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CHEWING THE FAT: Buying shoes is about much more than size

Men and women tend to tackle the chore of buying shoes in a dramatically different way, explains new columnist Rusty Draper
2020-09-27 Rusty Draper crop
Rusty Draper is a new columnist for OrilliaMatters. His column will be published every other Sunday.

Editor's Note: We are pleased to welcome Rusty Draper to the OrilliaMatters team. Many will recognize the name as he was the popular morning host of Orillia's iconic radio station CFOR 'back in the day.' He went on to become a much-loved pastor and has always been known as a story-teller. Every other Sunday, he will do just that for you - tell a story as only he can. Enjoy!

They say that, subconsciously, the first thing that one looks at is your shoes. I don’t know if this is a factual statement or not, nor does it matter, but I do know that shoes play an important part in our overall appearance.

Remember the old joke where they talk about the three stages of a woman?

To the woman who is in her 20s, men will you say, “WOW, you’re looking GREAT!”

To the woman in her 40s the men say, “You’re looking GOOD.”

To the woman over 70, they’ll say, “My, your shoes look comfortable.”


Orillia had an amazing shoe man. Scott Tudhope, who owned a shoe store in our fair city for many years.

There were many reasons why Scott made a fortune in the shoe business. He was as honest as the day is long. He was a man of faith. He truly cared that he gave his customers great value.

He was a kind man, and the world will never know the extent of his generosity. There were many Christmases where seniors in nursing homes, who had little money, would receive a comfortable, well-fit pair of shoes.

Scott was also a shrewd businessman. For many years, Tudhope Shoes would spend much of their advertising budget on CFOR Radio. His commercials were well placed at his request (7:59 a.m.). The 60-second commercial was right before the 8 o'clock news. At nearly all radio stations, this is the time when you would have the most listeners.

I can well remember when Tudhope Shoes would have the station do a remote broadcast live from the store. Sitting there with my armful of records and taped commercials, I got to witness many rather interesting sights, and also accumulated a whole lot of questions. Here’s one such observation.

When a man buys a pair of shoes it a simple process. He tries on the pair, stands up, walks no further than three steps, looks down over his belt buckle at the shoes and says, “I’ll take them.”

A woman, on the other hand, is very selective about her purchase. She will have the shoe attendant slip the shoes on her pretty little feet, she’ll stand up, and, like the men, she walks. But she has a destination in mind for her walk … the mirror.

As she stands there admiring the new shoes, she will twist a little to the left, then reshuffle her feet to the right. If room permits, you will see the lady step back a few feet, pause, then walk forward, but her eyes never leave the mirror.

You can almost bet what will happen next. This woman of fine fashion will make it back to her chair and sit, but only for a second or two. The first thought that rushes through my mind is the obvious. Will she make the purchase? Oh no, not yet.

She will once again go through the same exercise yet another time, or maybe two. She feels like Cinderella.

My conclusion is that women are much pickier than men. But here’s the biggest mystery that continues to baffle me: high heel shoes. Who in their right mind would honestly want to wear these things? 

First, they must be horribly uncomfortable. Two, they must be extremely dangerous as they’re only walking on something similar to a spike. Three, the ladies would be very limited as to where they could go for a stroll. For sure, you’d never see them on a golf course. I truly would love to hear from any woman explain WHY they make such purchases.

In closing, allow me to say this. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Fellas, the next time you’re in a shoe store, notice the huge selection women have to choose from compared to men. You will also find the same ratio in stores that sell eyeglasses. 

Rusty Draper is well-known by many as the long-time morning man at local radio station CFOR, as a pastor and raconteur who never misses an opportunity to chew the fat.


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