Friday, October 22, 2010


I wore my TOMS shoes today.  I usually dress up for teaching, which now means that I wear ballet flats instead of heels.  TOMS aren't very dressy, so I haven't worn them to teach in so far this semester.  But today I liked the idea of wearing bright red shoes with my black leggings and black tunic.  Because the rest of me may be awkward and cumbersome but at least my feet are still small and cute.

If you are not familiar with TOMS, then I'm not sure what planet you're living on, but you can thank me for introducing me to the shoes you should totally know about.  They are cute canvas slip-ons with comfortable soles and their big thing is "one for one" -- for every pair you buy, they donate a pair of shoes to children in need.  Check out their website here.

One of my friends and I recently had a long discussion about how people need to be aware that we cannot shop our way to a better world.  That is, buying Gap's "Red" products and TOMS shoes is not the same as making an active effort to, say, volunteer for Amnesty International, or donate money to the Heifer project, or write letters to politicians in an effort to sway social policy.  But even knowing this, I really like my little red TOMS and I really liked the idea of some kid having a pair of shoes.  So there you have it.

Anyway, TOMS are uniquely shaped and sort of instantly recognizable footwear but they have become ubiquitous enough that I did not expect them to generate any kind of commentary when I slipped them on and headed out the door today.  I particularly would not have guessed that they would generate any kind of comment from boys. 

However, as I heaved myself into a chair before class today, one of my students said, "You're, like, my only professor who would ever wear TOMS."  I wasn't sure what to make of that, so I gave him a quizzical look and he quickly added, "That's a good thing!"

Does it mean I am young and hip?  That I have a social conscience (which I like to appease by shopping online)?  That his other professors wear much more expensive footwear?  I have no idea.

 Cooper ponders this question as well.

After class, I stopped at Penzey's spices on my way home to replenish our supply of Tuscan Sunset and Mural of Flavor (if you haven't tried these, trust me, they are exactly what your steamed vegetables are missing).  As I was walking down the sidewalk, I passed a cute hipster boy.  The black t-shirt, skinny jeans, hair-in-the-eyes and also a beard kind of hipster that I would have wanted to be friends with in college but might have been too intimidated to talk to.  Anyway, he kind of paused as I walked by and then he leaned over to stage-whisper to me, "I like your TOMS!"

Two unexpected and random compliments that kind of made my day.  But then, red shoes always make the day a little brighter.

Even when your stomach feels THIS big compared to your feet.

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