TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECRET VICES

Bad-Girl Boots

LAST FALL I TOOK to the streets. My hair still damp, I rushed from my haircutter’s loft in SoHo burning with consumer want, and not a little envy. For as I’d watched her cut my hair it had seemed to me that my haircutter, crowned by pre-Raphaelite ringlets and weighted down by massive Na Na engineer boots, had somehow triumphed over the contradictions of femininity. She was ethereal and earthy, at once beautiful and butch—but only a little butch. In her, the alchemy of desire that has plagued me since adolescence had found its essence. I craved her boots.

The search that afternoon was tedious. In one store after another I soon found that every variation on the engineer boot, the motorcycle boot, the harness boot, was out of stock for my average-American, 71/2-sized feet. Indeed, with a mounting sense of humility, I realized that virtually every other woman passing me by was already purposefully

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1992 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.