Let's Heel It for the Boys
Oct 17, 2011 - by Lester Brathwaite
High heels: they're not just for women, drag queens and the oft-misunderstood transvestite anymore. The New York Times "Style" section, the only news source of any import, chronicles a trend sweeping the nation -- or at least a trend lightly dusting Los Angeles: the gentleman stiletto.
I wish society was more acceptable of men wearing heels, laments Jeff Paice, one of the queens interviewed by the Times, while in a black button down, black trousers and a pair of wedged sandals. Once upon a time, however, men could wear heels without stigma.
In 18th century France, Louis XIV often wore five-inch heels depicting miniature battle scenes. The Sun King decreed that only nobility were allowed to wear heels in red -- how's that for trademark infringement Christian Louboutin -- and that no one could have heels higher than his own. Diva. Then in 1791, following the French Revolution, noted lilliputian Napoleon Bonaparte banned high heels to show equality.
For Paice, though, the options for a pump-lovin' man leaves much to be desired. His cohorts, Coy Barton and Mark Cramer, allegedly 24 and 25, couldn't agree more. "I literally look at girls and think, you have so many options. You have jumpers, you have skirts, you have dresses, you have pants, you have shorts. Boys have pants and shorts. Or suits and a shirt," Barton says, both he and Cramer dressed similarly in grey slacks, white dress shirt and tranny heel. But Barton, in his $115 Steve Maddens and Cramer in his $170 Chinese Laundry booties, don't consider this a form of drag.
To them and to Sean Wagner, the heels are not about creating an illusion, they're about having fun. As far as were concerned, this is just bringing a look to a club which is what you are supposed to do, explains a bearded and bespectacled Wagner, in an eight-inch neon green pair of lace-up ankle boots -- or as he refers to them, my usual hiking shoes. The 6'2" Wagner is also a fan of the height the shoes give him. Ive bought Louis Vuitton. Ive bought Gucci. But a lot of designers dont go high enough for me. I found a company in Arizona that will do 15-inch heels for $3,000. Let's see 6'2" plus 15" equals...a towering tranny inferno.
Also taking the designer high-heeled road is Gregory Alexander, whose six-inch Balenciaga wooden wedges retail for $2000. That, however, is not the only price he's paid for his shoe fetish. Last summer, while trying to jump a fence to get into a party, Alexander broke his ankle and was in a cast for four months. "They told me I should never wear heels again, obviously," he recounts.
But a broken ankle never keeps a lady down and by the time the NYT caught up with him, Alexander was in his Yves Saint Laurent Imperiale platform stiletto ankle boot -- these L.A. gals do love an ankle boot -- skinny black jeans, a shirt and skinny tie and, of course, a motorcycle jacket, Because you gotta keep it butch. [NYT, Random History]