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I have failed.

Over the last two years, I have scribbled in this column, like a mad Humbert Humbert mooning over a Lolita, about the delights, the sensual magic and the sheer joys of women in boots. I have waxed poetical about the aural pleasures of boot heels clicking against hard wood. I have slavered over the animal aroma of leather mixing with the industrial smell of polish wafting up to the nostrils. I have solemnly appraised the artistic line that the long leather column of a boot gives to a woman’s legs, accentuating the thighs. I have enunciated the political correctness of the overall image of dominance and control that boots give to a women.

In the past two years, I have written well over twelve thousand words about my love affair with boots.

So you can imagine my distress when I read that some people were talking about how they didn’t understand my obsession with boots.

And I read it in Exotic, the best magazine to come out of Portland, not to mention the magazine where my column appears.

In the June issue, Exotic’s Editrix Viva Las Vegas wrote about having her new New York City black leather boots polished in “Strip City” (pages 32 and 33). The ten photographs by Rex Breathes that chronicle this public boot polishing are without a doubt among the best images ever taken, beating Weston and Cartier-Bresson by a mile.

But in the text of the column itself I read the hard words that broke my heart: “We were discussing Mad Jimmy Doyle’s “Secret Life” here at the office last week. No one could understand his boot fetish.”

I am not angling for a promotion or a raise, or even some worship time with her boots, when I say that Viva Las Vegas is a member of that new breed of Perfect Woman. They are rare, but they are out there. Not only is she strikingly beautiful, not only does she have an open and healthy attitude toward sexuality, but she is brainy, realistic, politically astute, and a very good writer. So I was gratified when she went on to say, “But I could Boots kill me!” She then described in erotic detail her adventures at the shoe shine stand in Kelly’s Olympian.

Maybe I’m a little hypersensitive; maybe I’m thin-skinned, unlike the boots I worship. But I thought that I had really accomplished my mission, which was to use my preference for boots as a means to explore the universality of obsession, to use the fetish as a key to explaining some aspects of human psychology and sexuality.

But thank the Goddess for Viva Las Vegas. She understands. I am writing this in summer, when, as usual, there is a dearth of boots. Sure, I could watch Buffy reruns. Yeah, I could dash out and watch The Avengers, But instead, I read and re-read Viva’s June article. I pour over the pictures of her in those shiny black leather boots, pictures that also capture her cute face and that sultry, knowing gaze, and I pour out private libations in her honor. My copy is bent, worn, splattered. I will have to find a replacement soon.

Yes, I have failed.

Now there is nothing for me to do but to renew my efforts with greater vigilance and exactitude.

Jimmy Doyle is a former New York cop now living in Portland.

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