Shoes, Shoes, Shoes: The Autobiography of Alice B. Shoe

Reviewed by Andrew Berardini 
 
warhol-shoes1
 
I decided that being a shoe salesman is a really sexy job.
-Andy Warhol
 
Clothing and its accessories are merely costumes. What role do you want to play? What character would you like for me to see you performing? These things are not our actual selves but just the one we want others to witness.
 
This is what makes the desperate throb of consumer capitalism possible.
 
Buying a thing, you can become the person who owns it, someone different, someone better. A decadent party girl might buy these chunky heels to better disco without diminishing the extra-height such footwear gave her flexed calves and protruding ass. When you put them on, will you be her? Or perhaps they will be purchased by a hip office clerk looking for a little shimmer to brighten the drab interiors of her law firm. Or will they belong to her boss, a public-interest lawyer trying to maintain a sliver of traditional femininity amidst the jeers of former fraternity brothers? Or her husband tired of his hyper-masculine veneer, lounges at home and dreams of these preferred pumps with a bottle of white zinfandel, chilled?
 
When you put these on, for a moment, you can pretend to be any of these people. Or someone else. Anyone else, as you want and as you need.
 
But these are only things, symbols and signifiers. This isn’t a human, it’s just a shoe.
 
What we want is a lover when stripped of all trappings, shoes and clothes and bags and pretensions, still glows with allure, still attracts only with their eyes and caresses only with their body, naked of all things and yet, with fearless pride and unfathomable hunger, still wears our love.
 
Whatever power a consumer item may seem to transfer, the power is always ours.
 
That said, being a shoe salesmen is still a sexy job.
 
______________
 
Andy Warhol, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes: The Autobiography of Alice B. Shoe, (Bullfinch, 1997)

Advertisements