The idea of a mainstream fashion boot was revolutionary at the time. Before the go-go boot came along, women wore boots to go horseback riding or to deal with wet or snowy weather conditions. The idea of drawing attention to women’s legs as a fashion statement was really quite daring. Go-go boots were all the rage. There were dancers on popular TV shows like Hullabaloo and Shindig that would appear in the fancy footwear. They would also show up in the teen magazines that had the latest teen heartthrobs, like David Cassidy, Herman’s Hermits or the Monkees on the cover.
Coming from a family of five children with a father who made a meager salary as a college professor I thought it unlikely that I would get those boots without some heavy campaigning on my part. Neither of my parents was inclined to put out money for anything that wasn’t a complete necessity and I was pretty sure that go-go boots would not qualify as such. To my great surprise my begging and pleading was rewarded with a knock off pair of go-go boots with the zipper on the inside of the leg. Granted, they were only ankle high and the bottoms were extremely stiff and uncomfortable, but I wore them with great delight and pride and the phrase “strutting her stuff” would provide an accurate portrayal of my mood.
I know that those boots made me feel light and buoyant and I have since discovered that the term go-go is derived from the ancient French word “la gogue” which means joy or happiness. They are a perfect physical representation of the happy abandon that was present in the booming American economy of the post war era of the 1960’s.
My mother thought those boots were completely frivolous which of course made them all the more appealing to my young rebellious pre-teen self. To me, my mother’s generation did not have the same experiences in life as my generation. Her age group somehow lacked the sophistication and sex appeal given out to the younger and hipper women of my generation. It was a new day and it seemed like girls could do anything and certainly lots of things they couldn’t or wouldn’t do before this modern age.
There is a certain essential joy and happiness that I believe is at the core of a female baby boomer’s spirit and one that has been lost for many of us. Somewhere along the way, between “The Wonder Years” and the “Trailblazing Years” as we made our way through the corridors and mazes of male dominated professions, careers and institutions, we tried to keep our own internal compass, integrity and joy alight. Perhaps I need to look for a pair of old fashioned go-go boots to get my head in the right place. And then again, maybe it is just about getting my head in the right place regardless of how my body is clothed.