Oct 28 2011

Fashion Friday: The Best Shoe Store Ever

When we were in Boston earlier this year, Ingrid and I saw this plaque on/ near the Freedom Trail… and just about died laughing.

For those who can’t see the picture, here’s what it says:

APRIL 21, 1855

Ingrid and I had almost exactly the same reactions, almost simultaneously:

1: That must have been some shoe store.

2: Religious experience in a shoe store? I know the feeling!

3: Were they Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos?

(And no, this is not my first post to be categorized under both Atheism and Fashion. And I sincerely hope that it won’t be the last.)


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  1. 1

    There are some Fluevogs that have made me question whether some divine being is creating those works of art in the shoe industry.

  2. 2

    Why would someone undergo a sudden conversion? I’ve obviously heard of them but the Road to Damascus\Holy Shoe Store moment seems to utterly contrived to me. I’ve read about Ricky Gervais’ deconversion where he explains how he sat and thought through the idea of God and within an hour was an unbeliever but to convert to God must be more of a leap? What could someone possibly say to you that would cause you to question everything that you believed so thoroughly as to suddenly embrace the mythical Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour?

    Maybe someone hit him over the head with a stiletto.

    If someone can convert to a religion that quickly then what is to stop them converting again just as quickly? I had a friend who was an English Presbyterian (United Reformed Church) who grew more and more strangely religious (and right wing) during his marital difficulties and divorce. He’d left the Reformed church and was playing with being a Roman Catholic till they didn’t meet his strength of faith. A year later he’d moved to California, shacked up with a photographer and converted to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He grew stranger still and has now cut all ties with his former friends and most of his family. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was a Mormon now.

    If Mr Moody converted wile drooling over a pair of high backed wedges then what was to stop him converting to Islam at the flash of a low strapless sandal, to Judaism at the sight of a moccasin or to the faith of the Hindu when confronted with a humble clog?

    Perhaps I’m simply too fickle a creature for such conversions. I know that I’d change my mind about a religion when presented with a contrary argument so I forever sit on the fence and defer my impending conversion till the next conversation. Or perhaps I am far too stoic a fellow who has decided that no faith is sensible enough and so reject them all. I really can’t decide but sudden conversions seem to me to be such a strange thing that I cannot accept them as anything more than spin doctoring religion. I suppose that makes me cynical.

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Really? Over shoes? And before the invention of super-comfortable orthotic insoles and high-tech cushioning and materials? I don’t believe it!

  4. 4
    Predator Handshake

    It was very disappointing when I figured out the “proper” way to read that sign and now I wish I could go back to the way I originally interpreted it: that DL Moody was already a Christian evangelist and friend of man, but on April 21 while looking at shoes, he BECAME A GOD.

  5. 5

    Could someone please explain to this stereotypical guy what the deal is with shoes? I don’t get it.

  6. 6


    I think a “road to damascus” experience is a moment where pre-existing ideas crystallize into belief, more than one where they spring from the forehead of Zeus. I had my own (before deconverting again much more painfully) at a church camp in the mountains.

    Then I had a really magical moment looking out over a field of thistles. They were green, growing things reclaiming the ragged end of an asphalt road; glowing in the sun, waving in the slight warm breeze of a drowsy late-spring afternoon. This little moment of extreme beauty gelled everything I’d been taught about God the Creator, God Is Love, God Is Everywhere, etc. etc. etc.

    Obviously being at church camp meant I wasn’t exactly unexposed, but up to then I was functionally agnostic as kids are wont to be. For the next several months after I was a True Believer.

  7. 7
    Raging Bee

    He became a god in a shoe store? What should we sacrifice to such a god — meat or leather?

  8. 8
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar


    Probably not a way for someone to explain to you the “deal” because I think it is one of those things where if someone has to explain it, you won’t understand.

    I don’t think it is a guy/gal thing exactly, either. I don’t get what’s up with those ridiculous looking torture devices or why people get so obsessed with them… but I absolutely think I know the feeling that people get about shoes. There’s probably something in your life that you have a similar feeling towards, sports or comic books or cars or fishing where you know way too much on the subject, want to spend all your money on it, buy magazines and look at pictures and moon over them. I’m not that way over shoes, because I categorize them as sneaker, boot, some sort of comfortable leather shoe, and then everything else is “stupid things that people put on their feet because they have a fundamental dislike for themselves.”

    On the other hand, I obsess over guitars are guitar-related accessories. I call out brands and models when I see them on TV. Sometimes I rewind and pause to see what amps people are using. I buy the magazines and get the catalogs and watch the YouTube demos. So I don’t get it about shoes, but maybe I sort of do… and I know better than to mock or criticize too harshly.

  9. 9

    Thanks Nentuaby. That makes more sense to me than a sudden shift in belief. Although I still think it is fickle and strange to have one experience that causes a crystallisation of belief in such a way. I’m wrong about stuff so often that I don’t think I’d ever be able to be that convinced of anything.

  10. 10

    “No, wait! I said don’t throw out your old pair because I thought our cobbler could save your soles! Sir! Sir, wait…”

  11. 11
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    On the other hand, I obsess over guitars are guitar-related accessories. I call out brands and models when I see them on TV. Sometimes I rewind and pause to see what amps people are using. I buy the magazines and get the catalogs and watch the YouTube demos. So I don’t get it about shoes, but maybe I sort of do… and I know better than to mock or criticize too harshly.

    On the other hand (assuming from the nick you’re male, reverse pronouns otherwise) you probably don’t suggest that there’s something objectively wrong with other men who don’t share your fascination with guitars, and don’t sneeringly suggest that any woman who doesn’t share your fascination just doesn’t get it because she’s female, refusing to even contemplate that it might be an irrational personal idiosyncrasy, even if a widely shared one. Which entirely too many shoe nuts are wont to do, in my experience. Personal obsessions are one thing, but they can get really ugly when they’re backed by manipulative, pervasive industries. >.>

  12. 12

    I mean, I’ve felt ecstasy while slipping on a pair of absolutely comfortable, yet still very fashionable and cute heels, but it usually makes me more excited about the creature comforts life has to offer. Looking good and saving my soles? Priceless.

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