I have new boots.
Disclaimer: They are not vegan, which makes me quite sad. There was not a single scrap of a chance I was going to find vegan work boots with steel caps that were safe and in good enough condition for me to go to my new job on Monday though. Yeah, I prefer having my toes not chopped off (I will be working near heavy machinery and heavily loaded trolleys that may run over feet).
I plan to save up my pay and buy some really great custom work boots from Veganwares and give these current ones to the Salvos so somebody else who needs to start a new job and needs safe feet can benefit from my temporary unethical choice.
But even though I regrettably have dead cow on my feet, I am excited about the fact that I own work boots – steel-capped (for kicking holes in patriarchy, too)! And a trusty belt! And big thick work socks. And those singlets that make your tits look great at the same time as shouting these tits are hardworking, capable tits!
I am not pleased about the fact that the only boots I could get were in men’s sizes. The shop girl said that women come in all the time asking for footwear for jobs on factory floors, in sheds, on farms – places where you need something sturdy, reliable and safe. Yet all that is provided are boots for men, which is ridiculous, and quite sexist. I called my father from the change rooms to bitch about this, and he bemusedly said the best recourse was probably hiking boots from a camping store.
In the end I settled on a pair of Jackaroo men’s size sevens. Insoles for arch support. And hard yakka acrylic woolies for my toesies.
I put all my gear on and The Boy got a bit excited. There were the arms around the waist and a big grin and the “heyyyyy, sexy” thing. Awww.
I look like the girls from back home, who drink rum and have a perpetual sunburn and bits of grass in their hair. The girls who swagger along Peel street, having come into town to bank, knowing their secret knowledge and rippling with strength, wit and a ‘don’t fuck with me’ rural fierceness. I’ve spent my whole life running away from this aesthetic, and yet here I am, inhabiting it.
It feels rather nice, actually, though I feel a fraud. ‘Tis all a bit like drag for this femme for now (could I rock redhot red lipstick with these? likely…) but for some reason this attire makes me feel like I can do things.
Now I’m going to go cook a big pot of chili and sing along to Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone and dream of the browning hills and fairy-scatter lights of my hometown. I’m going home this Easter, to camp with my family. I’ll be putting up tents, like I know how, and making fires, and rock hopping through rivers.
In my boots.