And while we're on the subject of clothing...
When you’re a boy you only need one pair of shoes. Those shoes are sneakers. Ideally, they should be reasonably cheap ones. If they are white, they must immediately be made as filthy as possible because other boys will make fun of your new, white sneakers. They are a uni-purpose pair of shoes. Ideal for wearing to school, running around with friends or going to special events. Having more than one pair of shoes just seems plain silly.
Your mother will disagree with you on this. There will be arguments about shoes. About how you can’t wear them during the winter (disputable) or to weddings (why not?) and that you need to take care of them (whatever).
Eventually you get older and the sneakers rule falls by the wayside. But for much of my life I have operated on the three pairs of shoes rule – one pair of sneakers, one pair of black dress shoes and one pair of winter boots. That’s it. No more were needed. Why would you possibly need more than three pairs of shoes?
And yet I counted the shoes in my porch after returning from St. John’s. Bafflingly, I now own 11 pairs of shoes. Eleven! How did this happen? And why on earth do I need so many? I don't even care much about shoes.
So this is how they breakdown right now and their purpose in my life.
1. Brown Clark dress shoes. For days I wear outfits at work that go better with brown shoes.
2. Black Clark dress shoes. For days I wear outfits at work that go better with black shoes.
3. Black dress shoes. Snazzy dress shoes only to be worn on very formal occasions. Thus far, have not been worn very often. Most recent wedding took place outdoors on a farm, which is not the best place for these kind of shoes.
4. One pair of black Reebok sneakers. Previous used only for the gym. Now relegated to casual wear status because of…
5. Black New Balance sneakers, which apparently are better than the Reeboks for my workouts.
6. Brown Nike sneakers. Comfortable and completely shit-hauled. One day I will come home from work and they will have mysteriously disappeared. Cathy will feign ignorance and glance meaningfully at the dog, who will look cute and baffled, as always.
7. Brown Rockport sandals for walking around when it’s warm, but not to be worn on beaches or near water.
8. Black crocs, because Cathy is a devoted member of the Cult of Crocs and made me buy them. They are also to be used on beaches and near water, unlike the sandals.
9. Brown hikers, for going around the rocky terrain surrounding Iqaluit.
10. Rubbers, which I bought before coming here, since Cathy swore they were indispensable when she lived in Rankin Inlet. I have not yet worn them; however, I’m not allowed to throw them out, as one never knows about such things.
11. BFB – Big Fucking Boots needed to survive the winters up here. Rated for cold to -100C.
I understand the necessity of these shoes. However, I am freaked out to discover that I managed to acquire so many shoes. I'm even more freaked to discover that I apparently own as many shoes as my wife. It’s not like I planned this. It just kind of happened (although there was clearly an escalation in my shoe level once I started seeing Cathy. Hmmmmm....). Suddenly, I have shoes. It’s very odd. I’m really hoping that I’m at my limit. I can’t imagine needing more than 11 pairs. There was a time I only needed one pair of shoes.
(Then again, I'm not like my friend Jaap who collects limited edition sneakers, which I think he often doesn't wear. Even for a collector geek like me I have to admit is a touch odd.)
I used to mock the section in Esquire magazine where they talked about clothing and shoes. I still can’t comprehend dropping $600 on a pair, but I can hardly mock about the number of shoes you need to get by anymore, can I?