The Confessions of a boot fetishist - A Secret Life - by Jimmy Doyle
Every spring America's hearty, healthy, hypermasculine, and utterly normal men await the publication of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. They relish the images of tall, amazonian supermodels in exotic climates and rare locales, wearing skimpy suits that they don't pay any attention to except insofar as the attire emphasizes the models' superhuman breasts. Indeed, the concept of a swimsuit issue is so appealing that almost every other magazine in the world has one, including the Wine Spectator. A monthly lifestyle publication has even adopted the title Bikini, suggesting that every issue is a swimsuit issue.
"The fall fashion issue of Vogue is to me what SI's swimsuit orgy is the red-blooded American lad."
Well, I am different from most men. The fall fashion issue of Vogue is to me what SI's swimsuit orgy is to the red blooded American lad. I pick up the September Elle the way our fathers used to clutch the new Playboy to their breasts while leaving a magazine shop furtively. I can spend hours pouring over the ads for Prada and Versace the way a real man reads box scores or scrutinizes Automotive Weekly. Of course I am looking for the boot ads.

And this year has made for a particular feast of boot images in the rag trades. It seems that this year boots are in bigger than ever. Now, it has seemed to me that boots have been consistently "in" for the past 20 years. But if it pleases the masters of fashion to emphasize the new lines of footwear they have going, it is not my place to demur, particularly given that I welcome any extra attention that boots receive.

So sitting on my stand now is a tall pile of thick magazines. Among them are three different nationalities of Vogue, including the Russian one, which I just picked up from Rich's cigar shop and which contains feature after feature emphasizing solid, hard boots worn by the models.

I've never really liked haute couture fashion, and so never gravitated to Vogue much. Elle was always my magazine. The models were younger, more real looking. Boots were essential to their lifestyle, as were big Swiss Breitling watches dangling heavily from their wrists. But as Elle has become more haute, Vogue has become more en bas. It's slightly more accessible and also has the best photographers. After all, if you have Christie Turlington in a pair of Prada boots, you want Helmut Newton behind the lens.

Any given fashion magazine around fall fashion time has the most beautiful women in the world wearing the best boots available under the watchful control of the world's greatest photographers. My obsession with fashion magazines also makes me realize that of all the kinds of women whom I could wish to see in boots--movie stars, rock performers, athletes, dancers--number one on the list is the supermodel. They know how to wear clothes. They know how to stay still and let you linger on the leather of a great pair of boots. And models have the freedom to look stern and dominant, a freedom which, for example, happy beaming smiling actresses aren't accorded.

So keep your Playboys and Penthouses and Sports Illustrateds. It's Marie Claire that I'll drag with me to the restroom forX sexual respite.

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