Thursday, July 7, 2011

One, two Buckle my shoe...

It was January 16th, 1999. I had a fist-full of money and a full tank of gas (that cost me 10.00 btw) and I was on a mission. I had tossed the idea around in my head for a while, but now I knew what I had to do. I started up my Escort and hit the gas. I drove the 32 miles to the nearest Buckle. I parked out front, stuffed the cash in my pocket, and walked in the front door.

I wasn't prepared for what was about to happen.

I'd shopped at Maurices next-door since it opened. The Buckle had always been out of my price range, but I hadn't minded. I liked the clothes I found at Maurices. The sales ladies were helpful and made me feel comfortable.

As soon as I heard the bell ding when I opened the Buckle door I knew I was in another world. A toned, tan college-age guy greeted me with his sparkling smile.

"Hey there!" he said, as if he knew me already. I looked over my shoulder, unsure if he was talking to me.

"Hey," I said quietly.

Before I knew it he was holding me hostage in a dressing room tossing me Lucky jeans and shirts that were two sizes too small for my tall, lanky frame. All the while assuring me that color was *perfect* with my eyes, or that shirt flattered my body type. He flashed his pearly whites at me and nodded his head. I was more uncomfortable than I'd ever been, and wasn't sure how I was going to explain to him that I didnt' want any of it.

Quickly I checked the price on the jeans. Maybe they *did* make my butt look amazing. Nope. $95.00 was way out of my price range. I had 160.00 cash and I was going to need almost every penny.

"What do you want me to take to the register?" he pushed. I hated to tell him no, but I had no choice financially if I was going to complete my mission.

"Um, I don't think any of that is going to work for me today. I actually came in to look at shoes," I confessed, wrinkling up my nose.

"OK, cool. They're right over here. Let me know if you need a certain size," he said. I was afraid he'd follow me and try to take my shoes off for me, but he made his way back to the counter.

I saw them immediately. I'd coveted them for more than a month, and it was finally my time. I searched for an 8 in the style I liked and slipped them off the shelf. I was already familiar with the European sizes and didn't need a minute to try them on. Heck I'd been test-driving them for two-weeks.

I guess that's what started my obsession. For some reason I borrowed my friend's brother's Dr. Martens to wear to a basketball game one night. It was like test-driving a Porsche. A bad move on my part.

I never really bought into that whole idea that people liked you for your clothes. Boy was I wrong. I hadn't been donning the Docs for fifteen minutes when Mister Right-Now plopped down beside me.

"Nice Docs," he said sincerely.

"Thanks," I smiled back.

"They look good on ya." He clicked his tongue and moved over with his buddies. And I was sold.

He LIKED my shoes! They looked GOOD on me! I HAD to have those shoes. I had to.

I pulled the whole "I forgot" gig with the shoes for two weeks to buy me some time, and as soon as my birthday rolled around I returned them and made plans to purchase my own.

I never got the whole "new shoe" effect. No one noticed them because I'd been wearing them for two weeks. I couldn't brag about them, because I'd played the borrowed set as my own. I just went back to wearing them. Every day. I loved them like I've never loved a pair of shoes.

Twelve years later, I still have them. They're still in excellent shape, and they are the one pair of shoes I can fully justify spending that kind of money on.

If only they were still in style for someone other than construction workers....