October 5, 2005


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I keep telling myself I am going to get rid of them–both of them, no matter what. They’re dirty, they have holes, they’ve been through seasons, battles with the rain, a yogurt container falling from a high place, encounters with Sharpies, and maybe even dog feces; yet, I still have them, along with every pair I’ve ever had. That’s the beauty of the Converse. Its perfection is in imperfection. But, while each of my pairs has their own story, so do 57 million other people’s. At the Across the Narrows concert event in Staten Island last Saturday featuring The Killers, there were so many Chuck Taylor-wearing concertgoers that it is hard to believe that the company filed for bankrupty in 2001 before being sold to Nike in 2003. So many styles, so many ways to wear, but am I just going along with the crowd or am I unique enough to get singled out by The Killers guitarist for a mid-song ‘Hi?’ (Yes I was, but he couldn’t see my shoes).

So you can tell yourself you’re unique, special, and you’re capable of secretly peeing in your pants in public and then whipping out a bottle of ‘Pee-weiser’ (as one guy did). But how many ways are there that you can actually wear your Chucks? You can paint them, you can stencil them, you can bead them, you can lick them if you really want, but are they not becoming a little bit overdone? It’s not like eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. While there are millions of ways to eat one, nobody knows how you’re eating it unless you’re in public. But hello Nike and Hershey: how about a Reese’s eating, Converse wearing promotion with catch phrase “How do you eat your Reese’s and wear your Convi (converse plural)?”

But enough of the contemplation. While you can rarely go wrong with a pair of Converse, you can go horribly wrong with other physical adornations. And there were aplenty of questionable pieces at the concert Saturday. Which brings me to my main point:

Exhibit A:
While you may believe that wearing a pair of Converse is too typical for you, you can indeed stray too far from ‘conversformity’ and the surface of the Earth with platform sneakers. I briefly remember these from the early 90s–briefly being the key word. I do understand that some people must wear such footwear for medical purposes, but if you are wearing these and not carrying around a doctor’s note, please come back down to the crust of our planet or go home. They may make you taller, but guess what else they do? Make you look stupid. Take them off please.

Exhibit B:
First, let me say that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against people of larger body frames or skinny people at that. But, when you wear your favorite stuffed animal from when you were a kid on your outer calves, people will look at you. People will look at you and say ‘why’? Why must you draw attention to yourself with furry pants? Fur is what belongs on animals. Let’s leave it there.

Exhibit C:
If there is anyway you should not wear Chucks, or any shoes in general, it is when they say this: “Hey look guys, I went shopping this morning to go to this concert and I wanted to look punky-emo-rocker so I bought these ‘wicked’ white Converses. Don’t you like how they are so white, they blind you? They are cleaner and whiter than any kitchen that Martha Stewart has ever been in. Cool right? You like?”

So let’s end this knowing that we can take what everyone else has and make it our own, but when you take something that no one else has, please ask yourself why do you think no one else has it. They may be reasons of you are a fantastic forerunner of trends, or the more likely alternative being that maybe the item in question is just plain ugly.

Archived article by en Rice