Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Land ho! Set the jib, full speed ahead!

When I was in, let's say, sixth grade, these were the shoes in which to see and be seen:

I'm not sure why. Vermont, as many of you may know, is a landlocked state. And while Lake Champlain is the largest mountain lake, and the sixth largest fresh water lake in the U.S., it's a good three hour drive from where I grew up on the southern end of the state.

Which brings me back to the question: why, oh why, were boat shoes so popular? I had a pair, maybe two. Everyone else had them, so it stood to reason that my miserable existence might be improved by the acquisition of yet another thing the popular (read: rich) kids had. I also lusted for a pair of Tretorn sneakers until my beloved grandma finally acquiesced and bought them for me. I can actually recite a long list of things that I lusted after with nearly overwhelming desperation when I was a kid. Esprit sweatshirts, Reebok hightops, jelly bracelets...there was a time when I would have gladly sold my entire family into white slavery for another Swatch. Sadly, it never occurred to me that my outlook and station in life were not improved significantly or permanently once I'd acquired these items.

But I digress. Happily, most of these trends, along with off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, neon spandex, legwarmers, fingerless lace gloves, shoulder pads, and acid wash, eventually died a well-deserved death. Less happily, some have since made a comeback (Legwarmers, for example, really should have stayed dead.)

It wasn't until I moved to Virginia, however, that I discovered boat shoes worming their way back into the zeitgeist. I first observed them on a member of my brother's biking team, and chalked it up to the misguided taste of one individual. After all, we're talking about men who shave their legs and circulate in public wearing lycra. But, the more I've expressed my disdain for this footwear, the more I come to understand that boat shoes have, in fact, made a comeback in some circles. One of our interns informs me that they are actually one of three sanctioned footgear choices for students at Virginia Tech. Since the bike team member, and another (girl, God help me) who I subsequently observed wearing them, are Virginia Tech students and alumni, I can only pray that this trend will stay in Blacksburg, where I don't have to see it. Or on boats. If you own a boat, of any kind, other than a raft or a canoe, you are excused from my judgment.

In summary, boat shoes yes:

Boat shoes no:

The rest of humanity.


3 comments:

Cindy said...

I must admit to owning (and wearing) a pair of said boat shoes quite frequently. Tomorrow perhaps. :)

rcd said...

You moved into the heart of boat shoe country. That is the price you pay sweetheart.

* said...

Oh sure-you couldn't have shared that information before we hitched up the wagons and headed south?