Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Hell = A Shoe Store
We went shopping for shoes last weekend. Anyone who has an ounce of testosterone in his blood will know that men would walk trough fire, swim naked under the North pole, wrestle an anaconda or dive from a 200 metre high cliff into shark infested waters rather than enter a single shoe store. In fact, there lies the heart of the problem, because it never is just a single shoe store. It's shoe store in, shoe store out while you follow your wife while she reprimands you for the shoes you like and makes you try on shoes you don't like.
To make it even worse, it was the sales period, or 'solden' as we call it here. As if shopping for shoes wasn't horrible enough, you have to fight your way through the shopping districts and into the shops through a mass of hyperkinetic women, grumpy men and screaming children. Sales periods are when Belgians leave their houses in one giant mass to buy their clothes, I'm always surprised people buy any between the winter and the summer sales. Personally, I think running around naked is a sound alternative to trying to survive this mass frenzy. This must be why naturism is becoming increasingly popular.
But there was no escape to it. I've been walking in my summer shoes all winter long, even when it was very cold and when I had to march through a thick (at least 1,5cm) layer of snow. My old winter shoes had given up on my a year ago, when the shoe sole broke in two. It always does, because I have a tendency to walk on my toes. It's a genetic thing, my mother does it, my sister and brother do it and unfortunately my son does it too. If we want more children we'll have a hefty annual shoe bill to take into account.
But in a remarkable and happy twist, we found a pair of shoes both Mrs.B and I agreed upon, right on the last day of the sales period. We were in and out of the shop in five minutes. And then we went in again to buy a pair of slippers, because the two balls of rags I wear in the house qualify as toxic waste. So I bought four items of footwear at a time, in a single store, during the sales period, without having to wrestle through a crowd or wait for a seat to try them on or having to pull a shop assistant by the hair or anything.
And if anyone is wondering how they look: they are brown - both the shoes and the slippers - and shoe-like. Except the slippers, which are more slipper-like. I'd like to give you more details, but I'm a bloke.