It was so nearly the perfect evening. A warm, clear summer night marred only by intoxicated underage tourists and the glowing neon lights of the local dépanneur. My friends and I were attending a social function and we were asked to “dress to impress.” I was nearly out my front door when my well-intentioned, fashionable, and obnoxiously coiffed friend turned to me and asked, “You’re wearing those shoes?”
I did a quick spot-check – could I be wearing sneakers with my dress? It had happened before. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I finally learned that shoes come in various levels of formality. But this was taking it too far. I was wearing perfectly acceptable black flats, clean ones no less. But they were not good enough.
My friend caught on to my puzzled expression. “If you’re going to wear a dress like that, you should really be wearing ‘fuck-me’ shoes,’” she explained matter-of-factly. Ever the fashion newbie, I had to inquire about the term’s meaning. She looked at me with great pity. “It’s the shoes you wear to ensure that you get laid, dear.” Christ. To think that all this time, all I needed were some shoes?
I Urban-Dictionary’d this phenomenon, hoping to gain some insight into its ontology. Apparently, “‘fuck-me’ shoes” are generally stilettos with five- or six-inch heels, worn in order to signal sexual intent to prospective mates.
I question the efficacy of these shoes. Many people swear by them, certain that they were the key to many a one-night stand. I cling to my doubts. Really, attractive buxom redhead with ass hanging out of your pants, honestly, you think it’s the shoes?
I can’t help but look down and wonder. All this time, shoes, what more could you have been doing for me? I have difficulty producing accurate intuitions of very large numbers. Can my shoes do quadratics, too? If all we needed to communicate our preferences were shoes, life would be very different. Which shoes indicate “not tonight, honey, I have a headache?” Birkenstocks?
The concept is utterly ridiculous. Which prospective mates actually say to themselves, “Oh man, did you see that brunette in the corner? The one with the ‘fuck-me’ shoes? Yeah, that’s an invitation right there.” And what are ‘fuck-me’ shoes for men? Should we assume that all men’s shoes are ‘fuck-me’ shoes?
Aside from being ridiculous, I find the whole concept of ‘fuck-me’ shoes a little offensive. A woman is attractive when she is as immobile as possible? When on top of the styled hair, on top of the heavy makeup, on top of the revealing clothing, she is now also expected to balance atop six-inch plastic corkscrews? And if a girl chooses to wear those foot contraptions, should that really be taken to entail any kind of sexual intent? In a culture wrought with rampant sexual objectification, it seems more than ridiculous to ascribe consent to a pair of shoes, if only proverbially. ‘Fuck-me’ shoes? Fuck you, shoes.
Follow Riva’s exploits in this space every week from now on. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.