Footloose and Flummoxed
There's been a row about an Annie Leibovitz photo of a Disney starlet called Miley Cyrus.
This trivia has impinged on my consciousness because yesterday's Guardian had four (four!) articles on the subject, three in G2 and one in the Comment section.
The photo itself shows a young girl clutching a sheet and revealing only the flesh of her back. She looks as though she has just washed her hair. Surely even the Victorians would have considered this to be the softest of porn?
As you would expect, one of the Guardian articles was by Germaine Greer. She must be able to write this stuff in her sleep by now. They often read as though she did write them in her sleep.
Not for the first time, Ms Greer uses the term "fuck-me shoes".
I'm still none the wiser as to what a fuck-me shoe looks like when it's at home. Or when it's pounding the dark city streets.
Can women go into shoe shops and ask to see their range of fuck-me shoes?
"I'm looking for a fuck-me shoe in black, size four. I like these court shoes but I've been wearing them for weeks and I haven't had so much as a grope."
Can men spot a fuck-me shoe at a hundred paces?
Living in a heterosexist culture, I've had to spend a lot of time in the company of leering heterosexual men, listening to their fantasies. But I've never known one to nod in the direction of a woman's footwear and say "Look at those! She's obviously gagging for it!"
Might an innocent woman don a fuck-me shoe inadvertently, leading to embarrassing misunderstandings?
"I'm sorry love, but I only put my hand down your pants because you're wearing those fuck-me shoes."
I'm sorry, readers, but the questions keep on coming.
Is there a male version of the fuck-me shoe?
Would my brown, Oxford brogues imply that I was as horny as a butcher's dog? Looking at them, I find that hard to believe.
What about my black loafers? Well, no. The clue is in the name. Not fucking but loafing.
Actually, I once rounded on someone who called them loafers. In Britain they were traditionally known as 'slip-ons'. But certainly not 'slip-one-ins'.
Today most males, even of my age, wear trainers, unless they're at a wedding or appearing in court. I do not posess any trainers because I am not training for anything. I have a literal turn of mind like that.
But amongst the thousands of varieties of trainers (albeit all looking the same to me) and their complex semiotics, there may well be some with an 'up for it' factor that is recognisable to the cognescenti.
Implicit in the existence of a fuck-me shoe, whatever it looks like, is the existence of its opposite, the 'don't fuck me' shoe.
For women, I suppose these would be the 'sensible shoe', the shoes in which, in John Major's phrase, old maids cycled to Holy Communion on misty mornings.
But in those cases the speech bubble emanating from the shoe might be more one of resignation than proscription: "I've given up on anyone fucking me so I'm going to stop torturing my feet and save a fortune on chiropidist's bills."
For me, the 'don't fuck me' shoe would be the flip-flop. I have a morbid fear of flip-flops. If someone was sex-on-legs but had flip-flops on their feet I would run a mile. Or as far as my Oxford brogues would carry me.
Flip-flops make that awful flapping, clattering sound. They are a half-finished shoe. If you bought a shoe that wouldn't stay on your feet you would normally take it back and ask for a refund. But hanging precariously from your toes is the inexplicable unique selling-point of the flip-flop.
I may well feel the same about espadrilles but will say no more because, to be honest, I'm not sure whether they are a type of shoe or a spicy Mexican dish.
But that's not surprising for a man who doesn't know a fuck-me shoe from a zip-up bootee slipper and who would be as much use at a shoe fetishists' convention as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking party.