It’s Like Foot-binding, But For Men
You didn’t think that foot-binding was gone for good, did you? If you did, think again. If there’s a place where foot-binding is going to make a comeback, it’s going to be in Azerbaijan.
It’s time to have a short tutorial on men’s shoes in Azerbaijan: 1) Black 2) Shiny 3) Pointy 4) Pointy. And that’s it. If someone could manage to create the “it” black, shiny, pointy shoe, they would have a market in Azerbaijan and they would be rich. Every Azerbaijani man owns pointy black shoes and every Azerbaijani man wears them everywhere. Even the farmers and shepherds you see walking around, or the group of guys digging ditches, or whatever, are all wearing their shiny black shoes. Luckily, I brought with me my own pair of shiny black shoes and they are quite comfortable. Unfortunately, they are starting to get roughed up from the excessive wear and tear. I’m concerned I’m going to have to find new shiny black shoes. I, however, will not wear the pointy ones. Quite frankly, they make ever guy look rather elvish, with their pointy shoes curling up at the end, and then they also walk a little funny because of the mud one encounters on any given path. I don’t have a huge problem with the pointy shoes, but for me they would be problematic. When those pointy shoes get too big, they stop looking elvish and start looking clownish. While I’m sure no one here would care or notice, my own vanity is going to prevent me from strapping on a pair of black elf (clown) shoes.
So why did I bring up foot-binding? On my way back from Baku this past weekend, ringing in the new year, I sat next to a guy on the bus who was sporting the pointy, shiny, black shoes. And they were tight. You could see his foot bulging out the sides of the shoes, stretching the “leather” and looking really uncomfortable. They narrowed in right where he needed the most girth in his shoes. Now I notice this on almost everyone. If they are going to want to spread this trend, I think they are going to need to do one of two things: 1) Learn how to make pointy shoes that don’t crush one’s feet right at the crucial point of the shoe or 2) resort to foot-binding as a way to continue this painful practice of squeezing one’s feet into shoes too small and narrow. In China, it was a women’s thing to do, but since gender roles are a little different here, anyways, I’m sure the men wouldn’t be too averse to such an arrangement.