Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes

“You need some decent shoes,” she said in that tone of voice I’ve learned not to argue with.

OLDSHOES No use pointing out that the wingtips I’d been wearing for months had only some superficial nicks. And who would notice that one sole was melted from standing atop an eight-burner industrial stovetop to wash down the stainless-steel hood above it.

“And get some shirts too while you’re at it,” she went on. “I’m going to burn those nasty pants.” Not very subtle advice. Not the dress-for-success tips a man who’s moving up in the world wants to hear. After all, I’m working in a position that requires me to wear a tie and worry over the creases of my suit trousers.

I’ll admit that the kitchen dress code was easy to comply with: t-shirts, white sox, black pants and black shoes. The shoes were a trifle irksome, though. One pair admittedly looked a little worse for wear — and leaked, especially when you stood at an industrial dishwasher for eight hours or when you waded around in a pool of duck fat that you had just helped to spill. (I threw the socks away before I even entered the house, and the shoes never smelled, or as you can see, looked the same. I had to polish them every day before going to work.)

Why spring for an expensive pair of chef shoes, I wondered. Instead I switched to my venerable dress wingtips, witnesses to any number of funerals and weddings. In a way it was a gesture of optimism. After all, I might not get my money’s worth out of those pricey chef shoes. And that might just be the case since I’m once again in front of a keyboard rather than a tilt skillet or a steam jacket. But do I really need a fancy pair of shoes to write press releases and content for Quaintance-Weaver’s Web site? Marketing involves burnishing an image, not shiny shoes, I told myself. Putting heads in beds and butts in bistros is not about footwear, it’s about strategy.

What’s more, I’ve never done this sort of thing before, and I might be back washing dishes and firing green beans, and then why would I need shiny new oxfords?


But as soon as I wedged my feet into my new shoes and laced them up, I knew that Anne was right. If the shoe fits, wear it. And my new pair of shoes fits me to a T.


6 Responses to “Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes”

  1. JoAnn Says:

    well, here you go sitting on your ass again. (sorry it has been a long day) You’ll be terrific, what you don’t know you will invent and your new employer will be better for it. Mazel tov.

  2. Richard Gilbert Says:

    Ahhhhh, nice. Love the low key ramble, David, in those new shoes. Which don’t hold a candle to my new Skeen water sandals, I might add, but I bet your so-called water shoes, whatever they be, are even uglier than my Skeens and a whole lot cheaper!

  3. A nifty little essay « NARRATIVE Says:

    […] posted a delightful concise essay, “Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes,” on his blog, My Pie Hole. It’s a low-key ramble. A […]

  4. Beth W. Says:

    The Q-W web site is beautiful. I wish we had a Lucky 32, Print Works or Green Valley Grill in Pensacola or on Pensacola Beach.

    My husband was a corporate executive and a bank chairman (before they lost their good name) before he retired and hung up all his board room suits. Now, he has several blue, one-pocket, cool max t-shirts that have (as he claims) been “worn to perfection.” They have begun to look like threadbare versions of a velvet burnout painting. I told him that when I see an image of the Virgin Mary in the fuzzed-up lint that passes for material, I’m putting those shirts on Ebay!

    Nice read.

    p.s. I’m blogging again. . .

  5. Beth W Says:

    I Tweeted the story. I Face-Booked the story. I’m just saying. . . Fawn wrote a fine story about you, and Mr. Quaintance looks good, too!

  6. Alice Baiey Says:

    Thank mom for me. At first I couldn’t believe you were wearing those shoes to work, but however shiny they seemed also to look … mushier each day, and it became less and less strange.

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