The professor wears plaid clogs. She strides into the conference room, bold black and gray swimming around feet sheathed in silver-threaded socks. I tell her I like her style. She tells me that every time she hits a professional milestone, she buys herself shoes. She can stand in her closet and scan the trajectory of her career: her first publication shoes, her first edited volume shoes. The plaid clogs? Tenure-track shoes.
“What’s next?” I ask.
“Full professor, going up next year.”
“Have you scoped out the shoes?”
She shakes her head. “Oh no, that would jinx it.” Then she grins. “Which is a total lie. There are these boots,” she sort of moans. “Boots and a whole new outfit to go with them.”
This concept mystifies me. One friend picks out a fancy purse for every promotion or raise. Coach, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton. Another takes herself on a cruise. I clap along but something rankles. We’re dogs now? We get cookies for every well-timed wiggle?
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