Who even polishes their shoes anymore anyway?
Well, quite a few people actually…my Daddy being one of them. He proudly tells me that he has had his favourite pair of brogues for thirty five long years..Thirty Five Years?! Whaaaat?! Apparently the key to their longevity is in the lost art of Shining Shoes..
Look at this picture of ‘the tools of the trade’ we have the cloths, the brushes, the polish, and sundry other sprays and potions, all in the Little Red Basket that Dad has had as long as I can remember..ha ha, marvellous!!
It was my Dad who taught me how to polish my own shoes..I was about ten years old and he had bought me my own little kit, sans Red Basket, before I went for the first time to boarding school in the U.K..
It has its own ritual, this polishing and buffing business, almost a science behind the magical transformation of dirty old scruffy shoes (which mine definitely were) into a thing of beauty..First you dip the Polish On Brush into that stinky goo (not too thickly) and scrubble the polish into all the nooks and crannies of the leather..then you use the Polish Off Brush to bring up the shine, back and forth, back and forth, front and around and back and around. Never forget that yellow cloth to finish the deed and which sustains the gleam..
Dad says the appearance of your footwear ‘maketh the man’ and according to my ex Navy father, ‘you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their shoes’
Oh dear. ( as I tuck my feet away)
In this throw away world where we now live, I think we should bring back, or a least revisit the Old Ways to some extent..so I’ve been asking random strangers of a certain age, whether they still shine their shoes.. The majority of people said a resounding No!! Especially those Military Lot who had to thoroughly spit and polish daily to pass inspection of their fearsome and exacting superiors.. they all wear (smart) throw away shoes.
I get it. Yes I do, I had my own exacting superiors in the form of black~ habitted Nuns to impress, as I scrubbed those brown little Mary Janes on a Sunday night. That’s why I wear FlipFlops now, and tatty Biker Boots in the cold Canadian winters. My rebellious heart whispers loudly, ‘No Spitting and Polishing for me’.
Until now that is.
Those Biker Boots may need a little loving on, although I have just met THE nicest Shoe Shiner Man in the airport today who showed me his Ritual of the Polish. I promised him my patronage, next time around.