Unknown Artist, French, 19th Century
Dorian Grey. The man that Oscar Wilde brought to life with his hedonistic machinations in 1890 – or so the general public thought. The man that has lived in legend, fable, and table talk for centuries. The man that embodies sensuality and indulgence to the extreme. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have found him.
Wilde wrote that Dorian’s original portrait was a full-length painting, finally destroyed as the debaucherous man came to his senses and took his own life. This made a fitting ending for the Victorian sensibilities of that time, allowing the writer to retain some semblance of not being too disastrously corrupting to the public. The ultimate playboy had to meet a just end. But – what if he didn’t? What if he is still around? Or, another person came along to pick up his mantel and let go of his soul?
Cinderella knows that one shoe can change your life. Marilyn Monroe claimed the right pair of shoes could help someone conquer the world. Dr. Suess throws his wit at us, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
Our feet move us forward, our shoes keep them safe. They are a reflection of our style, make us feel a certain way - a purposeful adornment that almost all of us use. Funnily enough, they can also tell us a lot about ourselves, where we are going, where we’ve been. “It’s only in the world of objects that we have time and space,” reminds the great T.S. Eliot.
Shoes are a good metaphor for, at the risk of sounding deliciously cheesy, moving through the journey of our lives. I challenge everyone to go through the exercise of choosing three shoes from their important moments. It’s a silly exercise, something that could even be a fun topic for a dinner party, or drinking night out. Though, you might be surprised at what comes out and up . . .