One of the regulars here posed some questions to me Saturday night about my wearing taps at work. It can be a problem for people because (a) hardly anyone, well NO ONE, puts metal taps on their shoes anymore; and (b) they’re noticeable–for some of us that’s their whole point–besides hearing your own click-click walk which I imagine most of us really really like.
I think overall it is different for women than for guys. I took a sociology class once and here’s an idea that stuck with me: Women are taught by our culture to be the chosen and men to be the choosers. To be chosen, you have to look your best and attract favorable attention. Thus, the click of high heels, often with metal heel tips, is probably the most common and long-lasting shoe-related element for women of getting attention and being chosen. But I generally don’t like the feel or experience of walking in high heels. So for me, taps are a much better option.
I LIKE to make eye contact with people. I like them to smile at me. I even like to say ‘hi’ and have them say ‘hi’ back! I don’t mind if they ask me about my taps. My only real pet peeve involving being noticed with metal taps on my shoes is being asked “Why are you wearing tap (dancing) shoes?” They’re NOT TAP SHOES for God’s sake!
O.K. Here are some of his questions and my answers.
Did you wear them to your [job] interview(s)?
Funny you should ask that. My first job after college was at a pretty large newspaper, and I actually did wear my brown/orange western boots with horseshoe taps to my job interview! I suppose back then I didn’t think much about what other people would think (still don’t, HAHAHA) and those boots were a good complement to what I was wearing that day. AND I actually think they HELPED me get the job! First, because wearing them probably helped my self-confidence–the click-click-click sounds feel (to me) both sexy and authoritative at the same time. Second, because a couple people I interviewed with actually commented that they liked my boots! I’ve probably worn shoes with taps to ALL my job interviews, but that’s the one I most remember.
On your first day at work?
Same answer–I’m sure I wore shoes with taps the first day on every job I’ve had where I’ve worked outside my home–restaurant hostess, insurance office clerk, researcher for a newspaper, and grocery store cashier. On my current job (the one I work at outside of my home), I wore sandals the first day and I remember that because it was a no-no. It’s a food store and their rule is no sandals. So it wasn’t the taps that got me in trouble!
Did you broach your obsession early-on?
You mean do I talk about having taps on my shoes with other people I work with? Only if they ask. It’s not anything I’m ashamed of. But I wouldn’t ever come out and say it was a sexual turn-on or anything. That’s pretty private. Of course, when I met a man on my job, a man I’m still friends with, and he told me HE had a “fetish” for taps, I admitted I liked them that way too. But he went first, and he was a customer, not a co-worker.
How did your co-workers react?
There’s all kinds of reactions, of course, just like with non-co-workers. Out of maybe 100 people I’ve worked with on those jobs (including the work I do at home for a company in New York), probably 85-90 have never said a thing to me about them. Everyone has their own thing; people either don’t notice, or don’t care, or don’t want to ask about someone else’s thing. Four or five women co-workers have asked me about them over the years and one of them told me later that she got taps put on a pair of her shoes (though she never wore them to work, so I just have to take her at her word). The rest were guys who either said they liked hearing me walk around or asked me if I was a tap-dancer. (As I said, that’s the one comment I really don’t like.) I can recall one or two older men, probably at the newspaper or maybe the insurance office, who told me that they had taps on their shoes when they were in school many decades earlier.
Were you such a exemplarily employee that they tolerated your taps?
I really doubt that “toleration” has ever been an issue. Maybe if I worked at a place with really posh wood floors, it would have been a problem. But I never have worked at places like that. Anyway, I didn’t work outside my home when my kids were little, so my work experience maybe isn’t what you were thinking of. No one has ever complained or criticized me for wearing shoes with taps, at least not to my face and not that I’d ever heard.
Did you have occasions where you felt awkward and walked softly?
Sure, when everyone was working quietly at the newspaper or the insurance office, I would try not to bother them with my clickety walk. But I can generally walk lightly when I need to. The only real problem at the grocery store is that the floor tends to be a little slippery. So when I walk down the aisles, I try to walk lightly so as not to slip. So far, so good.
Did you ever get categorized as a certain type of person for wearing them?
I’m sure some of the older women at the newspaper and the insurance office thought I was immature, but then I was! I was under 25 then. And I suppose some of the men might have classified me as a “hottie.” (I like to think so, anyway!) Currently, the way I stand out where I work now is not so much the taps but that I use a fair amount of makeup and color my hair a bright shade of blonde. This is a very laid-back place, and I pretty much stand out as “Ms Glamour.” So I’m pretty sure that when I started there, a lot of the people didn’t know quite what to make of me. Also, when I changed from one store to another one in the same “chain” I had the same “who IS that BLONDE?” experience. But, I’ve been at the new store for a couple years and we’re all pretty cool with one another. Most of my co-workers are a bit younger than me and I’ve got some seniority now. But, really, taps haven’t had anything to do with my status at the store.
Have you had to justify why you like them or how important they are to you?
Only to my stepdad! And my hubby, who tolerates them because he likes the attention I get when he’s with me. But, again, among co-workers it’s a non-issue.
I’m afraid this was a pretty boring Q&A. Maybe it helps you understand who I am, but it probably isn’t going to give a shy guy the balls (figuratively, honest) to click loudly into work one day. Actually, it probably IS harder on a job where you’re already well-defined to other people. It may be a stretch, but maybe if someone really wanted to overcome shyness, he should get a new job or move to a new town so the taps are just part of who he is right from the start. Anyway, just a thought.
This post is too long to add tap photos. Next time.