I was standing in my designated spot waiting to board a Southwest flight to Vegas, when the man across from me smiled and nodded. “Nice shoes.” He said and tossed a glance at my simple black wedges.


I hesitated for a tick and looked at my big toe poking through the cut-out in my nondescript, security friendly, slide ons and wondered what he admired about my airport kicks. “Thanks.” I said and shrugged. Perhaps every eye sees its own pleasure.


As the gate agent called my group, I lumbered down the jet way and ducked into the cabin. Two steps past the first row, a man looked up from the Wall Street Journal and glanced at the floor. “I like your shoes.” He flashed a cheery smile and returned to the business section.


I maneuvered down the narrow aisle a little bewildered by the fascination with my comfortable clodhoppers. My mind reeled. Now if I was wearing my tall Parisian beauties I might understand the rave reviews. But these plain janes? I started to sense a conspiracy.


When I finally reached an open row, I slid into the middle seat next to a gentleman (I’m using the term loosely) thumbing through Esquire magazine. I pushed the instep of my shoe against my carry on and wedged it beneath the seat. My neighbor said, “Wow, great shoes.”


Thats it. I thought to myself and decided to get to the bottom of shoe brouhaha. I leaned over the armrest, well into his personal space, and asked, “What do you like about them?”


My neighbor stirred awkwardly.


“I mean, my shoes.” I hiked my pants leg up to my knee to make sure he had an unobstructed view.


He stared at the “nothing special” wedges and his cheeks flushed. Avoiding my stare, he quickly looked out window like child who was just caught in a big fat fib.


I stared a hole in the side of his face and waited. He was on the hook.


He rubbed his thumbs over one another and then sheepishly met my glare. He smirked. “I read an article that suggested if you want to speak to a woman and don’t want come off like a cheese ball, compliment her shoes.”


I checked the date on his magazine cover. Two thousand and eleven, right? (Just checking, sometimes things happen that lead me to believe I’m in bed fast asleep.) Are we really that easy? Never mind. I didn’t even want to consider the answer. I started to laugh.


He laughed too.  


I looked at the shit eating grin on his face and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” 


“Tried and tested.” He flipped through his magazine. “I’m talking to you.”


*Note to self:  I guess they really do read the articles.


*Rules of the universe:  Women have Cosmo and The View, so it’s only fair that men have Maxim and Men’s Health to up their social savvy.


*Grandmother’s antic: The game goes on until they take their last breath.


E.L. Chappel author of Risk

Perpetual student of the human condition

aka the Glamorous Wife

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