In pursuit of boots

DbyDC is no stranger to love. Sure, I’ve had my flings, my one-night-stands and my crushing let-downs, not least where clothes are concerned. But nothing beats the moment when you spot an item that bowls you over, makes you gasp aloud and exclaim (sometimes audibly, in the street) “Ohmygod, that’s THE ONE.”

What this means, for those not familiar with the emotional lexicon of fashion, is that in your mind’s eye you have a picture of how you would ideally like to look this autumn-winter/spring-summer and although this vision may have its roots in the trends around you, more often than not it does not contain specific items you have necessarily seen or know to exist. So, in the absence of any discernible dressmaking/cordwaining/tanning talent, the fun then begins as you try to locate items for sale that will help you piece together this look, this style, this character you want to embody. On the rare occasion that you actually FIND such an item it really briefly feels like you might be able to stop looking, like all your shoe/bag/skirt/jacket needs might finally be met and your entire essence be captured in this one single item. Call off the search because baby, you’ve found it. The deed is done. You can actually STOP SHOPPING.

Of course this is bollocks and within a couple of months you’ll have started eyeing that shirt in Topshop suspecting that it might actually be the perfect expression of your personal idiom and NOT that other shirt you bought two months ago after all.

Regardless, the fashion epiphany is a powerful feeling and one which I recently experienced upon discovering THESE:

Sooty. Size 38. I first spotted them when they came into Kurt Geiger stores back in the spring but of course I didn’t buy them then. Don’t be ridiculous. For starters they were £190. And it was spring. Who needs boots in spring? Actually one year I did buy a pair of boots in the summer sales and it was probably one of the more sensible things I’ve ever done. I’m not sure what that says about me.

So no, I didn’t buy them but I continued to eye them for a further four months until finally I came up with a plan. £190 is a lot of money but I HAD been looking at them for four months so I was definitely serious about them. Also I had a job interview and I knew if I got the job I would need some nice new boots to wear proudly. I also knew if I didn’t get the job I would need some nice new boots to cheer me up. So that was my plan. Get the job – celebratory boots. Don’t get the job – consolatory boots.

I didn’t get the job. But – HURRAH – I still get boots. On the morning of this revelation I have a quick look on the website just to check – yet again – that I love them. They’re out of stock. Hmmm. Worrying. But no matter, off I trot to Kurt Geiger. I’d been in two weeks before in preparation. I’d tried them on, I knew how they fit, that they were comfy, the name and what size I needed. So I bypass the shoe racks and go straight up to the counter.

“I’m after ‘Sooty’ in a 38…” I say.

Out of stock. Ah.

“Oh! Well, do you think you could order them in?”

The guy checks the computer. There is one pair left in the Kurt Geiger warehouse and one pair left in Topshop Oxford Circus. What to do, what to do…

“Can you get to Oxford Circus today?” he asks.

Noooo, I can’t. I’m at work til six thirty and then I have to be home at seven for a Tesco grocery delivery. I don’t tell him this. I don’t want the man in Kurt Geiger to know how secretly unglamourous and grocery-orientated my life is.

He orders them in. But there’s only a 50-50 chance the warehouse will send them. If they’re the last pair in stock there’s a very real chance they might just… not. I don’t ask why but I imagine an evil shoe goblin clutching them to its scaly chest with possessive fervour.

“Are you sure you can’t get to Oxford Circus?”

I think. If I leave work early, say ten to six, I can get to Topshop by half past, dash in, grab my boots, and be back in Brixton in time for Tesco. Ok. Call them. Get them to hold them for me.

Back in the office I email my flatmate and tell her about my near miss. “It’s all ok, they have them at Topshop, I am departing forthwith,” I reassure her.

At ten to six, sure enough, I depart. Twenty minutes later I arrive breathless and sweaty at Topshop and race down to the shoe department.

“Hi, you’ve got my boots, you’ve got my Sooty 38. You’re holding them for me. Kurt Geiger rang you,” I pant.

The two Topshop assistants look at each other in bewilderment.

“Someone came and picked them up,” one says.

WHAT?? YOU SOLD MY BOOTS? MY SOOTY 38? I scream (in my head, fortunately).

“Someone came in, they had your name and they said we were holding them and then they paid in cash.”

WTF??

“It was a man. Did you mention them to your boyfriend? Is it possible he popped down to get them for you as a surprise?”

Some fucking chance.

“Did you tell anyone we were holding them for you?”

Um… my flatmate? Female, about my height, big hair.

“It was a tall bald man.”

Right. So not my flatmate. Or my boyfriend for that matter. There must be some mistake.

“But he had your name, he said ‘hi, I’ve come to pick up the boots,’ he knew,” says the Topshop man.

Now, just to be clear, there was no one in Kurt Geiger at lunch time when I’d had the conversation with the assistant. No one witnessed him call Oxford Circus except me. So at this point I either have a stalker or Topshop man is lying through his teeth. But his story is so good. I really believe him. And anyway, that doesn’t help solve the issue.

“Do they have them in stock anywhere else in the whole world?” I wail desperately.

“Hold on,” he says and disappears into the stock room. I stand, sweating profusely, and glancing at my phone, partly because I’m worrying about Tesco arriving in my absence, partly because I sort of think maybe my flatmate will text me in a second and tell me she sent a tall bald man to pick up my boots – surprise!

This doesn’t happen. But then the assistant comes back: “Good news, they’ve got one pair left at the Regent St store.”

OH MY GOD. YES! I’M OFF. “THANKSFORYOURHELPBYE,” I yelp over my shoulder. Then there’s more running, more panting, more sweating. I arrive at Regent Street.

“Sooty 38,” I bark at the sales girl. She looks at me oddly.

“I’m pretty sure we’re out of stock.”

“No, no, NO! Sooty 38! Topshop rang you. I know you have them.” By now I’m just shouting ‘Sooty 38’ at people like a form of Tourettes syndrome.

She calls down to the stock room. They have them.

“Ah yes,” she says, taking them out of the box. “I remember. One was in the window, I’m afraid, so they’re a bit… not quite the same.”

Not quite the same? They look completely different. One is soft and nubucky, the other is hard and shiny.

“Um… I don’t know…” I whisper.

“I can try a leather conditioner on it, see if that helps. And I can knock 10% off for you.”

Ohhhhh. A leather conditioner won’t help. I know it won’t help. I had a Saturday job in Russell & Bromley between the ages of 16 and 18 and I’ve been this girl, desperately trying to sell a pair of shoddy boots. It never works. But I let her try it anyway while I nervously glance at the time.

It doesn’t help. In fact it makes the shiny boot even worse.

“Oh god…” I say.

I can’t. I can’t take them. I really want to. They’re the last pair in the whole country, practically, but they look like two different boots. I sadly shake my head. I want to walk slowly and forlornly back up Regent St, a light spattering of rain mixing with my gentle tears, like I would in the film version. But it’s now ten to seven. So I run.

(I made it back in time for Tesco, don’t worry. I know that’s the bit you were concerned about.)

The next day I go into the Kurt Geiger near my office and tell them the story. They are baffled but ultimately they don’t give a shit. They re-order the last pair from the warehouse goblin, remind me it’s only a 50-50 chance and relieve my bank account of £190 (they’ll refund it if they don’t arrive).

So now I wait. The course of true love never did run smooth but when you’ve found The One, you know it’s worth holding on. Our time will come. We will be together. I know it.

In the meantime, if anyone sees Sooty 38 for sale ANYWHERE (I even tried eBay), shout me immeeeeeeediately.

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