A few weeks ago I realized, as I do every so often, that I am terrible with money. Situational workplace anxiety caused by factors out of my control coupled with the desire to cocoon myself further into solitude via edibles and ignoring my text messages meant that, over the past few months, I have dipped into my savings account so much so that if I were to find myself out of a job soon, I would have to swallow my pride, box up my dignity, and ask one of my thousand sisters for money.
The panic that accompanied this feeling is one that I recognize intimately—financial insecurity usually causes me to buckle down and close up shop, to find the leaks and address them thusly. I invoked a variety of apps that I usually use to work with the amount of money I have and made petite steps towards some sort of future in which I will be some semblance of “fine” if the bottom were to fall out completely. I have done a decent job of not buying the things I’ve desperately wanted to buy—financial security is more important than a new sweater, I guess— but caved at once this weekend when I walked into the Doc Martens store and shoved my tamale-ass feet into these boots, which are the boots I have always wanted but never bought because I am cheap for no real reason other than a deep-seated fear of being unable to support myself.
I have seen the boots in question in the wild, on the feet of various women in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—a neighborhood that I’ve lived in for almost 10 years that is now an outdoor shopping mall. I bought them at the Doc Martens store, which is located directly across from a new Blundstone’s pop-up, which, to me, signaled quite clearly the fact that soon my roommates and I will be forced out of our rent-controlled apartment by my landlord. They are perhaps the new Blundstone’s, a status Chelsea boot made for Australian people who spend time in mud and are now worn by regular people who decidedly do not. I am not intending to herd any cattle nor will I be mucking a stable; Blundstones are boots for weekends “upstate” and Japanese denim tucked into Ragg wool socks. There’s nothing countercultural or particularly revolutionary about them, but as a woman whose ideal evening is sitting inside alone and staring at the crack in the plaster of her bedroom wall until slumber, they represent something akin to youth—a limp gesture at being stylish, I guess, or some attempt at communicating to the outside world that I am not yet ready to surrender to the warm embrace of Eileen Fisher’s shapeless silk cocoons.
Like any responsible consumer, I spent two weeks stalking the boots across the internet, reading reviews from Zappos and the Doc Martens website on my phone late at night, wondering whether or not they were really worth it. I tried the boots on in the morning and put them on hold at the store—a move one step up from window shopping—and did a lap of my neighborhood, fulfilling my usual loop of stores I normally browse online, touching items and finding nothing.
The boots occupied front of mind, not for any particular fashion reason, but perhaps for what they represented: a financially secure woman with money to burn on Doc Marten shitkickers that are also stylish: A boot for day to evening, if the day is sitting at a desk and walking like Frankenstein to the kitchen and then walking to the train in the evening to sit on a couch, staring into a phone until bed. They scratch an itch I’ve had since middle school, when Docs and a floral babydoll dress were the height of cool, and I had to contend with a plastic pair from K-Mart instead. A walk did me no good; the boots lingered and so I bought them, whipping out my credit card in a move that I knew was financially irresponsible. The best part about being an adult, I suppose, is making decisions that feel right at the moment and paying for them later.