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LABELED: They're European by Luis Perez

A few years ago in Chicago, I was suffering from a fever and tried to cancel my third date with a prospective long-term girlfriend who was having a going away party. She was going away for a training that would last for three weeks. She had invited her closest friends and family to a popular nightclub, so I knew it was do or die. I thought that having to explain over and over again why I wasn’t there would create some kind of negative association. She knew I was ill and did not mention me staying in bed and feeling better, so I medicated-up and made my way to the nightclub.

I was sweating when I arrived and thought some alcohol would help me make a great first impression to anyone I would be introduced to. Starting to feel better, I finally made it to the front of the line, about to cross the threshold. The only person standing between my future girlfriend and me was the bouncer...who immediately told me my shoes were “wrong.” I knew they were notoriously picky and callous at this establishment, but I really overlooked my footwear. I frantically explained that it was a going away party and I would only be there for a short while anyway. When I told him I had a fever, trying to gain some sympathy, he told me I should have stayed in bed! While I frantically searched my car, considering my options, she sent me what I feared would be the last text from her that evening. "Where are you?" I imagined her meeting a healthier version of me, but not as interesting or level-headed, and considered driving back home to change shoes. But, 30 minutes each way was too much, plus parking time! Everything was closed and so I could not purchase a new pair of shoes. Perhaps I could trade shoes with a homeless person? Anyway, I took a deep breath and a light bulb went off. 10 minutes later I was in! No bribe, no back door sneaking in. How did I do it?

I put my nylon socks on over my sneakers and casually explained to the same bouncer that they were European! Once inside, the excitement of having pulled it off made me feel better. I even danced carelessly and confessed to no one what I had done. As we left, hand-in-hand, I stopped to pull my socks off my shoes and leave them square on the bouncer’s area. Don't ask why I hadn't taken off my socks right when I walked in. I finally explained what had happened to her. It was then I knew we were a good match; she was appreciative of my persistence and charmed by my innovation. And she loves European fashion.

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