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Not that anyone needed it, but there is no better proof of the recent growing confluence between the fetish world and mainstream society than the appearance of the new fashion magazine Shuz .

A boot fetishizing e-mail buddy alerted me to the existence of this magazine, published twice a year–so far–out of Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a big glossy magazine dedicated to footwear, mostly women’s, but with a few irrelevant and tired pages in the back dedicated in a pro forma manner to men’s shoes. And to the chagrin of super-serious journalism critics everywhere, Shuz probably symbolizes the final breaching of the barrier separating advertising from editorial; it’s difficult at times to distinguish this glossy product-oriented magazine from a catalog.

Except in the writing. Though the word fetish doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the issue that I can see, the implication is there. In an introductory column, the editor talks about her love of shoes. The photos come with captions that lovingly capture the beauty of footwear. In it’s profiles of fanatic shoe owners, the writing celebrates obsessive collecting.

And of course there is the boot coverage. I am ecstatic at the fact, affirmed by Shuz, that boots are “in” bigger than ever this year (although Portland isn’t the optimum place for boot sightings–New York City, yes, and Milan, definitely). The first issue, especially the second half, is filled with delicious boot images and information. To me, the most erotic boots are a pair of black Ellen Tracy box-toed boots in an ad on page three. No, no, I take that back, it’s the shiny black high heeled black calf-high Charles David boots on page thirty-one. Wait, no, it’s the Sigerson Morrison go-go boots on page ninety.

Actually, the most erotic thing in the first issue is an article by Gillian Kendall called “Mates for Life : My Lifelong Love Affair with Boots,” and I now love dear, sweet, booted Gillian more than words can say.

She acknowledges that many women don’t favor boots, but says she cannot share that disdain. Ms Kendall reveals that her affair began in childhood when she donned borrowed boots to have her photo taken on a horse. Later, “Trucking down the gray halls of high school in a solid pair of Fryes was at least as much fun as having a boyfriend.” To my delirium she tells us that her mother bought her a new pair of boots every autumn! Boots, she says, “create a provocative outline. Like hats, they assert and attest to the wearer’s confidence.” And she asserts that “ultimately, what makes boots so sexy is their air of androgyny.” And finally, in a statement that sends waves of ecstasy deep within me, Gillian says that she would never wear boots with a short skirt “ except, maybe, to bed.” Gillian, wherever you are, you may very well be the perfect girl.

Which raises the question, just what makes for the perfect boot-wearing girlfriend? What does a boot fetishing boy want a girl to do? I shall dedicate a subsequent column to just that matter.

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



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