Espadrilles: A bad ideahttp://www.espadrillesetc.com/web.php?action=men
“You need espadrilles,” declared my friend Pat, pulling me aside so I didn’t step in a wad of gum on the sidewalk.
“What’s an espadrille?” I asked. “Is that a French air force squadron?”
Pat, who knows just about everything about everything, corrected me. “No, that’s an escadrille. Espadrilles are the hot summer shoes for men right now,” he explained. He watched me as I chewed that over.
I opened my mouth to make a smartass, vaguely vulgar remark.
“For straight men, too,” he pre-empted.
I glared mildly at Pat for stepping on a perfectly good line.
“What are they like, these espadrilles?”
“Well,” he began. “They’re very comfortable. Very simple and casual. Canvas tops usually, with a rope sole. But if you’re a bit adventuresome, you can get them in snakeskin, too.”
I squinted at him. “You’re going to do this again, aren’t you?”
“What?!” he asked, all innocence.
“You’re trying to fix me,” I complained. “You’re always trying to do that.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are,” I insisted. “It’s like I’m not good enough. You’re always coaching me. My clothes, my car, my apartment. Now it’s shoes. It’s like you’re trying to renovate me one piece at a time. What, are you planning to sell me to one of your girl friends?”
“Quit complaining. God, you bitch a lot when a guy offers some advice,” he chuckled.
“I don’t need your advice.”
Pat seized my arm and stopped me in mid-stride. Smiled. “Look at your shoes,” he said, patiently.
I looked at my shoes. They were well-used, well-loved boat shoes. Kind of faded. A few unidentified stains. The leather laces didn’t match.
I sighed. “Okay…”
It turned out that espadrilles are extremely stupid shoes. I made this point very clearly, as Pat and the shoe saleslady made sympathetic eye contact with each other.
No support at all, flimsy material and ridiculous design. I thought they looked like tarted up bedroom slippers.
“They look like tarted up bedroom slippers,” I said, grinning, very much enjoying being me.
“They’d look really good with a pair of Bermuda shorts,” suggested the saleslady.
“I don’t have any Bermuda shorts,” I replied. “And I’ve been to Bermuda. I’m pretty sure nobody wears them in Bermuda, either. Those shorts are a joke they’re playing on the rest of the world, making people everywhere look like idiots.”
“Or a pair of casual slacks?” she ventured.
“Slacks? I don’t have slacks! I don’t even like to SAY slacks.” I was about to reference Dan Ayckroyd and Steve Martin as a couple of wild and crazy guys, but Pat intervened again.
“Khakis,” he said, quietly, hand on his forehead. “You have khakis. Those are casual slacks.”
Still, I was not to be persuaded about the virtues of stupid espadrilles.
I left the store with a pair of boat shoes exactly like my old ones, and a pair of Sebago Plunge, which are extremely cool water sport shoes that drain the water away.
Sebago Plunge: A good idea
Both pair were on sale, which pleased me more than it should have, because I feel guilty when I spend money on myself.
Both pair met with Pat’s grudging approval, which pleased me immensely, because it would shut him up for awhile.
We headed for the subway, on our way back to my place for a beer before dinner. We moved along briskly in companionable silence.
“Did you ever get rid of that awful black leather couch in your living room?” he began.
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