I blame it on my Italian heritage, which trickled down to me throughout my life thanks to my grandfather Metallo; of course, since I grew up in the South, he was simply “Paw Paw”. I’ve inherited an instinct to incorporate just a little bit of peculiar character in purchased items. It’s a careful balance of finding items that are slightly flashy and clashing, yet still classy, but not trashy. (Bet you can’t say that phrase five times real fast…)
In this American generation, the idea of a man caring much about his shoes is often considered to be related to gay or metrosexual culture. But I don’t subscribe to that mentality. In fact, I believe an important part of being a man is how he dresses; and as everyone should know, his shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe, since they ultimately set the tone for his clothing.
My mindset is more of an old-school class American idea; yet it is still a staple concept of any movie or TV show portraying Italian culture. From The Godfather movies to The Sopranos, the way an Italian man dresses is well planned out. Never an accident. Italians are not slobs.
Being that my wife and I both are one quarter Italian, our son Jack will also be one quarter Italian as well. That means he will not get by with the typical American guy’s shoe collection: a pair of black dress shoes, a brown pair of boots, a pair of running shoes, and a pair of flip flops. No, not my son.
Jack will be like me. I own no less than 15 pairs of shoes, some of which are at least 10 years old, yet you would never know it because I take such good care of them. And while Jack won’t be born for another three months, he already has two pairs of essential “flashy, clashing, and classy yet not trashy” shoes awaiting him.
Last week as my wife and I were registering at Target, we found some shoes on clearance that not only meet the criteria, but also are essentially identical to shoes I already own. A pair of Kelly green sneakers (6-9 months, in time for Summer) and a pair of white leather loafers (12-18 months, just in time for Christmas). Like father, like son.
*Jack is still the size of a papaya; no major change in fruit size this week.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: