Normal Boots

Lucblue15Someone asked me the other day, as he looked at a pair of boots that I was wearing, “don’t you have any normal boots?”

Hmmm… what did he mean by that?

Rather than get upset or angry, or say something that I might regret later (especially since this guy works where I work and I see him regularly), I thought for a moment and said,

“yep.”

Then I waited. I wanted to see what he might say. Instead, however, he asked another question about something work-related. The topic of boots got dropped, and I let it go.

This situation goes to show many things:

  • When I was in my 40s and younger, I would have come back with some retort that would defend my choice of boots. I would have interpreted this guy’s choice of words, “normal boots,” as his opinion that the boots that I was wearing were abnormal, and by extension, so was I. I have matured a bit. I realize that my boots don’t need defending, and replying with a defensive comment would not accomplish anything worthwhile. So what if he thinks my boots are abnormal. Who cares?
  • Making a remark about boots being “not normal” does not necessarily mean, by extension, that I am also “not normal.” It takes a lot of time and maturity to separate comments about your choice of clothing and footwear not to be a reflection on the person. You can see from this example, when my colleague asked me a work-related question and respected my answer, he did not think that my choice of boots had anything to do with my knowledge and skill to answer his question.
  • This guy’s opinion of “funny” is not the same as my own. Acknowledging a poor attempt at a joke validates the words. Not validating it — by only saying one word — took the wind out of his sails. He had nothing else to say. End-of-unwanted-discussion.
  • Boots are in the eye of the beholder. To me, my boots were “normal.” To him, it was probably their color and design that made them appear to be unusual, or “not normal.” Okay, fine. To each his own.
  • I am so confident in wearing boots that I never give a second thought to how different a pair of boots may be viewed by others who do not wear boots regularly (or at any time.) I often say on this blog, “pull on your boots, stand tall, smile, and walk confidently.” I forget that there are some men who cannot do that. Oh well, their loss.

Overall, wearing boots to work is usually “no big deal.” Few people notice, and those who do seldom say anything. If they say something, they usually pay a compliment. In the very rare case where someone says something like I described in this post, I recommend stepping back and thinking about the surroundings and context. In my situation, this colleague was trying to be funny and said what he said to open a conversation (“small talk,”) but did not realize what he was saying or that his comment could have been interpreted differently than how he meant it — as a conversational joke, not a comment about me, personally, or my boots.

Life is short: pull on your boots, stand tall, smile, and walk confidently. If someone asks if you have “normal boots,” say, “yep.”

2 thoughts on “Normal Boots

  1. I’ve recently started following your blog because I really like your attitude 🙂

    When I was 18 I bought a pair of biker boots and wore them 24/7 for years. I’ve added cowboy boots a couple of years later and by now (just turned 34) I’ve long since stopped caring what people might think of my footwear. Right now I’m rotating various pairs of western boots and 50s style engineer boots, my workplace has no dress code so I’m wearing jeans and western shirts with them pretty much all the time, and while I get the occasional “hey cowboy” remark it’s always meant friendly and as a compliment. (I have to admit to dressing down my most “rodeo style” shirts with the occasional chukka boot, though.)

    So, yeah, life’s too short to not dress like you want to.

  2. Your blue/black/white boots ARE normal. Period. (I love that pair…)

    And so are all of your other pairs.

    Sounds like your coworker has boot-envy. Someone is jealous of your footwear 🙂

    We all express our individuality differently. For you and me, it is our choice of footwear. For other guys, it is their techno-gadgets or power tools. Or their cars. Or watches. Or neckties. Or sn@#$ers.

    I am proud to be an individual. It has taken me 43 years to figure that out. I wish I had figured it out sooner.

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