Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

That ‘70s Shoe

I am a child of the ‘70s, coming of age in that era. Children of the ’70s will claim they are strong individualists and free thinkers. Of course, this is a lie - a blatant lie. We are conformists that will follow the crowd no matter how stupid the crowd may be. (By the way, how’s that huge, empty SUV running?)

If the children of the ’70s aren’t conformists, how do you explain the awful music and ridiculous attire of that decade? There is absolutely no excuse, none, for the culture of that period. When it ended, it ended. Nothing from the ‘70s decade ever comes back into fashion. If it tries to, all rational people, who are not children of the ’70s, kill the trend quickly.

I was reminded of this recently when my friend Mark posted a picture of us on Facebook from a recent book signing. I am quite a bit taller than he, and he wrote: Yep...tall guy. Shoulda seen him in those platform shoes back in the ’70s.

Of course, he meant it as a joke. Why would a tall guy need to wear platform shoes?  No, that would be absurd.

For some unknown reason, platform shoes were tremendously popular in the ‘70s. My theory is that some short guy started wearing them to be taller – a very legitimate reason. But then they became a fad, and everyone was wearing them to look “cool”. I feel sorry for that first short guy. He had a great idea, but in the end, he was stood as short as ever, even in those  shoes.

However, the shoes do look hideous. Of course, so did every popular fashion fad of the ‘70s. Here’s a pic of what we are talking about, for all you youngin’s or those with fading memories. 

But platform shoes were an essential part of that ‘70s uniform. You needed to dress cool, to be considered cool. And since all the cute girls – easily identified by their 70s garb - were all so cool, you had no chance of attracting their attention if you didn’t proudly sport the uniform. To get the cool chicks, you had to give at least the appearance of being cool yourself. To be cool, you had to wear cool clothes. It didn’t matter if these were the most repugnant clothes ever worn by civilized man. You paid top dollar for them and strutted around with pride.

I can image one of those animal nature shows, with the nerdy guy, excitingly announcing in a British accent:

Here we see a ‘70s male all decked out in his bell-bottomed trousers, wide-lapel silk shirt, polyester jacket -- trying to get the attention of the ‘70s female. Ohhh, ohhh, now look at him strut in his platform shoes! This is extraordinary!

Or if Beavis and Butthead had lived in the 70s …

Uh huh huh huh, Butthead, we are now tallboys in our platform shoes. We are like giants - uh huh huh huh - with giant wieners. The chicks can’t resist our massive height. We are tall and cool. Uh huh huh huh. We’re gonna score!

But back to Mark’s joke about me wearing platforms. This is funny because there is no reason in the world, no reason, for someone standing almost 6’4” to wear shoes that made them a few inches taller. But this was the ‘70s, and to get the cool chicks, well …… My size 13 platforms were similar to the photo, two-tone, dark/light brown. Very stylish, I might add.

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever purchased in my life. It was so irrational. It’s like a woman with natural 40 DD’s getting silicone injections. It’s called too much of a good thing.

Ironically, I bought the shoes to fit in, but they caused me not to fit in. When I wore the platforms, I couldn’t fit in under a lot of doorways and stairwells. It’s a good thing I had lots of hair back then because I was bumping my head into everything, sometimes more than once a day. One time, I hit my head hard enough to see stars. Not only did I look silly in my platforms, I was knocking myself silly. And it is hard to look cool when you are so clumsy. Chicks don’t dig clumsy.

I think it is appropriate at this point to dispel any notions you might have that these head-banging incidents may have resulted in permanent brain damage. Well, I was deranged before I bought the shoes, and I wouldn’t be able to tell if I was more deranged after, would I? Because I would be too deranged to know. However, when people ask me if I use to be a headbanger, I can literally answer, “Yes”.

At my height, the shoes were wobbly and hard to walk in. My legs hurt after wearing them for hours because the unusual shape stretched out my calves. I remember one time when it was raining, that I ran almost a quarter mile in these things. I must have looked like Herman Munster trying to catch the bus. Driving in platforms was also dangerous because it reduced your control of the brake and gas pedals.

But wearing platforms enabled me to do that ‘70s strut thing and achieve ‘70s coolness. I can’t remember the last time I wore my platforms. I probably didn’t discard them until the early ‘80s. I do sometimes remember them – right after I bang my head on something.    



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