"You do realise that perhaps one of the reasons why you don't have a boyfriend is because you look a bit... scary?" A true gem of advice from my beloved mother right there - just what every daughter wants to hear. That one will get filed next to the comment by the ex-boyfriend that "I think you look much prettier without your eyeliner on"; what, you mean the eyeliner I wear every single day without fail?! Nice one, wise guy, way to make your girlfriend feel self-conscious.
I joke and I jest, but in truth I can sort of see my mother's point (the ex, well, i'm not going to be taking beauty advice from him any time soon). To an outsider, my style could be construed as a tad off-putting. I bleach my hair albino white, favour Winehouse-worthy eyeliner, wear black nearly every day and am drawn to anything with studs or spikes. I'm also always in flat shoes - it's a lot easier not to get knocked over at a punk rock show in Dr Martens than it is in 5 inch heels, obviously (although if you were wearing heels you probably wouldn't be at the gig in the first place. It's a truth universally acknowledged that footwear defines musical tribes).
However. I have a secret. Or not a secret, but a strange mental weakness. I love buying stupid shoes. Years as a fashion student meant my wardrobe enjoyed some weird and wonderful (more of the weird, to be honest) evolutions, and I've accumulated a shoe collection the finest drag queen in the land would be proud of. Glittery, fetish-y, stacked high heels, all of which barely see the light of day. Nearly all have been purchased in what I call one of my ‘shoe trance’ moments - I lose all grasp of logic and the next thing I know I'm walking out of the shop with a shoebox and a dazed look on my face. I know this sounds as though I'm conforming to the cliché airhead female stereotype that we try to avoid at XOJane but we all have our foibles - mine being shoes fit for a crazy person and massively inappropriate boys (but that, dear friends, is a whole other post).
So this shoe blindness happened most recently when I went to the post office on my lunch break and returned with the hands down most insane (and expensive) shoes I have ever bought. I was powerless in the presence of these all-over spiked, lace up Lita boots by Jeffrey Campbell.
Previously, I have openly mocked girls who wear this style of shoes - they are the living embodiment of fugly, with enormous heels, a heavy platform and laces that my mother would describe as orthopaedic (in fact, she threatened to write me out of her will if I bought them, having received a hasty 'should I buy these?' picture message. Aw shucks, I guess there goes my inheritance! Seriously though Mum, if you are reading this just remember, it could have been drugs. Let's work through this.)
So, why the hell did I buy these? I think it's because these shoes spoke to both sides of my split-style personality. They are stupidly high and 'fashiony', but also look like you could start a fight in them. Not that I get into many fights, mind, but as a single 25-year-old girl who likes to roam London and Brighton at night, an element of self-preservation is definitely involved in my fashion choices. Call me paranoid, whatever, I don't trust the weirdos on the last train home.
These shoes made me feel like an evil superhero, a Charlie's Angel gone rogue – which was always on my list of ‘things I want to be when I grown up’. Or, as a guy in the lift at work put it, 'like a twisted Bond girl'. Hell yes to that, new lift friend! You and I can hang out again!
Apart from that dude, I'm aware that no boy will approach me when I'm wearing these shoes. I've just ratcheted up my scary factor by about fifteen million percent, but I genuinely don’t care. If a man/boy/male person outside of my social circle is brave enough to talk to me while I’m wearing the spikey shoes of death, then they will probably have the strength of character to deserve my undivided attention.
I’m not worried – cue an obvious ‘shit single girls’ say’ quote – because between the shoes, an intense new job and equally hectic social life I am waaaaaaay to busy for a boyfriend. I’m definitely not going to change how I dress to lure in a man any time soon, that’s for sure. As if you could be bothered! Love me, love my predisposition to dress like a boy/Grimes/a goth mermaid half the time.
A French friend gave me the nicest compliment I have ever received when I relayed the 'scary' quote from my Mum. "You don't look scary," she said, in her cute accent. "You look like a...riot girl." See, with friends like that, who gives a flip what a boy thinks. The scary shoes and me: we’re in it for the long haul.