Thursday, December 13, 2007
Purple Shoes (or I Should Be Nicer to Mom, part 2)
In my teen years, Mom had indulged my fetish for rainbows by buying a complete rainbow bed set, and sewing matching curtains for my bedroom. She also indulged my Purple Period by helping me order custom Van's and paying for them.
For twenty years, from 1981 to 2001, I wore something purple every day. Sometimes it was as subtle as a purple watch or purple socks. Other days I was balls-out blatant, such as the Halloween that I dressed up as "Captain Purple," one of Donny Osmond's characters on the "Donny & Marie" show. On what appeared to be non-purple days, I was sure to be wearing purple underwear.
It started out as a silly way to get attention, in junior high, but I was genuinely passionate about the hue. Plus, you know us 'artistic/performer types,' always desperate for attention (some of us, anyway!), and so adamant about expressing our individualism!
In the early 80's, there was not much ready-made purple clothing for young men, other than overpriced Ralph Lauren goods. Before I started dying my Levi's 501's with Rit, having purple sneakers made it easier to keep up my purple streak in its early stages.
We're talking practically last century, here (well, I guess the twentieth was the last . . . ), before the Van's company started supplying their own purple canvas material for shoes. No online shopping and customizing of shoes back then! No sir! Mom and I went to Woolworth's where I was able to buy my own purple fabric, which our local Van's shoe store shipped to the Van's factory to be made into Off the Wall's in my size.
I don't think I realized at the time that my shoes were purple polyester. We had just gotten out of the seventies, so I think it was still acceptable. Sorta.
The first, traditional Off the Walls were navy blue with a bright red saddle. I wanted the purple adaptation of that around my junior year. My little Japanese, Christian mom objected.
"No! Those are an evil woman's colors!"
I think she meant 'prostitute.' I ended up getting purple and chaste-white Van's slip-ons, that year.
I still wear purple, now and then, and I still have a pair of purple shoes.
"When I am an old lady, I shall wear purple." Why wait?