Choices: Male or Female - some things are universal when it comes to passion and philosophy
When I review my blog stats, "ballet flats for men" is a key phrase that has instigated a great number of hits. You can tell by, "Posts Others have Liked" where my first interview with Brian Davis is often within the top three. This post further explores Brian's passion and life philosophy.
A Second Conversation with Brian Davis about Wearing Ballet Flats
JoyD: Since the interview in September, 2012, this blog has had a significant number of hits searching for “men wearing ballet flats”. Did you have any idea how popular the topic was . . . and is? I’m curious about your reaction to this.
Brian: Today I'm not surprised at all. In 1998 I bought my first computer and the Internet was my first real exposure to other guys around the world with the same feelings about women's shoes. After seeing I wasn't the only person who had these thoughts my desires grew even stronger. As time progressed I realized that my love of women's shoes centered around ultra feminine ballet flats. In our previous post I mentioned that most shoes whether marketed as men's or women's can be made to look like the opposite gender's quite easily. That can NOT be said about ballet flats (or high heels). I think they will always be perceived as feminine footwear.
JoyD: What do you believe is the motivation behind these searches - is it just curiousity or is it a search for support and validation?
Brian: Just guessing, I would think only a few of the hits are from men or women who are curious about this topic. I honestly believe most who visit here are looking for support or validation. I included women in this answer because I think there are women who are dealing with the fact their boyfriends or husbands have these desires.
Those who are curious are most likely young males who are trying to find out who they really are, much like I was many (many) years ago. Or possibly men or women who have seen a male wearing ballet flats and want to know more.
Support and validation is likely more common and is most likely from guys who are VERY happy to find that they are not alone. I re-read our first interview (September, 2012) for both support and validation. I'm sure anyone else who has these "shoe" desires feels the same way when they read that interview. Wearing feminine flats is not something most guys would feel comfortable asking a friend about. Most guys keep these desires behind closed doors in the privacy of their homes. Your previous post is most likely about support and validation. I hope this one becomes just as popular whether it be curiosity, support or validation.
Regardless of what brought them to read that original post I hope it will have fulfilled their expectations and raised their comfort level for either wearing them or accepting other guys/spouses that wear them.
JoyD: When and how did your interest in wearing ballet flats begin?
Brian: My interest in women's shoes started when I was very young. I didn't really understand it; all I knew was I liked the look of women's shoes better than men's. After I got my first job, my desire for women's shoes grew stronger since I was now able to buy my own women's shoes which I did. That led to wanting to wear them in public which I sheepishly started doing . . . I would go about my regular day in a public place while wearing women's shoes but not during busy times of the day and I always had a "back up pair" of men's shoes, just in case I saw someone I knew.
|Brian in green ballet flats. Photo Source: Brian Davis|
Brian: According to my Google searches, I found a source that said the second most common fetish for men was shoes. I'm not sure where ballet flats rank on the fetish list for men. Wearing flats is an everyday choice for me (weather permitting) but I'm not sure if it is a fetish.
JoyD: I have suggested and so has a commenter or two on this topic, that men wearing ballet flats is the beginning of a natural evolution toward becoming the norm in the same way as women with tattoos, men wearing earrings, men with ponytails. How do you feel about this "natural progression" and being an advocate in the early stages?
Brian: I'm glad to be part of it. I now know how all of those people must have felt as their desires were presented to the world and the acceptance level adjusted. As a male that wears ballet flats I hope it becomes an accepted piece of footwear for men. I know there are lots of men who wear flats but as for the acceptance level from society, that varies. The levels of acceptance I have experienced are; "wow that's cool; whatever/who cares; and lastly WTF?" Any other guys that wear flats in public likely agree.
I've had questions like "are you wearing women's flats?" Obviously I was, so my answer was yes. The response was "good for you". That was cool.
I've heard comments between passers-by like "that guy is wearing ballet flats". And responses like "who cares or so what".
Lastly the "WTF"? There have been several occasions were I have received negative reactions. The one that stands out most in my mind was November, 2012 at the Scottsdale Fashion Plaza. I was window shopping and what appeared to be two dads and their kids walked by. I was wearing pink ballet flats so I'm not surprised at this reaction but here's what happened. They spotted me, burst out laughing and had an "iPhone camera frenzy". I knew I was getting digitally photographed but I just let it go. Let them do what they had their minds set on, and then move on. I heard them comparing who got the better pictures of the guy in pink flats as they walked away. Bottom line if you are doing something out of the "norm", you should be prepared for any kind of reaction. Men wearing ballet flats is still not widely accepted but I'm very glad to be part of it.
JoyD: Regarding the photographing and reaction to "doing something out of the norm"; bottom line, their behaviour was disrespectful . . . My calculations tell me that you have been wearing ballet flats for over five years now. Does your family roll their eyes and consider it Brian’s fetish or are they seeing your choice as part of your regular wardrobe?
Brian: Five years is right. About twenty years ago I felt the need to tell the two best friends in my life, my Mom and Dad, that I like to wear women's shoes. Today they see it as my regular wardrobe. So do most of my friends. If they object, they aren't my friends.
JoyD: That is so reassuring. Your feet can obviously fit "women's" shoes well enough for fashion and comfort. Many women tell me that they don't find ballet flats that comfortable. What are your "fit experiences" with ballet flats?
|Brian in Tory Burch black Revas. Photo source: Brian Davis.|
JoyD: I'm happy to hear that we share the same "shoe un-sensibility". Tory Burch flats, then, are a favourite. Tell me about your other favourites.
|Tory Burch Reva flats. Photo Source: Brian Davis|
JoyD: I think a post featuring your favourites would be great. Let's work on that. Besides ballet flats, what shoes make up your footwear closet?
Brian: As you know, I live in Canada. With cold winters and snow, I wear boots. Again I cross the gender lines and buy women's boots so flat knee high women's fashion boots are my winter footwear preference.
JoyD: Does your attitude about wearing what you want, irrespective of “acceptability”, come with experience or personality type?
Brian: You know, the older I get the more I see friends miss out on things in their life due to health reasons. (And most aren't that old.) Experience says you work your whole life to enjoy life after work. I live by the following two phrases: "It's better to have done something and regretted doing it than to regret not doing it"; and second "life is like a coin, you can spend it any way you want but you can only spent it once." I now do things I want to do. Last time I checked I was living my life. Not my life who someone else wanted me to be even though . . . acceptance is huge.
But to answer your question, it's become obvious to me it's my personality and beliefs, which includes quite a bit of stubbornness.
JoyD: It seems rather superficial talking about shoes because in fact it is more than just shoes, isn't it?
Brian: When I started wearing flats in public, I knew or expected that people would react so I'm conscious of others' responses. Since you helped me with my breakthrough, I am still aware of peoples' reactions but really don't care. So now I think that for me at this moment it's about the shoes. I like them. I wear them. I don't worry about changing other peoples' attitudes, but I know that just by wearing them, I might make a difference for someone.