That’s right. I’m a cowboy. Got me some chip-kickers (sorry, they allow me only so much editorial freedom) to prove it. Tony Lamas, baby.
A friend gave me these nice cowboy boots over twenty-five years ago, and until recently, I had worn them maybe twice. I’m a sneaker dude. What I am is a lazy dresser, but sneakers are the preferred shoe of slobs worldwide.
A wedding I attended back in the fall was loosely Western themed, so putting the boots on seemed the appropriate thing to do. Problem is, those boots are size 11; my foot is now a 12. It was a tight fit, but my wife encouraged me to gut it out for the night. After all, I’m a cowboy, right? We laugh at pain.
Wearing those boots for 8 hours that day either stretched them out a bit or shrunk my foot. The boots still don’t fit but feel fine enough that I recently wore them when I accompanied my wife to a dinner with a bunch of her redneck friends.
I fit right in.
Here’s the thing: I’m different when I’m wearing my boots. Maybe I just don’t pay attention, but do I always point my toes out when I walk? In my boots I feel like I’m bow-legged. Like I just got off a horse.
I talk differently, too. Instead of a “nah” to your question, you will get “naw”. “Hey” becomes “howdy” as I greet you. Being raised in the South, I tend to say “ma’am” to women most of the time, regardless of their age, but when I’m wearing boots, it becomes a two-syllable word: ‘may-yum’.
The very act of wearing cowboy boots invokes a certain swagger in your personality that you don’t normally display. It’s how we get popular 5-foot, 2-inch country singers. They may be wearing a t-shirt and a necklace, but put on them boots, a cowboy hat, and give ‘em a git-tar, and they are by-god ranch hands that just drove the herd across Montana right before hopping on stage to sang you this here song.
I get it. ‘Cause I too am a cowboy. So if you see me in the saloon, go ahead, call me out for being an imposter. But be aware, I’ve got a six-shooter. I mean, I’ve had six shooters.
And if you’re wearing flip-flops, I’ll trade you. These boots are killin’ my feet.