SHOES---FOR SEX; SEX---FOR SHOES. WHICH COMES FIRST?!?!
“I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”― steve martin
"I was seventeen at the time. The reason I was inside Cohen’s Department Store, waiting for the shoe department’s only shoe salesman to finish helping a young black girl---was to find shoes for my High School Graduation Ceremony.
It’s almost impossible to forget events surrounding your one and only graduation from high school. But, what I overheard while sitting there was so-blatantly- wrong, there is no way that someone as sexually-wary as me…could have ever forgotten.
Cohen’s shoe department was rectangular in shape and very small. To utilize every inch of space, 12 customers’ chairs were divided into two sections of six chairs each. The chairs were then placed-- back to back--in the center of the department so it was easy to access the floor-to-ceiling shoe boxes lining each wall.
Sitting in the bright yellow chrome chair, I stared at various customers shopping in the men’s department directly in front of me while waiting for Mr. Reisenberg, the Jewish shoe salesman who’d worked there for as long as I could remember. He wasn’t known for his customer service skills but….shoes in my size (8 AAAA)…. were nearly impossible to find and graduation was next week.
Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed that the young black girl was trying on gold high heels sandals. Apparently, she was going to a formal dance. Then I heard Mr. Reisenberg speak in a loud whisper: “Honey, don’t worry about the price. You meet me in the Alley at 9 tonight, in the same place-- like before—and I’ll bring the shoes with me. I want you to give me a little more attention this time…spend more time using your mouth…but I’ll tell you all that when we get together. And, don’t wear anything under your clothes… no panties and no bra... you understand me?” I heard her giggle a little, then whisper “sure”.
In a few minutes, Mr. Reisenberg, looking old, tired, and bored, walked around the row of chairs to ask what I wanted. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t want this no-class sexual predator putting his hands anywhere-near my body, including my feet. So, without saying a words, I stood up.... and walked out of the store.
Still needing shoes, I asked my father to ride with me to Little Rock where there was a much-better selection of shoes in my size. And, until now, I never shared my shoe incident with anyone; I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble.
Growing up, I knew most of the Jewish Families in my hometown because I served as a babysitter for their children. I liked and admired all of them….all except for Doff Kastor, the gay ticket-taker at the Saenger Theatre who tried to shame me for looking older than my years and saying I should be buying an adult ticket---until I had no choice but show him my birth certificate! And Now… I had no respect for Mr. Reisenberg---- who gave shoes to a young black girl in exchange for back-alley sex!"
These days-- I’m all-grown-up and will no-longer keep anyone’s secrets --including my own. For the rest of my life, expect me to hold-firm to a very-strong belief when I write and share: “LET NO DEED GO UNPUBLISHED.”