Charmingly Pragmatic Prince Seeks Louboutin-Losing Cinderella (Q&A)
Moshe Billet found a black-leather peep-toe Christian Louboutin pump at 96th Street and Broadway on June 23. Knowing Louboutins are expensive ($600-$800) and that someone was probably upset to have lost it, he posted an ad on Craigslist and messages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as "found" fliers in the area. Gentlemanly, no? So gentlemanly, in fact, as to be kind of, well, unusual. We wanted to know more about what makes this sort of guy tick, so we met up with him at Starbucks for details.
Name: Moshe Billet Age:27 Occupation: Financial Services Neighborhood: Upper West Side Hometown: Woodmere, Long Island
Moshe, when you first found the shoe, how did you know it was a Louboutin? The red bottom.
Guys know that? Well, I mean, I once dated a girl who said, "I only wear red-bottomed shoes." We only went on one date. This is a recognizable brand. You know it when you see it. It's a status symbol, you know; actresses wear these things on the red carpet. That's why they can charge $800 a shoe.
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When you picked it up, did you ever think it would get this much attention? No, and it took several days for it to even get the attention. I had only gotten two e-mails from my signs: one, someone saying, "God bless you," or, sorry, it was "Jesus bless you," and the other one was this blogger who was totally skeptical about it like, "Is this some kind of viral marketing campaign or is this real?" That's how it all started.
If someone responds to your ad and sounds like she's telling the truth, how will you prove it's her shoe? I'm going to make her produce the other one, like the other glass slipper type of thing. I don't think I'm actually going to get down on one knee and put in on her -- the other shoe will be enough for me.
Do you feel a little bit like a prince charming? My sister-in-law said instead of using my email@example.com e-mail address, I should have gotten firstname.lastname@example.org, and that really would have made the story even funnier. But I just want to return something valuable. I once left this suit on the Long Island Rail Road, a Brooks Brothers suit. You know what, it ended up in the lost-and-found at Penn Station, and I got it back. It's a nice New York story, and this could be a nice New York story, too.
How do you think this story will end? I think I've exhausted all of my individual resources. I've put up those signs at 96th Street; I Twittered it; I Facebooked it; I put an ad on Craigslist; I called three Louboutin stores in the city...now the only way for this thing to really get found is for it to be a viral Internet sensation. I even called two local police precincts on the Upper West Side to see if there were any police reports.
Why did you go through all the trouble...did you think maybe you would get a date out of it? Now you're looking for a juicy end to the story.
We want the romance part! It is a cute story, but I'm a complicated person, and not the easiest date, so I don't have any expectations like that. I called a girl I know...I said, "Stephanie, what would you do if you lost a Louboutin shoe?" and she said, "I would cry." I stood over the thing for 10 minutes deciding whether to leave it there on the street or pick it up and try to find this girl.
Do you have any idea in your mind of the girl who lost this shoe? Now here goes the hopeless romantic side of me. I think the girl who lost this shoe is a complete flake who isn't sophisticated enough to look in the lost-and-found section of Craigslist, or even see the news anywhere, or go back and look and see, because she totally doesn't care that she lost the shoe and she's going to go buy herself a new pair. That's what I think. Listen, that's the realist inside of me. I thought you said that was the hopeless romantic. No, that's the literal hopeless romantic....Clearly, there's some romantic underlying aspect to my personality, but it can only shine through in subtle ways. I'm not the real romantic...The real romantic would probably hope that this girl is between the ages of 23 and 27, and pretty, and wants an Orthodox Jewish guy who is bent on chasing her down to the end of the earth.
Would you ever date a girl who isn't Jewish? No. Does that go in the article, too? It could, if I were trying to fend off potential date requests. Anyway, I know you wanted to see the shoe, so it's in here. I carry it around in this bag so no one will see me carrying around a single Louboutin shoe.
Wow, it's not even really worn in. Not too bad at all -- a little scuffed at the bottom, a little scuffed at the back over here, but other than that, it's in pretty solid shape. Clearly she doesn't run around in the city in them. She puts them in her open bag.
What will you do if you don't find its owner? I'm considering making it a display item at my desk in my office if I don't find her.
You could turn it into some kind of pencil holder. Yeah, not a bad idea -- a pencil holder, that could work. A phone holder [fakes answering the shoe] -- it'll definitely be the most expensive, lowest-tech phone I've ever had in my life.
Where would you take "Cinderella" on a date if you find her? We'd need to get her out of these shoes first of all. More my style is a bike ride in Central Park or something like that. I love bike riding. I commute every single day, even in this weather. In the morning, it gets my energy and blood going, and at night, it helps me decompress after work. On Sunday, I'll go for a 12-mile bike ride in the park. So, a date might not be 12 miles, but you know, we could do the loop once, and get coffee or ice cream afterward.
You don't typically go for the Louboutin-type girl, or do you? It depends. The Louboutin-type girl -- there are Louboutin-type girls who wear them; that's like that girl I went on one date with; she tells you she only wears red-bottomed shoes. And then there are people who wear them, and it's not the fabric of their being. It's just someone who values the way that they dress and the way that they present themselves, and they're sophisticated, and smart, and interesting, and driven, and those are the girls that I would be more interested in. As opposed to, "I only wear Louboutin shoes, and I only want you to buy me Louboutin shoes."
What do you hope to get from all this? I'd like a nice ending to this story, especially if it's just returning someone's shoe to them, and you know, getting a fun New York story published somewhere. I like doing good things for people. Karma's not my religion, but if I can spread a little bit of the good stuff, I'm always happy to.
Before this Louboutin turns into a desk accessory, help Billet find Cinderella. She's been so elusive thus far, we fear she may have turned into a pumpkin. E-mail email@example.com if you have information on the other shoe's whereabouts -- or if you think he might be your kind of prince.
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