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The Villages
Friday, August 12, 2022

A man in woman’s footwear is an interesting tale

Lisa DeMarco

Old Man Dave would have to be the most uniquely authentic man I have ever met, and hands down, one of my dearest “regular” customers turned friend forever. 

Dave was in his late-60s when I met him. A native Floridian, he used to kid around about graduating from Princeton, meaning he graduated from Princeton Elementary School in Winter Park, Florida. A man of fabulous stories, he shared many personal accounts of historical events with me that I would have never known being a Jersey girl. He lived in Central Florida before the Mouse came to town. He watched as D.O.T. officers busted trucks coming from North Florida to bring supplies to build Interstate Highway 4. Back when orange groves and swamp land occupied the landscape, and anyone with a souped-up car could race in the Daytona 500, which took place directly on the sand oceanside in Daytona Beach.

He was a simple man who lived a lifetime of adventures before he managed to steal my heart—eventually becoming an adopted family member known as “Uncle Dave” to my older daughter, Amanda Jeane.

Dave came into the Diner one day. He was a master mechanic, dressed in brown Dixies, a short-sleeve button-down shirt, and matching shorts, almost like a U.P.S. delivery man would wear. The attention-getter was that he was also wearing a pair of black, above-the-knee, lady’s leather go-go boots!

“What’s up with that?” I thought.

At first glance, even I had difficulty not bursting out in laughter. I kept wondering when a camera crew was going to come in and say we were on some kind of reality TV show. That never happened. Instead, Dave simply walked in and sat at the counter, where all our patrons could get a clear view.

He ordered a coffee and sat reading cover-to-cover of the daily newspaper. He did not order food and only had one refill of coffee. He wasn’t a bother and seemed like a pretty nice guy. However, nearly 2-hours later, when he decided to get up to go, it caused another echo of shrieks. 

After neatly folding his paper as if it had never even opened it and thoroughly wiping down his spot at the counter, he tucked his spoon and napkin into the cup, with a crisp $5 bill under it. Then, as he swung his legs out from under the countertop and his Stiletto heel tapped the tile floor, every eye in the house turned to get a glimpse. 

He didn’t seem uncomfortable at all. He actually seemed entirely secure, strutting across the dining room to exit. It was as if it was his daily routine, and no stares or snickers would affect him. I was impressed. 

It turns out that Dave was not some type of cross-dresser or a man in a woman’s body. On the contrary, it was because of his love for a woman that he wore the boots. You see, Old Man Dave was a proclaimed Bachelor by his own choice until the day he met his dream girl. It wasn’t long before I met Dave that love and tragedy struck, changing his whole world.

At the ripe age of 67, Dave had met his first real love. A woman he accidentally met when her fancy, foreign car broke down, and she happened to stumble into his auto body shop. As the story goes, it was love at first sight. She got out of her car, and all he could see were her long legs in those black go-go boots. 

I could only assume that these were the happiest days of his life. Unfortunately, a few weeks before they were supposed to share their vows, Dave’s beautiful and vibrant fiancé was unfortunately taken away.

Long story short, Dave wore the boots to read the morning paper because that was his way of holding on to their memories. Somehow, he found comfort in wearing her footwear in public, so it would feel like she was with him. Strange or not, I am a firm believer that if it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone, go for it!

I was curious about Dave at first because of what he looked like on the outside. Once I looked a little closer, what I couldn’t see was what I had fallen in love with. Strangely, after years of being friends, I saw Dave wear the boots only when he came in occasionally to the Diner to have coffee and read the daily news.

People will always look, laugh, comment, and criticize. Who cares? Deep down, only you can make yourself happy. Take it if you get the chance to feel better during tough times. It will count to someone – YOU!

Laugh on. Peace out!

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com

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