I don’t want to alarm everyone, but I’ve got a bit of an emergency on my hands here, folks.

A fashion emergency, that is.

But before you go calling Carson, Kyan, Ted, Thom, and Jai out of their fabulous retirement, you should know that the situation at hand isn’t exactly one that could likely be resolved by a quick montage filled with styling gel and $76 t-shirts, set to the tune of New Attitude by Patti LaBelle in a feeble attempt to cram some culture and class into this writer’s life, no matter how many “He’s been long overdue for a change…”-type quotes they could gather from my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I wish it were that simple because I’d gladly let a gay guy tousle my hair while another introduced me to today’s trendy dance hits and a third rearranged the furniture in my living room if it would only save me my 18th trip around the malls of Central Florida in search of the impossible, but at the same time I think it might be just a tad bit overkill to enlist the unsung talents of the fab five simply to help an extraordinarily picky guy like myself find a new pair of shoes.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – I said shoes.

* pause for dramatic effect, thunder claps, etc, etc… *

Let me tell you, folks – it’s been a rough couple of weeks, and it all started with a simple rip when, upon arriving home, one of my shoes decided that it just didn’t really want to be in the shoe business anymore. I probably should’ve seen it coming – heck, I can’t even remember when I bought that pair of shoes – but then again, it’s not really like any amount of foresight would’ve been able to prevent said shoes from finally biting the big one … aside from just going barefoot instead, of course. But really, then what’s the point of even having shoes if you’re never going to wear them, you know?!

So needless to say, I’m in the market for a new pair of shoes that coincidentally doesn’t have a big hole in the bottom of them, and thus began my moccasin-based misery because if there’s but one thing that I’ve learned over the last three excruciating weeks, it’s that when this horrible experience is all said and done – if we ever get to that point – I’m fairly certain that I won’t miss the excitement one single bit if I never, ever, ever have to go shoe shopping ever again.


And it’s not that I don’t like shopping, period, but more like I don’t like shopping for myself – at least as far as clothing is concerned. I mean, I could spend all day wandering around video game stores and bookstores and those unnamed, almost bankrupt stores that try to sell fancy things like massage chairs and vibrating pillows, even though most people only stop in to hide from their kids or spouses for a minute before returning to sit outside the waiting room in utter agony. All of that kind of stuff is, well, fun, whereas … how do I put it? Errr, shopping for clothes is definitely, ummm, not fun. I can never find anything I like; when I do find something I like, they don’t seem to have any in anything less than three sizes either too big or too small for me; the sales ladies always seem to creep me out – need I go on?!

And shoes, frankly, are even worse, no doubt compounded by the simple fact that I’m a ridiculously picky person when it comes to footwear. I think it’s because, as a guy, I don’t exactly go out shoe shopping just for the heck of it, like a few other genders that come to mind. When a guy goes shopping, it’s typically because we’ve recently experienced one or more levels of shoe damage in our primary pair and we’ve really got no other option than to either find replacements or adopt the lifestyle of Fred Flintstone, which with today’s poor highway maintenance will really do a number on your tootsies in no time! The rest of the family’s not going to put their own feet down to help propel that Flintmobile down to the drive-in for Bronto Burgers and ribs, so new rubber is really the only way to go.

But that said, three weeks into my search for new shoes that’s taken me through roughly 83,000,000 shoe stores of varying sizes, colors, and levels of obnoxious-sales-y-ness, I’m still no closer to finding a new pair to replace old lefty and righty than I was when I started this noble quest. I have managed to pick-up four new games for the Wii and I’ve gained three pounds exclusively thanks to the salted pretzel stands that almost make malls worth enduring, but as for new shoes … bleh.

I wanted to tell this story here in the first days of summer for two reasons. Number 1: to help remind other men that when they find a pair of shoes that they actually do like, not to take that for granted. In fact, buy two or three pairs right then and there because as much as you don’t want to come to terms with it, eventually that first pair will grow thin and it’s then when you’ll be wishing that you had bought an entire crate worth of those brown loafers when you had the chance! I know I am right about two and a half weeks ago…

As for number 2, and this is the more important of today’s two lessons … you’ve gotta help me find a new pair, man – I’m desperate! Every store I’ve been to says that they don’t make anything even close to my good, old reliables anymore, but somebody out there has got to have a connection in the shoe manufacturing business who can hook a brother up with a decent pair of simple, brown loafers in a size 10.5 that don’t look and/or feel completely stupid to my feet! Seriously, I’m willing to do just about anything, except step foot in any more shoe stores to search blindly in vain for myself.

You like humor? I’ll stop by your barbecue and make your friends laugh. Daughter need a date for the prom? I’ll rock that dance floor like it’s 1999, and all you need to do is supply the dance shoes! Wife getting ready to leave you and you’re expecting a really ugly custody battle? Well, honestly there’s not really a whole lot that I can do about that one, but working through this whole shoe crisis with me might help take your mind off of it for a while…

Help me, loyal readers who would hate to be stuck listening to my incessant, barefoot whining all summer long if this tragedy continues … you’re my only hope!