the most beautiful thing in the world
“Do you know what the most beautiful thing in the world is, Charlie? A shoe!
The most beautiful thing in the world is a shoe.
Shoes can protect a man’s journey, but only the heart can choose the path.
And so, a toast to our own Charlie –
May you never fail to point your shoes back home.
These shoes are symbols of our family’s history,
these shoes will carry me to where I want to be.”
As this theme repeated through Kinky Boots, I cried more tears than I usually cry at silly, sentimental musicals. Not as many tears as Les Mis of course, but almost as many as when I first heard “For Good” in Wicked.
Leave it to a Cyndi Lauper musical to flawlessly connect an audience with the likes of Charlie, the confused son of British shoemaking family, and his unlikely friend Lola, a drag queen in need of some kinky boots capable of withstanding a manly stature.
As they bond over the elusive art of a well-made pair of shoes, Lola and Charlie unpack the weight of their family histories and come to terms with their identities. The perfect mix of camp and truth, it’s no wonder the show won so many Tonys in 2013.
Many shoes are comfortable. They do their job. Protect the arguably most important body parts we have. They keep us going where we need to go.
Some shoes are beautiful. Artfully made, they capture your attention through their colors, their height, their unique designs.
And a few shoes – if they’re good shoes – are powerful. They give you the perfect amount of boost to make your legs, torso, and ass feel strong and confident. They make the right sound on the floor when you walk – not too loud, but enough to make a statement.
But the combination of comfort, beauty, AND power, is so special, so rare, that you cannot put a price on it. So impossible to find, that when you do, you’re willing to spend an obscene amount of money on them (say, a couple of hundred dollars), and you don’t miss that money at all. You are now in possession of one of humanity’s greatest sartorial accomplishments – a well-made, well-fitting, gorgeous pair of shoes – and they will take you anywhere you’ve dreamed of going.
This, my friends, is certainly one of the most beautiful things in the world.
Photos by Emily Owart