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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Column: Mario Lugo

The first person to coin the expression “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” must’ve had some serious man troubles. When it comes to men, this phrase goes hand-in-hand better than Paris and Nicole (circa “The Simple Life”).

Recently, my roommate has been in the middle of a tussle with her Mr. Right. She’s been frustrated, crying, raiding the fridge for all the junk food she can find, cursing enough to make a sailor cringe and raiding some more.

Being the attentive friend I am, I try to console her – during commercial breaks from “The Hills”, that is. I suggest talking to him; she doesn’t know what she’d say. I tell her to ignore it; she continues dwelling. I call him a douche; she agrees.

Then the light bulb flashes on. Why didn’t I think of this before? The one thing that always makes me feel better when I’m blue, the one thing that uplifts my spirits just as much as it lessens my checking account: “Let’s go shopping!”

OK, so maybe I only suggested the trip because I thirsted for a pair of suede boots, but at least I had my roommate’s dilemma somewhere in mind. A few hours and a few hundred dollars spent at the mall would do her some good. But then I got to thinking about both our current anxieties.

Why do my roommate’s troubles with her man and my troubles with footwear seem nearly identical to me? Is finding the perfect man similar to a search for the perfect pair of shoes? I couldn’t help but wonder: Are men like shoes?

There are so many types of shoes, and although men (whether straight, gay, bisexual, questioning or bicurious-when-intoxicated) are all the same and tend to think with the wrong head, they come in all shapes, sizes and sentiments – just like shoes. Let me explain:

Some guys are like that neglected pair of sneakers in the corner of your closet. Perhaps they were a gift from a clueless family member or are no longer in style. Whatever the reason, this pair of shoes goes unworn, collecting dust. But these shoes are desperate for a night out with you; they want to be yours, if only just for a day.

There’s a guy like this. You know, the one who longs for your attention, vies for a night out with you and fantasizes about being yours. You might not realize you’re neglecting him, but he’s there. He could be a friend who sighs at every whiff of your scent or just an admirer from afar. Whether you intend to ignore him or not, this guy is just like those unworn sneakers of yours: unhappy because he doesn’t get the chance to be closer to you.

Some guys are like your everyday shoes: reliable, comforting and loyal. You wear these shoes often because you trust them. When nothing else is going right, at least you know your feet are in good soles. This could very well be your favorite pair because you are confident that these shoes won’t let you down.

This kind of guy could be a good friend of yours, your best guy friend. The one you depend on, trust and love hanging out with. You feel comfortable around him. You can let your inhibitions go and be yourself because – just like those trusty kicks of yours – it’s quite unlikely that this guy will disappoint you.

And a few guys are like that perfect pair of shoes. They’re the shoes you’d kill for, the flawless pair that would make your life more complete if only they were on your feet. Sometimes these shoes are the most difficult to find. Then when you do find them, for some reason or another, they’re almost always unattainable. Maybe they’re out of your budget range or don’t come in your size. Still, you tell yourself that someway, somehow, you’ll get those shoes.

Of course you know what kind of guy corresponds with this shoe type. He’s your prince charming, the one who sweeps you off your feet. You daydream about his smile and doodle his name along the edges of your notes. But he’s unattainable. Maybe he’s taken by some other bitch or you’re too scared to make a move. Or maybe you see yourself as out of his league.

One word: don’t. Just like that perfect pair of shoes, you can and will get him. Tell yourself that someday, somehow, you’ll get your prince – you deserve him.

So is there a lesson in all of this? Of course there is: The next time you find yourself in the middle of some fella drama, just forget the man and shop for shoes! If Romeo isn’t outside your balcony just yet, you can always start a search for that perfect pair of Manolos every girl needs.

MARIO LUGO has his prince charming but is still on the prowl for those suede boots. E-mail him at mlugo@ucdavis.edu if you know where he could get his hands on a pair.

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