“No, seriously. How much are a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes?” I ask my sister.
“A pair of heels starts at about $800 to $900,” replies Susan.
I pick myself off the floor.
“That’s the cost of a Winston fly rod,” I tell her.
“I have many pairs of Louboutins,” she laughs.
“That’s a lot of Winston fly rods.”
“Nanc, I can’t relate to that at all.”
I’m certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Susan has never heard of R.L.Winston, a hallowed marque in the angling universe. She’s incredulous that I live and breathe in a world where a red sole, the signature of a Louboutin pump, means nothing. And yet, those rarefied shoes make her as happy as a Winston fly rod makes me. Granted, I could only afford the only Winston in my quiver second hand.
Susan carries a French handbag of distinction while I stuff my cash—a wad of ones and fives– in a wallet made from repurposed, leaky waders. My dog Shackleton is named after the explorer; her cats Darren and Samantha, after the couple in the 70s sitcom, Bewitched. Susan likes red soles. I like felt soles. My mother swears on my father’s grave that Susan and I originate from identical broodstock.
Susan knows designer goods like a mycologist knows mushrooms, able to discern good from bad through subtle field markings. She can spot a knock-off Chanel or Louis Vuitton at 100 yards even though she squints at the “E” on the optometrist’s eye chart. While I ascribe these forensic skills to highly developed powers of observation, perhaps she draws her conclusions from faulty universals such as “All Koreans buy fakes.”
I glance at my closet and see wading boots, rock climbing slippers, water sandals, ski touring boots, cycling cleats, and some lightweight hikers with a hollow heel, melted from a campfire. So I have a lot of shoes too, but does technical footwear count? I paid a king’s ransom for my AT ski boots which were still cheaper than the cheapest of Susan’s French kicks. We both like shoes, though we could never walk a mile in each other’s. Of course, I don’t think Louboutins were designed with a mile in mind.