December 7, 2012

Katie Roiphe tries to fathom the depths of why she's buying really expensive shoes.

She writes about herself in the second person saying things like: 
You have read Adorno. You are able to think critically about your desire for the shoes. Furthermore, you have a healthy class-hatred for people who dress habitually in clothes from this store...
And:
If you do walk out with the shoes...  they work like a drug—the anxieties that were plaguing you before you enter the store have lifted. As you step out into traffic, the still and stagnant city is suddenly charged with possibility

The parties you have scribbled in your calendar seem more glittery or interesting or fun, and you in the shoes, more daunting, more sylphlike, more free, more invulnerable....

Do you want to be the kind of person who sacrifices, overreaches, for a pair of shoes, who imbues them with a romantic overlay that a material object cannot possibly sustain?
That's where the internal argument ends up, and obviously she buys the shoes. Obviously, there's a huge mental element to consumerism, both before and after the purchase. Note that anxieties must be stirred up to provide an additional argument: I need to dispel these anxieties! She gets off on the purchase.

My question: Why shoes? There's some discussion of how shoes "will transform you into someone else" — special shoe magic. (See "The Wizard of Oz.") There's oddly little reference to sex. Roiphe ignores Freud, who famously saw shoes as vagina symbols. Roiphe wants — or wants "you" — to be daunting, sylphlike, free, and invulnerable.

A sylph is a female fairy. In Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock," "women who are full of spleen and vanity turn into sylphs when they die because their spirits are too full of dark vapors to ascend to the skies." (Here is "The Rape of the Lock," with the illustrations by Aubry Beardsley, for only 99¢ on Kindle!)

So, maybe, why shoes? Why not dresses, jackets, jewelry, sweaters? I think it's that you've got to specialize — unless you're actually rich — if you're going to shop in the really expensive places. You can trick yourself into thinking you've been indulged. Still, why specialize in shoes?

72 comments:

chickelit said...

Carrie Bradshaw

YoungHegelian said...

You have read Adorno....

Oh yeah, that'll do it. There's nothing like some esoteric cultural analytics of the marketplace to keep us out of the clutches of our sordid desires.

I mean, I know every time I ever think about straying I just re-read Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and that always calms Wild Willie down.

Nonapod said...

I'm probably the best person to criticize or analyze the act of buying something you really, really want but don't really need. I just spent $2200.00 on a guitar modeling/effects processor last week.

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

There was some remote period in which Katie Roiphe seemed intelligent. My memory no longer stretches back that far.

Perhaps it would help if she found a subject that interested her that is not "Katie Roiphe." Not everyone can feel the same fascination with that subject that she does.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Nonapod,

I'm probably the best person to criticize or analyze the act of buying something you really, really want but don't really need. I just spent $2200.00 on a guitar modeling/effects processor last week.

Hey, that's all of us. I just ordered a solo viola d'amore CD that I do not "need," except in the sense that I have been building a library of d'amore recordings (and music) for many years. About as long as we've owned a viola d'amore, really.

Coketown said...

I hate second-person narration. It's amateur. As is the allusion to The Great Gatsby. I see by her bio that she looks like a clown and is a professor of journalism. How apt. She teaches college students to write like college students, with trite rhetorical strategies and references to obvious, gee-no-shit works of literature. Any "vanity of vanities--all is vanity!" quotes you want to throw in while we're ascending the heights of novelty?

Maybe the shoes distract from her all-thumbs approach to applying makeup. "Hey, those are nice shoes. Where did you ge--oh my Gooooood! What happened to your face? Were you pied by clowns, and not having time to clean up decided to use cherry paste on your lips to make it seem intentional?!"

But yes. Shoes. And this fascination with shoes. It's a High Secret of the Sorority. Men don't care about shoes. Even men who say they care about shoes can't back it up with evidence. They always pick hideous shoes. I made my mom pick out my work shoes, and women always compliment them. I could wear olive jars on my feet and it would take most men months to notice.

But why shoes? Because you're bipedal, and your stride depends on your shoes. If your shoes affect your walk, you're always aware of them. Wondrous scarves are soon forgotten, but ne'er are a pair of shoes obscure. If you're walking around with a heels-induced saunter, everyone notices that something is off and they quickly investigate. Oh--it's the shoes. Bright yellow shoes. Pretty! You notice that they notice, and that makes you feel good. You notice other women's shoes; they must notice your shoes, too. Then you wonder whether anyone noticed that you're using second-person narration after trashing it a few paragraphs up. Then you think, "Wait--few paragraphs? Why are my comments always so fucking long?"

Tim said...

Still, why specialize in shoes?"

Easy.

Because her pedestrian tastes haven't evolved to appreciate single malt Scotch.

Sadly, because she's a chick, she probably never will.

mccullough said...

Guns are to men as shoes are to women.

I vaguely remember John Updike describing sex as slipping into a velvet slipper and I was wondering if Updike ever had sex or had only fucked slippers.

YoungHegelian said...

@michelle,

About as long as we've owned a viola d'amore, really.

Does it match your crumhorn?

edutcher said...

She's getting in touch with her inner Imelda.

Or is it Moochelle?

john said...

I came this close to plunking more than a grand on one old penny. I already have a half dozen of these.

The problem is that I liked seeing the picture of that old penny more than I like looking at the real ones sitting on my desk.

Maybe I'm like Imelda that way.

TMink said...

"Furthermore, you have a healthy class-hatred for people who dress habitually in clothes from this store..."

Ahhhh, there is the rub. You see, there is no healthy class hatred. Such a thing as that does not exist. Class hatred is hatred and so it is poison.

She needs to quit being a hater, then she can love any shoes she wishes.

Trey

Coketown said...

And I think this is something innate in women as biological creatures, and not merely in the convoluted, baffling thought processes of the feminine psyche. Gay men can't pick out shoes. At drag shows, the performers' exaggerations of their female personae are pitch-perfect until you get to the shoes. Anyone will notice that a woman would never buy those things. The bombastic make-up? Yes, a Hispanic female would totally go there. Shoulder pads? Okay, yeah, some women are still stuck in the eighties. But those T.J. Maxx bottom-shelf rejects? There's a reason they were there. No true woman would touch them.

They need to have their moms pick out their shoes, assuming they're still on speaking terms.

The Gold Digger said...

Because your shoe size does not change with your weight. Well, with normal weight swings.

And because shoes will be admired and coveted even by the women sitting in the stall next to you in the public restroom.

However, there is no reason to spend a lot of money on good shoes. I have gotten several pairs of Ferragamos on eBay for under $50.

Balfegor said...

Re: Coketown:

But yes. Shoes. And this fascination with shoes. It's a High Secret of the Sorority. Men don't care about shoes. Even men who say they care about shoes can't back it up with evidence. They always pick hideous shoes.

Speak for yourself man! I pick excellent shoes. But that is because I look for certain basic qualities:

1. Leather uppers, black or brown
2. Toe neither squared nor pointy
3. Traditional design (captoe, wing, moccassin, etc.)
4. Sole made of leather, or if rubber, not excessively thick.
5. Defined heel.

And then I try to take care of the shoes afterwards -- clean and polish periodically, replace the heel when it gets worn down, and resole when you get a hole.

It is quite easy. The only problem is that the market is full of terrible shoes at all price levels. I confess I am not sure quite why -- it's as though half the off-the-rack business suits for sale were made of super-shiny fabric in teal.

YoungHegelian said...

@coketown,

Man, this thread's got you on fire, dude!

@Gold,

And because shoes will be admired and coveted even by the women sitting in the stall next to you in the public restroom.

And that explains the gender difference right there! No straight man wants the guy in the next stall to be coveting or thinking absolutely anything about him!

Scott M said...

In these days of Bono (yes, BONO) claiming that capitalism helps more people than direct aid, nothing like a liberal's own internal conflicts with reality surprise me anymore.

Nonapod said...

Like most guys I don't really put a great deal of money into clothing. But I have been known to spend large sums of money on electronic gadgets of one type or another like flat panel monitors, tablets, smartphones, video game systems, stereo equipment, mp3 players, computer parts, and music gear (like the aforementioned guitar processor).

I guess electronic miscellany is my shoes.

Coketown said...

@coketown,

Man, this thread's got you on fire, dude!


I've been a humorless coot the last few weeks. This post was a good opportunity to crack some jokes.

Balfegor: Those qualities would procure a sensible, attractive shoe, but none that would attract attention. And certainly none that would compel Katie Roiphe into fits of screaming ecstasy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Because her pedestrian tastes haven't evolved to appreciate single malt Scotch.

Sadly, because she's a chick, she probably never will.


Ahem. I'm definitely a chick, as my husband can attest. Single malt scotch, one ice cube or straight up sipped slowly, is my drink of choice.

I also don't give a rip about shoes other than they be comfortable, keep my feet warm and look appropriate for the circumstances. Except for a couple of pairs of sexy shoes that are totally impractical, most of my shoes are functional. Boots, loafers, walking shoes etc.

I actually hate shopping for shoes (and clothing) and now that I'm not working, Zappos is my go to place. When I WAS working, in an office environment, I would buy my shoes once a year. Hush puppies, 2" pumps. No need to try them on because I know that this style will fit. Go to store. Pick out 4 or 5 colors. Go to cash register. Pay. Done in 15 minutes. Repeat next year.

The first time my hubby, then boyfriend, went shoe shopping with me and I said, "Wait here, I'll just be a few minutes" he didn't believe me. He was prepared to wait for a long time. Surprise!!

EMD said...

In these days of Bono (yes, BONO) claiming that capitalism helps more people than direct aid, nothing like a liberal's own internal conflicts with reality surprise me anymore.

Bono has always been a capitalist, more or less. And he's seen the effects of the aid culture in Africa close up, and capitalism is much more benign and forgiving.

Mary Beth said...

a healthy class-hatred

What is a healthy class-hatred? Why can it only go one way? It's wonderful if you hate the rich but horrible if you hate the poor.

I couldn't describe a single pair of my friends' shoes. I don't notice them, I also prefer electronics. Most of the time when people say, "women think this" or "women feel that", is nothing close to what I think or feel.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

I've made a note to compliment women on their shoes.

1. It shows that you understand that shoes are and can be an extension of a woman's personality and.

2. it also demonstrates that you are looking at more than just their T&A.

YoungHegelian said...

@EMD,


2. it also demonstrates that you are looking at more than just their T&A


Or, that you're a foot or shoe fetishist.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I do think you should spend good money on quality shoes. Shoes that will FIT and that will LAST.

That being said. My last big frivolous purchase was an expensive high end gaming computer. I would rather buy a new computer or entertainment system than clothing or shoes.

Sounds like Mary Beth and I are simpatico.

chickelit said...

EMD said...
I've made a note to compliment women on their shoes.

1. It shows that you understand that shoes are and can be an extension of a woman's personality and.

2. it also demonstrates that you are looking at more than just their T&A.


I love how claim 2 justifies your preamble.


Mary Beth said...

My lack of interest in shoes could be because I have wide feet and am hard to fit. The only shoes that I love are these running shoes, because they are the only shoes I have (r have had in a very long time) that I don't want to take off as soon as possible. After I bought the first pair and tried them, I bought two more pairs.

Balfegor said...

Re: Coketown:

Balfegor: Those qualities would procure a sensible, attractive shoe, but none that would attract attention. And certainly none that would compel Katie Roiphe into fits of screaming ecstasy.

But I'm a man. If my clothing attracts too much attention, I am doing it wrong.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

YoungHegelian,

Does it match your crumhorn?

Nope, no crumhorn here. We're violinists/violists, and this particular instrument was sitting forever in the display case of the local stringed instrument store, and we bought it. Not really the prettiest d'amore around. (My husband had played d'amore before, on a very decorous modern instrument that was exquisitely crafted and put out next to no sound.) But this thing (a late-19th-c copy of God only knows what) is projective. We finally got a new bridge cut for it, because the previous one was a positive horror.

Tim said...

"Ahem. I'm definitely a chick, as my husband can attest. Single malt scotch, one ice cube or straight up sipped slowly, is my drink of choice."

Very good. It is one of the most civilized things ever.

Anyway, you'll note, I did use the qualifier "probably" to allow for the possibility...lol!

Inga said...

I love shoes and boots, but they must be attractive well fitting comfortable if they are expensive shoes. Can never have too many shoes. But if it comes down to buying another pair of shoes and an antique, it'll be an antique.

YoungHegelian said...

@Michelle,

We finally got a new bridge cut for it, because the previous one was a positive horror.

I can only imagine that cutting and fitting a bridge for a viola d'amore, what with all the sympathetic strings, must be a nightmare. No doubt it requires a luthier who knows what the hell he is doing re both violas & the configuration of baroque instruments.

Peter said...

"Furthermore, you have a healthy class-hatred for people who dress habitually in clothes from this store..."

That's the psychic price of being Leftie- you need to consider what the purchase says about you, who made the stuff and how exploited they were, all those starving children in Bangladesh with burned-to-death mothers.

Instead of simply deciding that you want something and can afford it, so why not.

But, Why shoes indeed. Unless you're so shy you stare at the ground most of the time, aren't shoes about the last thing you notice about a person?

"Furthermore, you have a healthy class-hatred for people who dress habitually in clothes from this store..."

That's the psychic price of being Leftie- you need to consider what the purchase says about you, who made the stuff and how exploited they were, all those starving children in Bangladesh with burned-to-death mothers.

Instead of simply deciding that you want something and can afford it, so why not.

But, Why shoes indeed. Unless you're so shy you stare at the ground most of the time, aren't shoes about the last thing you notice about a person?

And, yes, there's comfort and utility. But surely that's not what shoes like this are bought for.

McTriumph said...

"But I'm a man. If my clothing attracts too much attention, I am doing it wrong."

If you have good taste how can you not draw attention?

Mitchell the Bat said...

To the outdoorsy Althousians, I recommend Merrill.

Very lightweight, solid enough, great traction and plentiful room in the toe box.

You can probably get them through the Althouse Amazon thingie.

Oh, and they're neither "really expensive" nor "vaginal."

Balfegor said...

Re: McTriumph:

If you have good taste how can you not draw attention?

I think you have confused good taste and bad taste.

deborah said...

Shoes are magical.

wyo sis said...

"I've made a note to compliment women on their shoes.

1. It shows that you understand that shoes are and can be an extension of a woman's personality and.

2. it also demonstrates that you are looking at more than just their T&A."


It also makes you a little creepy. Don't do it unless she really looks great in them. The T&A are enhanced by the shoes, and she knows it.

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Guns are to men as shoes are to women." Mccullough has uncovered a hidden truth.

There are few things more edifying than contemplating the lines, symmetry and lost history of older firearms such as the M1 Garand.

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Guns are to men as shoes are to women." Mccullough has uncovered a hidden truth.

There are few things more edifying than contemplating the lines, symmetry and lost history of older firearms such as the M1 Garand.

Anne B. said...

Or you could just skip Kate Roiphe and read Manolo the Shoeblogger, who's a lot more entertaining.

Anne B. said...

Or you could just skip Kate Roiphe and read Manolo the Shoeblogger, who's a lot more entertaining.

Rabel said...

You're 45. You've divorced and have two kids at home. You work hard trying to teach journalism to spoiled brats who haven't read Dr. Suess much less Adorno. You starve yourself to try to stay thin so that the men will look approvingly rather than look away, but your hips just keep getting wider by the day so that you're starting to look like an A-frame down at the docks. You have to keep your mouth closed when you pose for the glamour shots because your feminist mother wouldn't pay for the braces. You'll go to the parties now and people will look at the shoes and not your dry, pasty skin or your sagging boobs or those wide load hips, or the gaps in your teeth. Would it have busted Mother's ass to pay for the Goddamned braces! You deserve these shoes.

McTriumph said...

I think you have confused good taste and bad taste.

How can one with good taste not be noticed in a crowd of lemmings wearing cheap fake black Armani suits?

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McTriumph said...

Rabel, thanks you made me laugh for the first time today.

ricpic said...

...you have a healthy class hatred...

Ah yes, a healthy class hatred. How very au courant.

Sigivald said...

Furthermore, you have a healthy class-hatred for people who dress habitually in clothes from this store

People are still talking about class-hatred, and doing so positively?

Well, I suppose the sort of people who read and namedrop Adorno do.

(Actually, are there any who read him and don't namedrop it?)

Craig Howard said...

Austrian economics explains the perfectly-human desire to consume as an exercise in resolving a dis-ease (an explanation that the writer came remarkably close to.) A person feels a need and purchases something to fill it.

Now, whether one chooses to resolve that dis-ease by purchasing shoes or, say, a gun, is best left to psychologists. But the desire to consume, in and of itself, is quite unremarkable and attempts to legislate or shame it away are doomed.

ad hoc said...

TMink is so right, there is no such thing as a healthy class hatred.

If you want expensive shoes, just get them and leave the angst out of it. while expensive shoes is not my thing - I'm happy wearing shoes from Payless or Target, it may make someone else's day, great.

deborah said...

I'm just happy I got the name-drop.

Anywho, can someone help me with the bolded?

"Adorno saw the culture industry as an arena in which critical tendencies or potentialities were eliminated. He argued that the culture industry, which produced and circulated cultural commodities through the mass media, manipulated the population. Popular culture was identified as a reason why people become passive; the easy pleasures available through consumption of popular culture made people docile and content, no matter how terrible their economic circumstances." Capitalist production so confines them, body and soul, that they fall helpless victims to what is offered them."[40] The differences among cultural goods make them appear different, but they are in fact just variations on the same theme. He wrote that "the same thing is offered to everybody by the standardized production of consumption goods" but this is concealed under "the manipulation of taste and the official culture's pretense of individualism".[41]By doing so, the culture industry appeals to every single consumer in a unique and personalized way, all while maintaining minimal costs and effort on their behalf. Consumers purchase the illusion that every commodity or product is tailored to the individual's personal preference, by incorporating subtle modifications or inexpensive "add-ons" in order to keep the consumer returning for new purchases, and therefor more revenue for the corporation system. Adorno conceptualized this phenomenon as pseudo-individualization and the always-the-same.[citation needed]

Adorno's analysis allowed for a critique of mass culture from the left which balanced the critique of popular culture from the right. From both perspectives – left and right – the nature of cultural production was felt to be at the root of social and moral problems resulting from the consumption of culture. However, while the critique from the right emphasized moral degeneracy ascribed to sexual and racial influences within popular culture, Adorno located the problem not with the content, but with the objective realities of the production of mass culture and its effects, e.g. as a form of reverse psychology.[citation needed] Thinkers influenced by Adorno believe that today's society has evolved in a direction foreseen by him, especially in regard to the past (Auschwitz), morals or the Culture Industry.
***

Adorno's work in the years before his death was shaped by the idea of "negative dialectics", set out especially in his book of that title. A key notion in the work of the Frankfurt School since Dialectic of Enlightenment had been the idea of thought becoming an instrument of domination that subsumes all objects under the control of the (dominant) subject, especially through the notion of identity, i.e. of identifying as real in nature and society only that which harmonized or fit with dominant concepts, and regarding as unreal or non-existent everything that did not.[citation needed] Adorno's "negative dialectics" was an attempt to articulate a non-dominating thought that would recognize its limitations and accept the non-identity and reality of that which could not be subsumed under the subject's concepts. Indeed, Adorno sought to ground the critical bite of his sociological work in his critique of identity, which he took to be a reification in thought of the commodity form or exchange relation which always presumes a false identity between different things. The potential to criticise arises from the gap between the concept and the object, which can never go into the former without remainder. This gap, this non-identity in identity, was the secret to a critique of both material life and conceptual reflection."
-Wiki

leslyn said...

Don't criticize a woman and her shoes.

I mean it.

EMD said...

It also makes you a little creepy. Don't do it unless she really looks great in them.

I'm very discriminating. Also, very married ... so I don't do it for any ulterior reasons other than complimenting a good pair of shoes.

Sam L. said...

Too, too, too self-indulgent for me.

YoungHegelian said...

@Deborah,

Let me give it a stab, but in reverse order.

Indeed, Adorno sought to ground the critical bite of his sociological work in his critique of identity, which he took to be a reification in thought of the commodity form or exchange relation which always presumes a false identity between different things.

What Adorno is doing here is moving the Marxist critique of the alienation of wage labor into the realm of thought.

In the Marxist critique of wage labor, the workers' labor is "commoditized", i.e. the various skills of the labor force are leveled and reduced to easily measured "hours", which are then paid in a standard "wage". In this commodification of labor, the individuality of the laborer and his works are lost, and thus a "false identity" is made between the wage unit and the wages. It also doesn't help that in this false identity between labor & wages is hidden the great capitalist swindle of surplus value, which the capitalist appropriates as profit.

Thus for Adorno, in the commodification of thought, the economic relation of market capitalism shapes thought so that it, too, functions by shearing off "differences". Thus, a conceptual world is shaped that aids in capitalism control not only of market resources, but also of making sure that both the proletariat & bourgeoisie cannot think outside of the box of capitalism's vision of reality.

The first quote you bolded I have more trouble with, because it refers more to Freud & other 19th/20th psychology I don't know well, but what Adorno means by "objective reality" is not whatever problem of aesthetic degeneracy may afflict each given artifact of culture taken one by one, but rather how each artifact of culture reflects the alienation caused by the penetration of capitalist "reification" (i.e. exploitation) into its creation.

I hope this helps. It's very difficult to write this stuff out squished into a little box.

Freeman Hunt said...

I couldn't describe a single pair of my friends' shoes.

I couldn't either. I'm sure they are all fine.

Spending an exorbitant amount of money on something always makes me feel like an idiot, an immediate low with no high. Always.

Freeman Hunt said...

The only time I feel excited about buying something is when I've been sorely tempted to spend a silly amount of money and have resisted, choosing something more reasonable instead. That is a small high.

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,
Easy, women, in my experience over 50 years, have been satisfied with the appearance of their real feet.
They will do anything to make their feet look slim, sleek, symetrical, finely wrought, active and all so beautiful.

A woman with wide, boney or lumpy or fat or mishapen feet is usually considered unattractive and , often, low class. I think women understand that fine footwear tops off a beautiful and stylish outfit. Plain feet or ugly shoes spoil the appearance and invite questions about the wearer's marriage potential and value.

Uma Thurman has huge feet. She's a big gitrl. Have you ever seen her feet in a movie? They are usually not filmed in a bare state. In fact, UMA is seldom photographed from the ankle down. In period pieces its not a problem. But in modern era stories where she does a nude scene or a love scene, her feet are seldom observed.

YoungHegelian said...

@sunslut7

A woman with wide, boney or lumpy or fat or mishapen feet is usually considered unattractive and , often, low class. I think women understand that fine footwear tops off a beautiful and stylish outfit. Plain feet or ugly shoes spoil the appearance and invite questions about the wearer's marriage potential and value.

When you get around to running that theory by a living, breathing, actual man, I recommend that you don't tell him while he has a mouth full of a liquid of any sort, lest you end up wearing it.

PS: There's a reason Titus doesn't sign off with the word "feet". And, he's gay, for God's sake!

deborah said...

YH, thank you, that helps a lot, especially the part where you let me know he was referring to Marxism vs. Capitalism :)

YoungHegelian said...

@deborah,

And I thank you for having the patience to read it.

9 out of 10 readers were probably going "JeezusChrist, what a pompous dick"!

Valentine Smith said...

Elegance thy name is woman.

What man, any man across the wide seas would wonder whether his saga men, martial or saintly had ever diverted time from heroic endeavor to plow fields or shop midtown upscales?

Penance, Roiphe woman penance. Rend your faux prole garments, knead ashes into your tinted locks, purify yes purify those vulgar desires erupting from your debased mind-soul corrupted by the offal of patriarchal commerce. Invoke the goddesses Sontag and West and Kali Sanger, arm yourself against yourself and tread the salvific way.

But before you do put on those fuck-me pumps and get laid.

Kirk Parker said...

mccullough,

"Guns are to men as shoes are to women."

Guns retain their value far better than shoes. I have a 108-year-old rifle in my gun cabinet. Works great! (Unless you're a deer, then you're not so pleased with it.) Got any century-old shoes?


"John Updike"

"The wide 'W', the receptive 'O'..."

Dante said...

I have visited Japan a few times. I had taken over business responsibility for a contained structural unit, and we won a big $10M contract in Japan. So, the Japanese team needed to be taken out.

Where did they want to go? To the strip clubs with Japanese women? Why no. They wanted to go to the strip clubs filled with LA harlots. Literally, these women were picked up on the streets of LA and transported to Japan for their sexual pleasure.

I felt completely uncomfortable with a bunch of bimbos wanting to do X, Y, and Z with me, but the Japanese guys were completely flushed with excitement at the end.

I learned from the Japanese salesman that Japanese women's legs are too short, and that they want them to be longer. That's why all Japanese women wear high heeled shoes.

Maybe there is something to it. These harlots were all leggy blondes.

Sam L. said...

I will say that once I noticed a woman's shoes (a few years ago) and complimented her on them, starting with "I don't usually notice shoes..."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

YoungHegelian,

I can only imagine that cutting and fitting a bridge for a viola d'amore, what with all the sympathetic strings, must be a nightmare. No doubt it requires a luthier who knows what the hell he is doing re both violas & the configuration of baroque instruments.

Yes, it's a real geometry puzzle. Especially as the curvature of the top has to be finely calculated. You have seven playing strings, and the trick is to get it so that there's enough curvature that you can easily play on just one of them, but not so much that you can't play on the outer ones without hitting the bout.

The sympathetic strings are actually the easier part, as they just go straight through parallel to the belly. Easier from a bridge-cutting point of view, that is; actually installing them is something else again. I don't know how it's done, and am not sure I want to. When we bought it, it was short the lowest sympathetic string, and we never quite got around to replacing it :-)

We had lent the instrument to a friend who needed a d'amore for a particular gig, and she held onto it so long that in the end she agreed to get a new bridge cut for it, and split the cost with us. It really needed to be done; the original bridge was quite warped and crumbling on the treble side. Win/win!

Now all it needs is a proper case. Right now it's in a very old hard case for a quarter-size cello, supplemented by a lot of foam rubber and some towels ...

Fat Man said...

"You have read Adorno."


"You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known
Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones"

Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man

Nate Whilk said...

Tim Allen asked his wife, "Why, baby, do you have 19 pairs of black shoes?"

She answered, "You stupid fucker. Those are strapbacks, spikes, Cobbie Cuddlers, espadrilles, flats, pumps, patent leathers, spectators AH AH AH!"

from "Tim Allen Rewires America"
http://youtu.be/tYhwB9-GHjI?t=9m5s

And have we forgotten Imelda Marcos' 3000 pairs of shoes?

Jeff with one 'f' said...

My aesthetic interest in men's shoes arose when I noticed, repeatedly, that attractive women of a certain class judge potential mates by their shoes. Women with PHDs do this. Who am I to argue?

glenzo said...

For my daughter, at a very young age, around 2 years old or thereabouts, she loved shoes. I could not believe it. She even said things like "these are my style" and it was a big huh for me. I thought it was genetic until I realized that for her shoes represented freedom and adventure. The wearing of shoes was time to go out and see the world.