Last Saturday evening, I defied the sudden onslaught of bone-chilling cold and headed to Neiman's to wish my fave Sales Associate, Bill, a happy birthday. I also figured I could pick up a dress I'd been eyeing, but that's not the point. Bill is a darling of a man.
A few bon mots with Bill and my new purchase neatly folded into my handbag, I thought I'd revel in my defiance and walk the one-stop-train-ride to the movie theatre. Only, I got there between showings and didn't feel like waiting, so I nipped in next door to my one of fave hotel-restaurants, Jer-ne, for her green salad and delish house-prepared vinaigrette. (Please don't flatter me, I'd been stuffing my face with fried foods all week. This was merely an intermission; okay, well I kinda felt sick with all the greasiness.)
Two seconds into sipping my ginger-ale, a man was settling into the table opposite mine. I looked up, and smiled mid-sip ― he was looking at me, I couldn't not smile!! My palate cleansed, I took a nice gulp of my Veuve. My new neighbor ― he couldn't have been less than fifty! ― switched seats, and leaning into my table and remarked on the seeming spectacle of my sandals (since it was getting cold outside?!); something of a compliment masked with a not so subtle curiosity. I was wearing a pair of thongs.
(Blasphemy! or not.) Please, I needed to enjoy my last moments exposing my toes. I explained my irreverent love for thong sandals even when common sense dictated otherwise.
I looked down at his shoes. Driving shoes. I commented on their uncomplicated reliability, and in his case, their nicely worn quality. He thought I was being smart. I wasn't. It was a compliment; but I suppose it didn't come out quite right. I attempted to clarify: I explained my passing knowledge of men's shoes gathered from my father's random pronouncements, "I won't buy another shoe for a very long time"1 "very durable" "Bally makes very good shoes!"2 "John Lobb is the oldest3 shoemaker in London, and the best!" Did I mention "very durable"?? etc etc.
I must have gone on and on. He chimed in, explaining a few details about men's shoes.
Some of my fave Berluti shoes...
He was an unexpected, but very companionable date.
After dinner, I thanked him and we parted ways with me smiling and thinking I really would love to shop for men's shoes. I'm bizarre, I know. I also thought,"Now I want, very terribly, these loafers (Chanel)!!" (I'd seen them earlier in the women's shoe dept.)
Salutations and kisses.
1. I think I may be able to count how many time I've seen my father buy shoes on one hand.
2. This, was in response to some shoes my father bought us, his gyrls (pre-teen) as school shoes. These were very sad tan-colored mary janes with flexible soles, the shoe could practically be rolled into a ball lengthwise!! Ahh.. dear dad.
3. I'm yet to figure out if the "oldest" part is true