Want to Impress a Lady? Clean Your Shoes

by Alexandra Owens

photo: Jeff Harrisphoto: Jeff Harris Eyes, teeth, hands--all popular things to admire (and judge) when we meet a potential romantic interest. But a recent survey conducted by Allen Edmonds tapped into a more superficial point of attraction that I can relate to: shoes. Interviews with over 1,000 women and men revealed that "Women are more likely to say shoes reflect their date's (or husband's) fashion sense (64 percent for women v. 34 percent for men), personality (52 percent for women v. 24 percent of men), financial position (36 percent for women v. 18 percent for men) and attention to detail (54 percent for women v. 12 percent for men)." So basically, we spend a lot of time on a date looking at the floor.

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The study might sound ridiculous and arbitrary, but as someone who gets a little warm around a well-shined pair of Ferragamos, let me say that the first thing I notice on a guy is his shoes. And it's not because I care about his fashion sense or finances. Regardless of price tag, shoes indicate how well (or not) he takes care of things. Shoes suffer a lot of abuse, so they require a lot of maintenance. Think of it as a more expensive, grown-up version of the classic Home Ec project where you have to carry around an egg to prove you'd be a good parent and generally a responsible person. You didn't want a partner who cracked his egg when he passed out on it after a pizza binge. So why would you want to be with someone who scuffs up their shoes, treats them like they're disposable, and lets dried gum stick to them?

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The good news? According to the same survey, men believe shoes are 30 percent (76 percent to 46 percent) more important in making a good impression than wearing a suit. To which I say, both are--but at least we're getting somewhere.

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