White shoes and magic circles

England often seems to have a big problem with them. White shoes. Sneakers. Trainers.

trainersI’ve been wearing them for decades. No, not the same pair, ha ha.

I love to walk and I love to run and I love being able to make that bus, train or tram on account of a last-minute sprint instead of being hampered by my high-heeled footwear. Wearing those white shoes also helps if you have to traverse long corridors and many staircases in university buildings a lot, like I used to do.

My Dutch GP used to compliment me on my sensible shoes, but many English people seem puzzled and amused or even alarmed by it when I wear white shoes. Trainers. Sneakers.

I don’t know the exact background for the strange looks I sometimes get because of my white shoes – something to do with ‘chavs’ ? – but I can’t be the only one who gets them. Those looks. Next time you catch one or dole one out, remember the following, and smile.

A white shoe firm is a top firm in law, management consulting or investment banking. Clifford Chance, as one example, is usually seen as part of the magic circle, but would be called a white shoe law firm much more often if it weren’t English and the description weren’t of American origin.

And next time someone comments on my white shoes? Maybe I will smile, and counter that I work at a white shoe firm.

If the British pay more attention to substance and less to color-coordinating their acccessories, and hire more people on the basis of their capabilities instead of on size of tits and perceived fuckability or the fact that someone is the son or nephew of the Duke of Dipshitz, Britain may soon be in much better shape than it is today and be a better place for everyone.

I usually wore my white sneakers while at work at Clifford Chance. Because Clifford Chance cared more about what I was able to do than about what I was wearing. (Might that be because HR was Dutch?) Yes, I was on a contract. Yes, I quit, but I was overqualified, only there to make some extra money, and they were aware of that. They looked after their legal secretaries pretty well and most of their lawyers were pretty damn good. Some were even better than pretty damn good.