Tuesday 12 April 2022

Essential Snobbery 101: Sensible shoes for suffering soles

The shoo of the shoes

In one of those chance conversations, you have with friends, I was informed anecdotally that South Africans look at 3 things in an appearance to rate who you are in class, means, and facility. Your shoes, your watch, and your belt. I would suppose this applies primarily to men and probably women are assessed on different criteria.

In that same conversation, I learnt that someone had gone to attend an interview and on the basis of the shoes and belt worn by the interviewer, the interviewee decided their interviewer was not of the means or mettle to employ them, and so declined the job offer.

Forced into acculturation

Obviously, one might suggest or opine those appearances can be deceptive, that to judge ability or character by apparel or appearance is not only superficial but silly. Then again, we are products of influences, cultures, communities, and societies in which we live and by that might be unconsciously biased by irrational value systems that define status, when they should never be in consideration.

However, by reason of this somewhat unwritten rule, people adapt and try to play the part not so much to deceive, but to elevate the assessment from apparel or appearance to something more nuanced and probably indicative of the person and personality being engaged.

Then there are times when the application of this rule might be deleterious to the objective of being acceptable, where apparent ostentation and gaudiness might exude means but not class, for the quality of being presentable and yet understated is one that demands a finer educational process that comes with being quite comfortable in your own skin.

Good presentation is rarely exorbitant

By terms, you can wear sensible shoes that are clean and polished without them calling out like neon lights and if you are not on a catwalk, your shoes are probably not the first thing you want to be noticed about you. Likewise, the watch, for what is the point of wearing an expensive timepiece if you cannot keep the time. Whilst I am not suggesting one should plumb for the cheap, there is nothing wrong with adorning yourself with the affordable.

Then on the topic of sensible shoes and I probably know a bit about that because my feet grew 6 sizes from the age of 7 to 15 and getting the right size of shoes after that was one of a bother, for size 12 (UK)/46 (EU) is not in the typically available or fashionable percentile.

There were times my poor feet were shoehorned in too tight footwear, I learnt to wince in silence until I could throw off the shoes and walk barefoot. I have better options now, and I avail myself of them in good formal shoes and well-cushioned trainers that allow me to walk long distances without the aid of my walking cane.

Looking good for worse

One sight I cannot put out of my mind was one I saw last weekend, this lady stepped out of the hotel with her husband and a crutch in her right arm, a crutch, not a cane and she was in high-heeled shoes. I could not fathom the spectacle of someone who needed a crutch and then was traipsing our uneven pavement in that kind of shoes. I had a cartoon playback in my mind of someone falling so badly that the crutch would be replaced with either a wheelchair or a Zimmer frame.

She might have looked presentable at first sight, and yet it was meretricious; we for the sake of fashion sacrifice health and wellbeing, on the spectrum of opinion the rating was indelibly low, you live and let live. The case for suffering soles in sensible shoes is made, but not many would heed the sensible part.

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