PRINT March 1992


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

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