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An ‘UGG’ly Affair

Reprinted with permission from The Good 5 Cent Cigar. Originally published February 22, 2011

By Nat Tingley, Entertainment Editor, The Good 5 Cent Cigar


Dear Ugg boots,

Hi there. My name is Nat and I go to school at the University of Rhode Island. Being that I am not a female between the ages of 10 and 60, you probably don’t know me. But I know you. Oh yes, Ugg boots, I know you quite well.

I think the first time I met you was 2006, November I think it was. I was a freshman in college and it was my very first semester. Oh, how simple things were back then. Go to class, eat wings, go to a party, eat more wings, food coma, scene. Life was a happy buffalo sauce-fueled routine where shoes didn’t matter. As the weather began to change, so did footwear demands. No longer were sandals and “flippy-floppies” appropriate things in which to walk around, and people sought change.

Us guys, well, we stuck with our cold weather go-to, the work boot. Tough, dependable and long lasting, the work boot was more than a shoe. It was a metaphor representing who we were in comparison to what we could be; a common goal. Also, we’ve always appreciated the extra inch or so a Timberland boot affords us.

The women among us did not have it so easy. Their winter weather footwear options gave them very little to work with and, I am sure, was the cause for much inner turmoil. Cowboy Boots? Calamity Jane. Army Boots? G.I. Jane. Hiking boots? Jane Goodall. We all love these Janes to pieces, but fashionistas they are not. What was a girl to do?

Then, you showed up. Like a whisper on the breeze of an oncoming perfect storm of angst, you were there to offer slipper salvation and footgear freedom. You were a suede leather boot with a faux-fur lining. You came in a variety of non-offensive colors and styles and worked well with pretty much every kind of bottom half–leggings, jeans etc.– that girl culture threw at you. You were hypnotically comfortable. You emerged in a culture that would pretty much buy anything. You even originated from a country that most Americans find universally cool, Australia. It was U-Day, and you were perfect.

But this clog corrective came at a price. Before people knew what hit them–or in my case, tripped me as I tried to maneuver my way to the back of my Bio 101 class–everyone was wearing them. Offices, hospitals, restaurants and especially schools all saw a dramatic influx of the colors chestnut, sand and chocolate. Since girl culture is comprised mostly of an inherit, almost crippling competition with one another, suddenly there were no choices and no individualism. You went from “want to have” to “need to own.”

Five years later, you’ve shown no signs of stopping. In these, the darkest of winter months, you rule the country with an iron foot, constantly forging ahead and leaving nothing but sun shaped footprints and an endless list of fashion faux pas in your wake.

Though you seem to have a choke hold on American footwear for now, I can find comfort in knowing that soon your monstrous moccasin monarchy will meet its end. I see in you, the same hubris that blinded your kin, the Croc, from reading the writing on the walls and from seeing how near the end really is. There are imitators, knock-offs and fakes threatening to loosen your grip on wintertime boot selection.

So enjoy it while it lasts, Ugg, and know that we are a country of doers, innovators and fighters. And we will beat you.

Your days are numbered.



Nat Tingley


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