When I was 16, I had an obsession with Alex Drake from Ashes to Ashes. She was just everything I wanted to be smart, sassy, sexy …She got to flirt with Gene Hunt and travel in time. Damn. Cool.
Now because I was 16, I decided that the best way to become said sassy, scintialting woman would be to buy the cowboy boots she wore. Perhaps they would lend my awkward, acne prone and average person some sparkle. Then my neighbourhood crush, who I had obsessed over for three years, two months and 3 days, would finally notice me.
So I asked for them for my birthday. We were on holiday in England, and my Dad and Mum drove around for hours and hours trying to find boots. Hours of internet trawling, pavement crawling, random stranger harassing, and phone calling later, we found a shop.
The boots were beautiful, they were shiny and studded and would have given a hippo a sexy swagger. My parents bought them for me, and I was so happy that I hugged the box all the way back to New Zealand.
The day came. I was going around to my crush’s house for a swimming party. I wore the boots, and I knew this was it.
As I walked in, he came up to me and said “You wear cowboy boots? They’re so tacky.”
I spent that party in the corner cursing my parents, Alex Drake and my stupid, tacky boots. I put them in the cupboard and never wore them again. Every time my Dad asked why I didn’t wear them I made up some excuse. They made my feet hurt…they were broken…they just didn’t go.
It took some years for me to realise that the guy, his opinions, and his attention weren’t worth it. And that I absolutely loved my boots. By this time I was a bit older, and no matter how hard I squashed my feet in, my boots just didn’t fit any more.
My parents still mention them occasionally, and I still don’t know what to say.
This is what I would do over. If I could go back and tell myself that they are brilliant boots. Not just because they look hot. Not just because they suit me. But because they are bought by parents who love me enough to drive all over the country for me. And who have never shouted at me for not wearing them.
I’d also tell her don’t just change because a guy thinks you should. Your own style is powerful and beautiful – because it’s yours.