Although it may seem, Dear Breeder, that a lesbian doesn’t care what she gets on her hands—be it brake, thirst-quenching, or bodily fluids—make no mistake, she is extremely particular about what she gets on her feet. As the most overlooked of the sexual minorities, lesbians know there’s one sure-fire way to leave their mark—by which I mean footprint—on the face of a clueless patriarchal society: SHOES.
SWF seeks same for long walks in the mud.
The Birkenstock is classic granola lesbian footwear at its finest—and most time-tested. For eons, these warm leatherettes, wholly lacking in personality, have been a staple in the lesbian shoe department. A pair of Birkenstocks represents an easy, slip-on lesbian identity that all but guarantees an adventurous camping trip, a ride share to Lilith Fair, and a 30-year relationship with a female Unitarian minister named Chris who loves earth tones just as much as you do.
IF THESE SHOES COULD TALK: They would speak in crystal vibrations.
THE BLACK BOOT
On the opposite end of the shoe spectrum, we have another lesbian mainstay: the black boot. This boot means business—lesbian business. If you see a woman wearing this boot, Dear Breeder, you would do well to cast a downward glance at your comparatively wimpy footwear in order to avoid eye contact with someone who is just as likely to kick your husband’s ass as give you one of the flannel shirts off her back. Black boots are the symbol of butch gravitas, and represent roughly 75% of her effort to seduce you. The other 25% of her effort to seduce you consists of her eyebrow piercing, husky intonations, and the oddly placed digression about the horsepower bridled beneath the hood of her muscle car.
IF THESE SHOES COULD TALK: “One of these days this boot is going to walk all over you.”
THE SUPERMARKET SWEEP
Femmes, we need you to get behind a trashy polka-dot, peep-toe, cork heel for next spring. We want Jane Fonda and Minnie Mouse to do a double-take when you walk by at the Piggly Wiggly, and then we want you to put out your Virginia Slim in a huff when the bag boy tells you, “No, ma’am, I’m not authorized to carry your excess cleavage to the car.” Point is: this combo look, like many femme shoes, causes a scene even in the most pedestrian of environs. The femme lesbian simply refuses to wear anything that does not produce instant theater and can make even the tackiest shoe ooze with glamour (and cheap Chardonnay).
IF THESE SHOES COULD TALK: They would say everything Erin Brockovich didn’t have the balls to say.
THE IRONIC REEBOK
Reminiscent of the dolphin (a favorite lesbian saltwater sister spirit), this Reebok Pump interlocks the lesbian color purple with a heavy-handed reference to the mystical lesbian dirt rock, turquoise. With a pump conveniently located on the shoe’s attentive tongue, the lesbian wearer can simultaneously inflate her ankle support, her sense of detached irony, and her status in the hierarchy of cut-throat lesbian hipster legitimacy.
IF THESE SHOES COULD TALK: “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a [retro shoe] and don’t notice it.”
THE CHUNKY HEEL
One cannot discuss lesbian footwear without paying homage to the chunky heel, and the proud bisexuals who wear them. In an odd contradiction, this style screams both “conformity” and “non-conformity” with its ambiguous identity as either corporate sell-out or lesbian bookworm chic. In the Marc Jacobs design shown here, we see an extreme example of the kind of paradox the chunky heel represents: business up front, sarcophagus of Tutankhamun in the back. With its flirtatious mimicry of men’s business attire, and its desperate attempt at clinging to some prepackaged vision of femininity, this sturdy shoe transmits the wearer’s passion for more interesting versions of herself, her willingness to switch between white wine and mixed drinks depending on who’s buying, and her utter dearth of personal conviction.
IF THESE SHOES COULD TALK: “I will reject your rules as soon as you explain them to me.”
If you’ve always thought that lesbians have no sense of style, Dear Breeder, you may be surprised to learn that we are actually obsessed with self-presentation and stylistic nuance. Indeed, it would serve you well to approach shoe shopping with the same discerning eye as your lesbian counterparts. Take time to ruminate on who you truly are, at the deepest core of your complex being, and then see if Payless carries something like that in a ladies’ 7, wide width. Better yet, why tax yourself with difficult questions of identity and belonging? Leave that to the lesbians. After all, we would never dream of judging a straight person based on their footwear until we had walked a mile in his/her unisex Crocs.