I was seriously hungover when I made a rather sad shoe mistake.
The hangover was the result of downing way too many beers the night before with a bunch of guys I had never met. We had officially entered the latter-half of our three-week Contiki trip and, in the brief moments I could peer through my blinding headache, I could see that Germany was glorious and fun.
It was also brimming with people who had fantastic posture. Everywhere I looked, Germans were bouncing around in homely leather shoes, the totally-laid-back-and-cool cousin of my ramshackled Havaiana thongs.
Our tour guide was walking us through Berlin when she shuffled us into a glass box. The sunlight was too goddamn bright for my levels of dehydration and sleep-deprivation.
“Alright gang, you can get Birkenstocks here for a discount,” she called out to the room as I shoved my sunglasses on and hallucinated about the sweet embrace of death.
“Let me tell you now, you will not find discounted Birks back home. They are the cheapest right here.”
Kanye told Kim big sunnies were out of fashion. Via email. Post continues after audio.
My girlfriends jumped in the queue, black Birkenstocks in tow, debit cards poised while I retched in a nearby bush. I don’t need Birkenstocks, I told myself. Who needs Birkenstocks? Anyway, my friends won’t wear them the second we leave Europe and its leather-laden fashion. I’m positively sure of it. They are wasting their money.
That was 2014. My girlfriends still wear their stupidly adorable Birkenstocks today.
At every brunch, lunch and dinner date I have looked down at their impossibly immaculate Birkenstocks and felt infuriated. I have cycled through an impossible number of flats since that… unflattering… bush incident, and I bet almost every crappy pair I have purchased have been fresh hell for my back and legs.
And yet, just by sliding them on, Birkenstocks make my friends look like chic lifestyle bloggers on a quest to find the city’s best turmeric chai lattes and recyclable homewares. Tada! Much fashun. Style. Comfort.
Such is the power of a fancy European sandal.