it) or why a shoe sale was such a big deal (because you can buy more of them for the same money). However, there is a current trend in ladies’ shoes, which has jumped the shark; something even more impossible to justify than skinny jeans, even more baffling than the collection of products in your bathroom, and the mostly widely adopted female fashion disaster since the crimping iron. I’m speaking, of course, of the “gladiator sandal.”

Before I get started, let me just say, I’m not so far up my own ass that I think that the women of the world (or even those locally for that matter) are choosing their shoes to impress me; or even to impress men, in general. I’m well aware of the fact that most of what women wear is done to impress other women. Case-en-point: fancy lingerie – because if we think you’re hot, we want to see you naked, and don’t care about the steps it takes to get there. So, if you love your Spartacus sandals, and your friends do, too, fantastic! But, I feel like us guys are often afraid to say anything when something you’re wearing just isn’t quite right. I mean, who are we (you know, the guys that can’t reliably tie their own neckties or match them to our shirts without your help) to criticize your fashion choices. You’re right, we’ve got no standing to tell you what to wear on your feet – but to extent it matters what we think – we think your Air Leonidas’ look ridiculous.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure whose idea this was, or why no one has said anything yet. But the proverbial emperor has got no clothes on. You paid fifty bucks for footwear that was designed 1500 years ago, and is a toga away from being a marginal party costume. It’s not like you girls don’t have options if you’re looking to show off your pedicure or aren’t in the mood for heels. Flip-flops are casual and worry free; and flats are comfortable and fun and neither of them make you look like you’re waiting for a chariot to come pick you up. And can someone tell me why these foot-worn monstrosities usually come in “gold” or “silver”? The only thing that you should be wearing in those colors is actual gold or silver. I mean, seriously, is there ever a good time for fake metallic print?

And as I sat down to write this, I realized, I’m not exactly sure what it is about them that makes them so absurd. On the one hand, they’re just not flattering. Ostensibly, one of the purposes of the standard women’s shoe is to make the foot look a little bit smaller. A gander through the history of women’s footwear bears this out as a common theme. There is an inherent femininity to a small foot. It’s dainty, and cute. Yet the current Maximus-style sandal craze does everything it can to make the feet look larger. Not just flat, but wrapped up in thin strings that on most girls, are tied up so tight that it looks as though they’re keeping your feet from being even bigger. On the girls who are tall and skinny enough (i.e. fashion models) to actually pull off a flat shoe as fashionable – their planks look big enough in these things to effectively ski on. There’s nothing hot about looking down at the end of bed as bodies are tangled together and having to wonder which bumps belong to you. And that’s exactly what we’re imagining when we’re seeing you wear shoes that it looks like we might be able to fit into.

And on the other hand, they look way too affected to be taken seriously. Listen, a bunny-themed corset is hot, but we don’t want to take you to dinner in it. And anything that takes that long to put on hardly gives the carefree, cute appearance you were hoping for. I mean, men as a general rule, are mouth-breathing morons when it comes to what you’re wearing, but we do know that laces that wrap around your foot a dozen or so times don’t just slip on. There’s only two ways we can look at these aberrations – you either take yourself way too seriously (and think that shoes that take twenty minutes to put on are ok), or you don’t take yourself seriously at all. Remember that kid in elementary school who insisted on wearing some element of his Halloween costume to school on days that were not Halloween (you know, like a cape or a mask)? Yeah, now that’s you. Congratulations, Caesar.

Finally, they barely qualify as shoes, and are the only item of clothing to come out of the Roman era that isn’t worn exclusively for frat parties. Doesn’t it feel silly to pull them out of the box and find that they consist of an eighth-inch thick leather sole and three or four long leather straps sewn to the side? Do they even come with instructions? Or at least a picture on the front of the box to look at (like a Lego set)? If you wonder in that moment if it’s really worth it – the money, the hassle and the discomfort – let me be the first to say: no.

For the most part, you ladies are far more capable at dressing yourselves in a flattering and fashionable way than most of us men will ever hope to be. Even the worst amongst you makes the majority of us look like we picked our clothes in the dark. But every once in a while, something completely absurd becomes a mania of sorts. All the sources of fashion advice that you have (magazines, television, friends, etc.) conspire and inundate you with an impossible amount of advocacy on behalf of a truthfully bad idea. And for the most part, we keep quiet – hoping it will soon pass, and knowing that, inevitably, you’ll find that little black dress, those black heels and that thing you do with your hair that makes us just want to touch it – and that all will be well. So perhaps it’s best I just sit back and wait for this to pass. But just in case it doesn’t, I’m polishing up my breastplate, helmet and sword. After all, once she’s got the shoes, all any gladiator girl really needs is a well-dressed gladiator.



About the Writer

Glenn T is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on I Am Not Spartacus (and Neither Are You)!

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By M.J. Hamada on September 16, 2009 at 03:23 am


I don't know what they are, but these things sound awesome.

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By Staticground on November 04, 2009 at 11:31 am

I'm a size 10 and I loved this article. I wore stilettos to high school to hide my Heidi's.

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