Manolo the Columnist: Angelfire from Sperry Topsider

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

I’m starting the 9th grade in a couple of weeks and my new school doesn’t allow sandals or open-toed shoes. My mom won’t let me wear heels to school, and all of my tennis shoes and ballet flats are boring. What’s popular right now?


Manolo says, oh, how the Manolo remembers his own first day at his alma mater, the Our Lady of the Flaming Spleen Country Day School (whose motto remains “The Wrathful Word Turneth Away Evil”).

The day began auspiciously, with the young Manolo strolling onto campus two minutes late, just as Sister Assumpta was chasing the tardy students from the schoolyard into the building, welding her yardstick as if she were Samson slaying the Philistines with the jawbone of the ass.

Ayyy! The Manolo still bears the marks of that first lesson in punctuality!

Of the course, it was not all fun and games at OLFSCDS. Education always took precedence over the various social clubs and sporting teams. Indeed, who could forget the time Eduardo Castro, our greatest competitor, failed the algebra test and was suspended from our rosary team, just as they were about to compete for the regional championships against the cross town rival, Holy Relic?

It was then that the Manolo, who had been “riding the pine” all season, was put into the starting lineup. And, in the moment of supreme triumph, he helped bring home the trophy with his flawless rendition of the most difficult Fatima Decade!

What is in this year? Strangely, it is the Sperry Topsider! Here is the Angelfish in the linen and the oat.


8 Responses to “Manolo the Columnist: Angelfire from Sperry Topsider”

  1. NDC Says:

    The Manolo’s loyal followers will want to hear/read the lyrics of Our Lady of the Flaming Spleen Country Day School’s fight song and school song, of course, as well as learning of the school’s colors and sports teams names.

    Ah, the Country Day School… The NDC went to an equivalent, though not Papistically affiliated, private coeducational day school, and she still has the school-taught, reflexive response to jump from her chair and stand when an adult walks into the room, as we students so dutifully did. And this instinct was inculcated some 48 years ago, so all that deference should be shown to the NDC now. But so rarely is, alas.

    Hail, hail, OLFSCDS!

    All the best,


  2. Klee Says:

    I am not computer literate enough to paste an image, but I thought Stella McCartney makes some cute flats

  3. larkspur Says:

    Klee, supercute flats!! much more interesting and in my line than, unfortunately, the topsiders. Although for topsiders, these are better than most. thanks for the pointer!

  4. Miss Cavendish Says:

    At my boarding school we had to wear navy shoes. Our choices, in 1980, were the most hideous of the Hush Puppies with a great, square, seamed toe, and . . . I can’t even remember, but I know I chose it over the Frankenfeet. These were not Malcolm Gladwell’s Hush Puppies.

    Around 1983, navy penny loafers emigrated to the Canadian Maritimes and we all cheered with relief. Topsiders would have been a miracle (with due respect to Sister Assumpta).

  5. Victor Says:

    I must point out the Manolo has hit the nail on the head. I frequently see the schoolgirls in their uniforms on the DC Metro, and the Topsider (or other boat shoe) does seem to be the shoe of choice among Haley’s peers.

  6. Jezebella Says:

    Are the low-top Chuck Taylors not the shoe of choice for the teen girls in your neck of the woods? They are ALL wearing them for miles around me, and it pleases me to no end.

    Unfortunately, they then graduate, go to the nearby college, and immediately start wearing slippers by day, and stripper heels by night.

    My high school uniform shoe was the hideous black-and-white saddle oxfords with the red sole, which make one’s feet look enormous. We also had houndstooth skirts, and 20+ years later, I cannot bring myself to wear houndstooth.

  7. thea Says:

    Manolo reminds me of when I innocently bought a pair of saddle oxfords in college to wear ironically – I was not prepared for the worship and adoration of Catholic schoolgirl fetishists of the world.

    Those puppies got me more pervy offers and marriage proposals than all the stilletos I ever owned put together

  8. Jezebella Says:

    Oh, Thea, I hear ya. Any time I tell a dude I went to Catholic school, and he immediately leers and asks me if I still have the uniform, that is an immediate dealbreaker. It happens way more often than one might think. Ick.

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