I just got a letter from one of our male friends who wonders:

You are a fashionable lady. A fashion-conscious lady! So please tell me: what is the deal with the proliferation of Oxfords on the ladies these days? This is not something I can understand! Especially since [a friend] planted the seed in my head that the women who wear them all look like lesbians. Which is fine! I love the gays! It’s just… they seem a pretty serious faux pas? And I mean certainly not on par with the heeled Croc, maybe more along the lines of the ratty sneakers I wear every day (because I’m admittedly not fashion-conscious). So can you advise?

You do not seem to be asking me to advise so much as explain, unless you want me to advise women that what they’re doing is wrong, which I can’t do! But I can explain. Okay, there are two different kind of oxfords. The high heeled kind and the flat kind. Let’s address why women might wear each.

High Heeled Oxfords: Well, I actually wear these a lot in the winter! Partly because I only wear high heels, have shortened tendons, am a victim of societal standards. Or something. And I don’t want to be trotting though ice covered streets in spindly heels in the middle of February. Also, most men probably don’t think of this, but the tip of the heel on a stiletto is covered on rubber (that’s what stops it from making a clacking noise) (I think I should make a condom joke but am failing). If you wear a pair of heels and walk in them, the rubber wears off, exposing the metal pin the heels are set on, and you have to go and get the rubber tip reapplied every week. That’s annoying, and kind of expensive when you assume $10 every week. The fact that the heel is chunkier on the oxford means that it doesn’t wear off right away. But that’s just an added bonus. It’s mostly the fact that little pumps and sandals and other shoes that look great in spring and summer aren’t really built to withstand the elements and keep your feet warm and dry, so you have to look to something a bit sturdier. I guess you could wear boots, and I do. But if I have a pair of cute – semi-cute? – tights, I’d like to be showing them off, rather than covering the area between them and my dress in boots all the time.

So, high heeled oxfords: a last ditch attempt to allow you to continue admiring my legs long after it has ceased to be seasonally appropriate to do so.

Flat Oxfords: They say “I am smart”. Some girls are into that, I guess. To be fair, I’ve never met a stupid lesbian, so there might be some connection between the two.