When I'm out and about, I wear good shoes and keep them pristine. Why?
Women *always* check out your kicks. Always.
You can wear the standard Male Uniform, “T-Shirt and Jeans” whenever you like(*). Simply sport spiffy shoes and you’re golden. Trust me; if you slide into a pair of polished Ferragamo loafers, everything above is forgiven.
Now, as much as I love those shiny shoes, I don’t like the actual “act” of getting them shined. I feel so awkward sitting atop my wooden throne while someone rubs and buffs my tootsies. It smacks of supplication and submission and, frankly, makes me uncomfortable.
I can’t relax during a shoe shine. I’m too tense. With my rigid body and feet placed gracelessly upon the metal mounts, I look like I’m about to receive a gynecological exam. It isn’t pretty.
What’s more, I glance to my right to see a heavyset, balding businessman casually reading his paper while his “boy” strokes and buffs his wingtips. I swear I half expected the old man to snap his fingers and call for a plate of mutton. Or worse, demand that I dance for him.
The thing is, he’s fine. You’re supposed to just sit there. Me? I have to make conversation. I need to show this person kneeling before me that I’m an everyman (or in this case, woman). I’m a working stiff. Plebian, just like you.
“So”, I say trying not sound like a man getting his prostate examined, “How long you been shining shoes?”
That’s freaking brilliant.
I despise small talk. I’d rather have silence. And here I am firing the opening volley; marking myself as the guy-with-nothing-to-say-but-is-too-uncomfortable-to-just-sit-here-while-you-service-him type.
I don’t know what was said next. I heard the sound of my voice, but my Boring Filter had kicked in. I might have asked how long she’d been in Shoe Reclamation and Revitalization. Maybe a sentence or two about the weather. I’m not sure. My Boring Filter works both ways: reception and transmission. Hardly anything gets through.
Then something slipped through the filter: “I’m also an actress.”
With that, I suddenly heard a *click* and saw a flash of white light. Next
thing I know, I’m stepping down from my perch. Immediately, I knew what
happened: my Boring Filter was overridden by my AADS(**).
It was over. Thank God.
The shoe shine cost $7. I gave her $15 and told her to keep the change. I was hoping that a 100%+ tip would assuage my guilt.
But seeing my reflection in my black shoes did the trick.
*Male Uniform of T-Shirt and Jeans assumes a decent, non-man-stained shirt and a pair of dark jeans.
** AADS is Aspiring Actor Defense Shield. This safety mechanism allows you to stay in a conversation with an actor by forcing you to nod and smile in the right places. With the shield turned to maximum, you will also repeat the last word of ever other sentence and laugh. This shield also prevents *any* information from leaving your mouth that identifies you as working in the entertainment industry.
The AADS shield is not unlike the Girlfriend Telling You About Her Day At Work Screen (GFTYAHDAWS) which functions almost identically. But with the GFTYAHDAWS, you will also periodically furrow your brow, nod and say “you’re absolutely right” and “I can’t believe she did that.”