It was called Aldo, only I think it was called ALDO. Hard to be sure, didn’t see it in lowercase anywhere else. I wondered all the company memos looked like the boss was screaming the name of the company.
It looked like Escher’s shoe closet in there. The decor was minimalist, without being minimal. This meant that it was cluttered with piles of box shapes, hollowed out; floor to ceiling prisms, and white shelves. This meshed poorly with the concept that shoes are made out of colored and dyed leather, and that would destroy the white surface ambiance.
In whole, the neat rows, and careful displays of shoes, couldn’t throw off the impression that this was a hoarders collection. I kept looking around expecting to find a dead cat. Like every women’s shoe section I had been in so far, it was organized by blindfolding a monkey and letting it throw darts at a board, only less precisely. And while I knew that shoes were traditionally mirrored across the body, I still wanted to see two of the shoe I was looking for on the shelf. I knew it was redundant, it just niggled at my mind.
“If Autumn is buying Aisling boots, why am I buying her something?” Sarah asked.
“Because you promised me, and I promised her,” Autumn told her. “That’s exactly what a stuck up Griffyndor would say.”
“I promised to buy you something I could take off of you, I didn’t mean your shoes.”
“I’m buying Aisling shoes. You’re buying me something else.”
Sarah did a Sarah-flounce, and then Autumn whispered in her ear and she perked up, “Okay then.”
Like a group of gathering hunter/gatherers, our group had spread out to cover more ground. I found myself working my way toward a back corner, perhaps looking for somewhere to hide. Or looking for boots that Autumn could buy me that I would wear. I had bought a dress that day. A dress that would look great with boots. Boots that should have had heels, but wouldn’t because I’d already bought a dress that day, and my god how far could I unravel in just four weeks.
The summer sandals had all been washed away and the fall/winter collection was in. And there were a lot of boots. And there were many boots without heels. They just weren’t… me. I didn’t have a sense of my own fashion. Didn’t know quite what I wanted to say with my clothes. But I didn’t want to say, “Don’t mind me. I’m just an Eskimo going to work.” Which is what these boots said.
Or at least what the ones without heels said.
Again, I didn’t speak the language of fashion, but from what I could understand, all of the boots with heels said, “fuck me.” Perhaps that was the guy brain that I was trying so hard to hold onto. The part of me that understood that women wore clothes to look good at sex.
I picked up a pair of suede ankle boots with a two inch heel. Put them down again because I wasn’t actually interested in them. Picked up another pair, and as struck by a thought: I was being a woman and I was being shopping for clothes, and my primary consideration so far had not been looking good for anyone.
That was certainly on the list, perhaps one beneath the top. Instead at the top was: Do I like the way I look.
In retrospect it was a profoundly obvious thought to have. Somehow as a guy I had assumed that women dressed the way they did, solely to have an effect on me. Is every guy that conceited, or was it just me?
Bree came over and took me out of my mind by picking up shoes and telling me what she thought of them.
“Hey,” I asked her, “do you ever think about how guys think about you in shoes like that?”
She looked at the shoes in her hand, fall wedges with strappy bits, and turned them over. “Well yeah. Mostly I think, ‘fuck everyone, I look hot.’”
I processed this as Autumn came over with something behind her back, held out two pairs of knee highs to me and said, “You choose. Samuela,” she revealed one, “or Marye Black?”
Standing on the edge of Paradigm Valley, I took the plunge, “I’ll try ‘em both on.”
Boot pair one was slate suede. There was a strap (serving no purpose) around the ankle with a very cool buckle on it. The strap went through the buckle and was tied around itself.
Boot pair two was form fitting. The heel, or at least where your physical heel would go inside the boot, was shaped so that it looked like a nude heel. The sole of the boot was separate so the thing looked like you were wearing a big leather sock under sandals.
They both had a zipper up the back. They both had chunky, three inch heels.
“Fuck everyone, I look hot.” I got a size six from the shop attendant, who was just thrilled to have five teenaged girls running amok in her shop. I slipped off both CATs, put on the protective foot things and slipped on Boot 1. There were some hmmm noises, mostly from myself. I zipped it up and put my heel to the side so that I could see them. Autumn handed me the other half of the pair, and I put it on too.
Then both of my feet were confined in women’s boots, the way I had felt boxed in only a few minutes before. But I wasn’t confined anymore. I could wear heels if I wanted to, and after looking at those boots, I wanted to.
I put both my legs out in front of me, and felt the weird way that the floor was too far away from the heels of my feet. The way my feet were pulled around and I couldn’t do anything about it. My arches were stretched, and wiggling my toes felt weird.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to stand up wearing them. Instead I put it off, looking around and whispering to the others, “I’m not sure we’re supposed to try on the shoes here. I think that’s far too plebeian for a store like this.”
Bree snorted, “I don’t buy shit I don’t know will fit me. Fuck the norms.”
Can I stall any longer? Probably not. Time to figure this out Aisling. I put my right foot in front of me, flat, and the left one I put to the side on its toe. I held out a hand and Autumn hauled me to my feet without even an exhalation of breath.
I took a practice step, and then another, and then a strut. I was wearing the boyfriend jeans, but I’d still had to roll them up to get the boots on. I held onto Rachel’s shoulder and balanced on one leg to roll one down. Then Bree’s shoulder to roll down the other. Sarah was watching it all through the screen of her phone.
I went to the mirror, and turned my feet around so I could see them from every angle. This meant copping some poses I would have killed myself rather than cop this morning. Later that afternoon I might die of shame, after I smashed Sarah’s cell phone. But in the moment? Fuck everyone, I look hot.
I came back and picked up boot two, and swapped them out. Getting up was easier. Walking was the same amount of hard. I was used to rolling my stride across my whole foot. Instead my heel hit the floor and snapped my foot flat. It meant shorter strides. A rabid feminist might say that it was because men psychologically wanted to hobble women. But while she said that my ass was going to look a lot hotter in these boots than hers would in her Birkenstock’s.
I turned my back to the mirror and looked over my shoulder. Yeah my butt looked great. And there was something weird about the way my ankles looked. But like, good weird. Exotic weird. Make you look again weird.
“Autumn, you’re getting me these ones.”
Autumn wanted Sarah to buy her that thing she said, but they couldn’t for some reason. It was rounding six o’clock, and everyone was tired out from all the shopping.
I carried my bags with the shoe box sticking out, back to Rachel’s car, where we loaded everything into the tiny trunk. This time I got the middle, and alternated between putting my head on Bree’s shoulder and Autumn’s.
“Don’t tell any of the guys,” Bree said, “but I get my braces off tomorrow.”
“Will it hurt?”
“Are you gonna eat an apple first?”
“Your mouth will be sore.”
“Whose dick are you gonna suck first?” That was from me.
Bree turned and put her hand in mine, “I know this is all kinda new to you, and you like Regular Dave… I was gonna just do them all, but we can do him together if you want?”
“What about us?” Rachel asked grinning and glaring at Bree from the rear view mirror.
“What about you bitches?” Bree made a jacking off motion with her hands. It scanned in the moment, but out of context the signal wouldn’t have made any sense. “I was hetero first, and I haven’t had a dick between my lips in two and a half years.” Her face looked like it was going to split in two, “So if I have to break Susan’s fucking legs to make it happen, we’re having some serious Loft-time tomorrow.”
The prospect was enticing, arousing, and terrifying all at the same time. “What game did you want to play?” I asked Bree.
“Fuck games. I’m getting down to business.”
As we got out of Rachel’s car and Bree switched to the front, Sarah turned to Autumn, “Do you think you can give me a ride home too?
We grabbed McDonald's on the way to Sarah’s house. Then we sat in the play area and intimidated little children, and adults, by being teenagers in public.
The conversation wasn’t about Pokemon at all.
It was about Bree.
Specifically it was about what a slut Bree was. And how she had begged her parents for money to get her nipples pierced, and they had said no, so Bree had begged the Crew. All the guys had pitched for her piercings, and they had all gone with Bree to the parlor, where Bree’s big sister had posed as Bree’s mom and signed the form. Then Regular Dave had got with Bree’s big sister, because Regular Dave was a slut.
“A rake,” I put in.
“A what?” Sarah said.
“A male slut is a rake. Short for rakehell”
“Ohhhh, I like that,” Sarah mulled it over for a second.
“It doesn’t have the same negative kind of sound though,” Autumn said.
“You could go with the British unisex ‘slag.’”
“That’s much better,” Sarah said.
Then they were off again. Regular Dave thought he was great in the sack, but he wasn’t. He did a thing with his tongue when he kissed that he thought was hot and wasn’t. And Wee David and Big Davey weren’t any better. And Bree was such a bitch, anyway. She thought she was all that, but she wasn’t.
“I kinda like Bree,” I said to the table. Loser Ashley would have let them talk about her it meant keeping friends. But Cool Aisling was gonna fuck both these girls, and it didn’t matter what they thought. Wait. Which gender did that thought come from?
“Oh, I love Bree!” The two of them said, more or less in unison.
“Aisling,” Autumn turned to me with a French fry held like a cigarette in her fingers. “We all love each other. Give us a chance to act like women here.”
“Oh.” I guess that makes sense. “Okay, sorry.”
Because anyway Bree was such a bitch…
I still hadn’t made it all the way through my cheeseburger when I held it in my hands like a cross and said, “What does… What does Regular Dave like?”
Autumn shrugged, “Same thing every guy likes. Suck his dick right and he’ll follow you ‘round like a puppy.”
“How do I—what’s that like?”
Sarah looked at me and took a sip of her Coke like “Girl?” But she said, “You ain’t never seen porn before?”
“Well yeah, I have, but…”
“She’s a lesbian, remember?” Autumn told Sarah. “She probably watches, like, all girl stuff.”
“No I have I’m just…”
“You wondering how the straight girls get by?”
Sarah shrugged, “I don’t really like the way he tastes.”
“Really?” Autumn asked her, “Oh, I love it. Regular dicks are just like, meh. But uncircumcised, is like, like they’re actually genitals, you know?”
Sarah shrugged again, “It just tastes so different.”
“Well I was gay first, so it’s probably better for me. Like, an uncut cock doesn’t taste anything like pussy, but they’re in the same venn.”
And at that time, for no reason at all other than it was the topic conversation, I resolved that—given the chance—I could be on board with sucking the right guy’s cock.
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