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number 6

Ugg Boots
by Hannah Gersen

I am happy that Ugg boots are suffering the backlash of ubiquity, because I hated them from the beginning. When I first saw them, skipping downtown on the bare legs of some appropriately underdressed blonde, I was catapulted back to first grade when each snowy day brought the special humiliation of watching Jessica and Jennifer and Sarah frolic on the playground in pretty pink snowboots, while I tromped through the slush in boots suitable for a lumberjack. Hand-me-downs from sister, my boots were made of dark brown leather, with soles thick as snow tires and bulky felt liners I was supposed to extract and dry on the radiator every time I went inside. They felt as heavy as anvils and their blunt crude shape reminded me of anvils, and similarly archaic objects. Their ugliness on my feet was surpassed only by their ugliness in the coatroom, where pastel boots surrounded them, like the flowers that grew up around our compost pile every summer.

Ugg boots, with their cozy faux fur linings and soft, pliable exterior, look so much like the boots I once coveted that when I see them, my soul is filled with the single-minded resentment of childhood. It is easy to imagine that the little girls whose footwear I once envied have grown up into the kind of young women who revel in the comfort and coyness of Ugg boots. Their insouciance taunts me; I imagine that their adorable boots lighten their souls as well as their step. And watching them today, as they scamper across the street on a blinking red, I again feel like the little girl crouching in the coatroom, lacing up her mammoth boots as fast as she can, embarrassed at the angry stomping sound they make as she runs down the hallway, trying to catch up.

Hannah Gersen is a writer living in New York.

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