Tuesday, July 22, 2008


An ice-breaker, the opener, or a pickup line, regardless of the terminology used the introductory line has always been a source of mystery and intrigue. Love them or hate them, it is guaranteed you have uttered or heard them!

Those who have delivered a line with a shoe observation will know, it is undoubtedly a surefire way to get a woman’s attention and if executed with charismatic poise, it’s powerful stuff.

Having been on the receiving end of some pickup tsunamis, I am wondering if the shoe opener is given equitable gravity by the male population.

“Those shoes look so good, they’re about to turn up missing”. What kind of man says something like that? I wasn’t sure if he was about to roll me for them or if he was suggesting I let him try them on? Quite clearly, this sounded far better in his head than it did when it was verbalized.

Women will find a strong, confident (clearly heterosexual) man who can open with the line ‘love the Louboutins’, significantly impressive. While the glossy red sole is typically a dead giveaway, it takes a skilled eye to decipher a Louboutin from its mimics. Even if he gets it wrong, he’s made the effort, the shoe bond is made and the suitor is instantaneously at the forefront of his competitors.

Do men not understand that a woman will dress from the feet up without a second thought and be so delighted with their outfit of choice that it can dictate how the entire evening will materialize? How a woman feels when she dresses and the type of evening she plans on having can from time to time, be illustrated by her shoe of choice. The average girl is not going to slide on a pair of red satin stilettos to go home early, solo.

Men of the world listen up, a woman’s shoe can tell you far more than you give it credit for. If her shoe de jour isn’t a result of her emotions, it most certainly can guide them.

To verify this declaration take a woman wearing flats, pop her into a pair of sassy strappy sandals and watch that walk become a strut before your very eyes. If she’s wearing ballet flats to meet you for drinks, she’s telling you she is comfortable, girly and cute. If she turns up wearing a slick pair of patent platform peeps that dwarf most of whom are six feet tall, she seeking calculated domination and most certainly means business.

So we are clear this doesn’t apply to all women, just shoe gals. It takes a shoe enthusiast to understand the power of the Choo. If you are dealing with a shoe gal the number one rule to live by is; compliment the shoes, even if you don’t know your Hush Puppies from your Manolos, shoe praise will always be well received.

In the name of research, I embark on an excursion to a local hip bar. Popping on a delectable pair of patent platform Jimmy Choos a grey knit dress and a trench, I head off to the crowded establishment. Not wanting to make it too easy for them, my selection is a beige and black patent sandal. My shoes say groomed and confident with a dash of sexy.

I am with a girlfriend so I am not flying solo on this mission, which means to make an approach can be more treacherous, but I am determined to deploy the strong from the weak.

First cab off the rank is a slightly graying forty-five year old gent who announces, within the first two minutes I might add, that he has more money than God. When I question where he had the occasion to glance at God’s P&L, he gives me a look that accuses me of having a smart mouth, surveys the length of my body and says, ‘hot shoes’. In an attempt to reconcile his financial broadcast, I contemplate whether or not he has decided I like nice shoes and quite clearly am out seeking someone to buy them for me? In a gesture of peace, I offer to buy him a drink in our next round and am met with a venomous ‘Jeez, a woman with shoes like that, that wants to buy a drink for a bloke… that’s a first’. Handing him another Corona, we politely disembark from angry man and abscond to seek a more secure conversationalist.

The second contestant is groovy guy. A well put together guy in his mid thirties who opens with ‘So you’re obviously not from here’. Puzzled at his erroneous observation, I enquire as to why he would make such a prĂ©cis? ‘Women who live here just don’t dress like that’, he tells me. Clearly, he’s never met any of my friends.

Moving on to a new corner of the bar we are approached by Mr Smooth. Mr Smooth is thirty-one, attractive and fit, in a not-too-over-the-top way. One beam from his immaculately whitened teeth and it’s clear he is well rehearsed in such circumstances. He opens with, ‘You’re killing me with those shoes.’

Impressive. Really impressive. I envisage that countless women have been awed by Mr Smooth and I imagine that I am but another impending conquest. I would have been far more impressed had an associate attempting to get some wing-man action not informed me a mere five minutes earlier that Mr Smooth was getting married next Friday. See, what wing-man desires is the knowledge that Mr Smooth already has. The shoe compliment is gold.

So as not to confuse things it is important to note that there is such a thing as going too far with the shoe compliment and transitioning to creepy. Any peculiar admission about a foot fetish you may have is really, well, disturbing. Most women don’t want to know, under any circumstance, what you would do to her feet should she not be standing in the bar she is currently standing in. This is not smooth; it is disconcerting and is more likely to have a woman reaching into her handbag for a can of mace than it is her business card.

I have had the unfortunate occasion to appreciate what happens when foot fetishist meets shoe addict and it is all kinds of wrong!

As a treat, I am intermittently contacted by men who have read my columns and gleefully bound onto my website to further their research. Once on and faced with the gift of my email address, an insatiable desire to correspond and tell me all their dirty little foot fetish secrets apparently overwhelms them.

On the tame end of the spectrum was the thirty-nine year old man who read my column in Melbourne and emailed me to ask if I could send him a picture of my own foot in the pair of strappy gold bejeweled Jimmy Choos I was referring to herewith. To validate his request, he attached the scanned hardcopy version of the column in the publication, presumably in the event I forgot which specimens I was referring to?

Higher on the Richter scale was the twenty-five year old male who posted me a ten page diatribe outlining his shoe and foot loves, why he loves them and how he loves them… And yes, in this instance, ‘how’ is being used as a noun.

Not smooth. Not sexy. Just plain creepy.

A well executed shoe remark should have a touch of sexy or a dollop of humour. Don’t attempt to get too witty and distort the delivery, because what sounded first-rate internally may not come out as you anticipated and your good intentions may get lost in translation. There is a fine line between a woman throwing her head back with laughter and a woman tilting her head back to look for security.

Having scanned numerous male chat rooms and forums on the topic I can unquestionably advise not to carry out your research here. It is in these places I discovered such gems as; ‘Nice shoes, wanna screw?’ And ‘Nice shoes, but they’d look better on my floor’. Your buddies may find these comical but there is every chance serving this up to any self respecting woman may get you slapped!

The best place for you to pursue a line of investigation is with your female friends. Ask them for their thoughts and go from there. I can tell you emphatically that the shoe accolade is worth its weight in gold.

So Gentlemen, if you haven’t tried it give it a shot, what do you have to lose?

Tracey Gillinder

© Tracey Gillinder, 2008