It was a hot Saturday night a few weeks ago, and I was standing outside a restaurant waiting to go in.
The place was crowded and a party was in the process of winding down. Outside, downtown was strangely quiet. A wisp of a cool breeze started to rise, only to die in the tight drum of heat.
Then, from further up Park Avenue, I heard a familiar clicking sound coming toward me. A pair of boots. I looked quickly, as I usually do, without even thinking, without preparing myself or planning. Then I saw HER.
She was coming toward me, walking on the curb side of the sidewalk. Despite the heat, she was wearing a skintight black vinyl outfit, with long sleeves and what amounted to attached shorts. Her legs were bare but for an exquisitely tight pair of patent leather boots that looked applied by brush, with a chunk heel that made the sound I love.
The inevitable fragmentation of memory is always replaced with desire and imagination, but I recall her as beautiful. She was tallish, 5 7, and had long brown hair. She had the face of a country girl, slightly broad, slightly freckled, slightly masculine in the way that cute girls often are. She was serene, almost expressionless, verging on angry, in the manner of so many beautiful women. She passed by and I tried to make eye contact. No dice. I watched her continue down the street for several blocks, until the clicking faded, and wondered where the hell she could be going on a night like this in a getup like that. I wanted to follow her.
One of the problems with that was the guy she was with -- a lout in the requisite t-shirt, jeans and bad haircut. He, too, was unable to take his eyes off her, and he walked with the jerkiness of barely suppressed excitement, his body movements revealing how much he wanted the night, just beginning for them, to be over now, so he could tear at that vinyl, caress those legs.
Well, I didnt follow her. But if I had, I would have asked her several questions.
Such as: What were you thinking when you bought those clothes? Were you just trying to be sexy for some guy? Or were you simply obeying current fashions?
Are you in the clothing industry? Are you a fashion model? Is that what gives you the courage to dress up like that tonight?
You obviously dont care about the heat. What were you thinking as you eased that vinyl jump suit over your body? Did you feel a rush of energy? Did you feel a confident sexuality? Did you look at your body in the mirror and feel pleased?
And those boots. Where did you get them? How much did they cost? What is the label? Do you favor boots as footwear? How many more pairs of boots do you have at home? Are you aware of the impact that boots have on a man? What do you think of these boots? Do you like their feel? Look? Smell? What were you thinking as you zipped them up before going out tonight? Did you like the pressure against your legs, the sound of the zipper, the clunk of the heel against your bedroom floor? Were you plotting to humble men?
Then, finished with my queries, and if I had gained the superhuman amount of courage necessary, I would have asked her if she cared to step out with me.
Then I would have asked her if she minded if I worshiped at her boots.
Maybe next time.
(Jimmy Doyle is a former New York cop now living in Portland.)