Finding Your Sole Mate

This week our men’s fashion expert Nathan reminisces about his first love

They say that you can never know true love until you’ve owned a pet. I beg to differ.

I was 18 when I first fell in love. I saw the object of my desire from a distance, sneaking me flirtatious looks through the gaps in the sale racks in Topshop.

I had no doubt that it was love. There was no other word for it.

Surely this was the irrepressible, immortal feeling for which men wept, for which wars were fought, for which the greatest works of art had been imagined to describe.

I had read of this emotion, this love, since I was a child. I had seen it; in the eyes of elderly couples as they clutched each other tightly in the cold winter streets, in the repressed tears of a father watching his daughter perform her first ballet.

But no book, no painting, no poem I had ever set eyes on could have prepared me for this feeling.

The object of my love was not female. It was not even human. What I had fell in love with would never repay my love, or at least not in the tangible, physical sense that another living thing could. This was because what I had fallen for on that cold December day was a pair of shoes.

Love At First Sight

Well, a pair of boots to be precise. A pair of chocolate brown brogue boots with leather soles and punched detailing on the toe, to be even more precise.

They were cheap, granted, built with the same shoddy quality as most footwear on the High Street, but the lust was still there. I had to have them.

Now as far as I’m aware, we are the only species in the animal kingdom that has developed this strange notion that our feet would be much better off wrapped in the skin of other dead animals.

As it happens, scientists have shown that quite the opposite is the case. However, everyday I thank fate that our prehistoric ancestors fashioned the first shoes out of that unfortunate mammoth’s hide.

I have a catastrophically unhealthy obsession with shoes, one that belies the fact that I do genuinely own a penis. Those gorgeous brogue boots were only the start of a love affair that would persevere for years. I wore those boots to death, re-heeled them and like Christ reincarnated, wore them to death once more.

As the months passed at my new job, I was all too happy to dispose of my disposable income. While a great deal of it did go “on my back” to use that great colloquialism, the majority of it went on my feet.

Brogues, loafers, boat shoes, double-monk straps, I bought them all. And when I put them on, I felt like a knight in shining armour for the post-millennial age, protected from all the problems that the modern age could throw at me.

Whereas psychologists have identified the chest region as the natural falling point for a man’s eye line, I must be the only male to defy my biology by staring at a girl’s pair of shoes when I first see her. In fact, a pair of Italian, handmade suede loafers would easily be enough to make me fall in love with the female in question.

I apologise for the shocking pun in the title of today’s article, but it does make a valid point; finding the right pair of shoes can do wonders for your confidence. So in answer to those pet-owners, sod your Labrador, I’d rather take my tan brogues for a walk any day.