By Nina Beyers
You can tell a lot about a person from their shoes.
A pair of battered Doc Marten’s scribbled with red sharpie and studded with spikes. The springy bounce of pristine Nike Airs. The reptilian rubber of Crocs. The unashamed comfortableness of socks and sandals.
And the sound.
The playful clip clop of stilettos. The timid pad of dolly shoes. The steady dragging of beaten up loafers.
I was sitting in Starbucks trying to get into the mind of a 28 year old man who shaves his face with Gillette.
All I could see in my eye line were people’s shoes.
I realised I had to get into the mind of a Vans wearer. So I stroked my imaginary beard and twiddled my pretend moustache.
I remembered to when I was 5 years old. I used to stand on the bath and apply shaving foam to my face then pretend to shave it off with a toothbrush. I’d put the seat up and attempt to wee like a boy. I used to cut the hair off Barbies and play with Action Men.
But I couldn’t think like a man now. I was thinking like a 23 year old female art director. Why doesn’t every man buy a trimmer? Isn’t shaving just like a haircut? What’s with beard combs and balms?
As Stephen R. Covey said, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are — or, as we are conditioned to see it.”.
After Matt came in I realised that ploughing through google searches and browsing Mumsnet isn’t really research. You have to get into the mind of your audience.
So we’ve cornered men and pried into the routine of their moustache maintenance. I’ve asked the girlfriends of bearded boyfriends about the degree of facial rash they experience when kissing. I’ve lathered on Gillette’s shaving foam and snooped into my mate’s bathroom cupboard.
Trawling psychology journals is fascinating. But to do proper research you need to put yourself into someone else’s shoes; albeit a grandma’s slippers in front of Jeremy Kyle or the flashing trainers of a 4 year old.
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