Today, as I was clicking through TV channels, I saw a commercial for the most obscenely useless product of all timea product with less value than any psychic hotline, pure-oxygen stain remover, or Chihuahua sweater; a product that makes me truly fear divine intervention.
Friends, I’m talking about Shoezies.
Right now, I hope each and every one of you is thinking, “Huh? What’s a Shoezie?”
Well, it just breaks my heart to report that Shoezies are little-bitty high-fashion shoes, designed and marketed not to be worn on human feet, or even dog feet, but on little girls’ fingers.
“From the moment they take their first steps,” says Shoezie maker Hasbro, “girls love shoes. Shoezie shoe fashions are the first-ever kids line of collectible, miniature shoes, and give girls the chance to collect finger-fitting versions of the trendiest and funkiest styles inspired by Seventh Avenue, Venice Beach, and the runways in Milan and Paris.”
Right now, there are 36 varieties of Shoezies. They cost about 5 bucks a pop. Each pair comes in its own little cardboard shoebox. If that’s not enough, you can buy the Shoezie display stand for about 15 bucks, so your little darling can display all of her Shoezies at one time. By back-to-school time, another 36 Shoezie styles will curse the planet, giving us six distinct Shoezie product lines. “Each features an exciting array of trendy miniature shoe styles for girls to collect and covet,” says Hasbro.
That’s right, covet: covet teensy little cowhide clogs, covet each of the 72 Shoezie varieties, at 5 bucks eachand don’t forget the two nifty display stands. If your princess’s coveting demands the full rig, that’ll be about $400.
You Shoezie-buying people, listen to me: If you’ve got $5 to buy your child a pair of high-fashion finger shoes, go straight to the Salvation Army and hand over the 5 bucks. They might just be able to buy a real child a real pair of shoes.
Understand, it’s not my nature to tell people what to do with their hard-earned cash. As a general rule, I figure if people want to work all day to buy Schlitz and Luckies or fancy wheel rims or gold-plated faucets, that’s their own business. But when people start buying finger shoes while some kid out there would be mighty proud to have a pair of dime-store flip-flops, that’s my limit. Time to have a Commie moment.
While I’m good and indignant, I’m going to stomp on the idea that girls get obsessed with shoes in toddlerhood. Every girl toddler I’ve ever seen would just as soon run around barefooted. I think girls’ thoughts are invaded by shoe fashions much later, and those thoughts come straight from their mamas.
As an example, I’ll use daughter Jess, who has a healthy appreciation for good-looking, comfortable footwear, but has never been one to stick her foot into every loose shoe in the store, like so many girls do. This pattern came straight from wife Brenda, who has always bought shoes only when she needed them and has never thought of shoes as a make-or-break fashion statement.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that little girls whose mamas dress up like Vegas Elvis tend to live at the high-maintenance end of the fashion rainbow. Those girls have lots of shoes and lots of every-gaudy-thing else.
One thing I know about women’s shoes: Men do not pick them, value them, or particularly notice them. I have actually heard women say that they have twisted-up toes because our patriarchal society has forced them to wear high heels. This is a lie.
To the extent that we men think about woman feet (which is not much), we think about how the feet will look naked. We enjoy well-shaped feet. Above all, we value cute, straight toes. During a romantic interlude, the last thing a man wants is to notice that his partner has gnarly-ass old cypress-knob-looking feet. That’s the kind of thing that sticks in a man’s head for years. You women are just going to have to believe me: If men made your shoe decisions, you’d all be wearing flat shoes with great big toe boxes.
Now, with all that said, if you want to buy Hasbro’s pitch that “a girl can never have enough Shoezies” and contribute to the general downfall of this once great society, get yourself down to your local Toys R Us, Kmart, KB Toys, Wal-Mart, or FAO Schwartz. They’ve got what you want.
I urge you to make a charitable donation instead. If that doesn’t suit you, heck, just send the cash money to me, Walter Jowers, c/o the Nashville Scene. I promise, I will find something better to do with it.
Finally, for ironic grins, check this out: www.hasbro.com/shoezies. There you can find shoezies_themesong.mp3, the Shoezies theme song, which, best I can tell, is entitled, “What You Gonna Do With That?”