When I was a kid I would watch my Dad shine his shoes every week. This was in the early eighties when people who worked in offices with computers wore suits, at least when other people were going to be at the office.
My Dad was a computer programmer but he also called himself an engineer. Since I watched a lot of Sesame Street I was sure that engineer meant someone who drove the train. I knew from Sesame Street that a train engineer wore striped bib overalls and a matching hat. But every day Dad put on a suit and tie. I never understood why he would need to wear a suit to be an engineer. I think I figured that he changed when he got to work or something.
But every week Dad would break out the shoe polish and the shoe brush and he would polish his wing tip shoes and I would watch and talk to him while he went about his shoe polishing task.
I know that a lot of men learned the art of shining shoes from their fathers but I guess I did too. I also learned the art of tying a tie from watching my Dad get ready every morning.
This has actually served me well in my job since I sometimes have to shine shoes that are in the shows. Whenever I shine shoes for a show I always remember sitting and watching my Dad shine his shoes.
Sometimes I see ads on Craigslist for shoe shine girls under the Events sections and although I'm not sure if I want to shine shoes as a job I know that I could. I also usually see a Shoe Shine Girl at the airport when I travel. This gives me hope. Besides sewing and dressing and food service I have yet another skill that I can market- shoe shining.