The Stolen Tabi Mary Janes Saga Takes a Darkly Stupid Turn
A man stole a TikToker's $1,000 shoes after a date, and the TikToker is being blamed because she slept with him.In Depth
Through a long weekend of celebrity deaths, rumored divorces, and influencers trapped in a muddy desert, somehow, the story of a TikToker and knitwear designer whose Tabi Mary Janes—shoes that retail for $990—were stolen by a Tinder date she’d hooked up with, who then gave her shoes to his girlfriend, broke through. And it seems some social media users have managed to walk away from this saga with the worst possible takeaway: that the TikToker, who goes by Lex, deserved to be victimized for sleeping with a man on their second date.
For those who missed the circus surrounding the stolen designer shoes, here is the most concise summary I could possibly give, considering it’s a pretty twisted story. Over the weekend, Lex shared a TikTok detailing what had happened on her date and seeking any information about the shoe thief named Joshua. The two apparently had walked past each other one day, realized they’d previously matched on Tinder, went out for drinks and hit it off, then wound up returning to Lex’s place on their second date and sleeping together. Lex said there were no red flags through the evening: Joshua talked about wanting Tabi boots (for those unfamiliar, Tabi is Maison Margiela’s famous line of split-toe shoes), and at one point the next morning, she handed him her phone so he could look for a specific Spotify playlist.
After Joshua left her place, Lex said she realized her Tabis were gone. When she decided to message Joshua to ask whether he’d taken them, she found that he’d unmatched her on Tinder—and, when he was supposedly looking for the Spotify playlist the night before, he had seemingly deleted his number from her phone, as well as their one phone call from her call log. But with the help of TikTok sleuths, Lex found Joshua’s Instagram and finally got in contact with him about the matter. At first he tried to “gaslight” her, she said, denying that he stole the shoes and then eventually offering her $500 or $1,000 for them—which convinced Lex he was “lying” because an “innocent person wouldn’t give $1,000” for shoes they didn’t steal, she reasoned. Finally, she sent him a photo she’d screenshotted of his girlfriend wearing the shoes. He texted her back at 3 in the morning: “Ight you got me , I’ll get them back to you give me a time and place & I’m just asking to remove the tik Tok is all.”
The saga concluded with Lex sharing an update on TikTok in which Joshua, on a bicycle, meets up with her to return the shoes while “literally smiling the whole fucking time,” she recounted.
Understandably, many a take has spawned from Lex’s TikToks, including, as one commenter put it, that “fashion guys are sinister.” Indeed, I am walking away from all of this with renewed skepticism toward particularly well-dressed men. But, as Lex revealed, some have managed to pin all of this on her decision to sleep with Joshua.
“The other thing I want to address is the slut-shaming,” Lex says in a Monday TikTok, after explaining to her followers that Joshua’s girlfriend didn’t know about any of his scheming and doesn’t deserve hate. “It’s been pretty rough to see. I’m someone who has a pretty thick skin. To focus on that and not what he did shows how there are layers of misogyny to this whole entire situation.”
She continues: “To punish my behavior and say, ‘Oh, what do you expect when you just open your legs?’ and things like that, instead of being like, ‘That’s crazy that there are not decent human beings out there who just won’t steal from you,’ which again, shows the misogyny that exists in our society and the fact that somehow it will always be my fault.” She captioned the video: “Also strongly considering filing a restraining order so I can feel safe from him just in case. lol.”
This is a story about a man who chose to cheat on his girlfriend and burglarize another woman, all in one very busy night. And yet, to a certain kind of commenter, the “slut” in this situation was the woman who had a crime committed against her. This isn’t even a story about sex; sex is just a passing detail in this whacky little tale about male audacity and how utterly fucked the dating scene in New York City is. But vitriol toward even the most casual reference to female sexuality bleeds into everything.
That being a “slut” innately justifies any transgression against you is a tale as old as time—it’s precisely the argument that’s long been used against sexual assault survivors who were “asking for it.” Lex’s story shows that other violations, like, say, theft, apparently can be chalked up to women getting what they deserve for being sexual, too. Cool! Lex says she’s also being accused of making the story up, despite the trove of evidence she’s presented, including a literal video of Joshua returning her shoes to her. It’s hardly the first time a woman has been accused of lying about her own victimization for ~attention~. But Lex deftly shuts this down, too: “I simply could not conjure up a story like this even if I wanted to,” she says.
The saga of the stolen Tabi Mary Janes has seemingly reached its natural conclusion. But if the tale of West Elm Caleb and now this have taught me anything, it’s that the next outrage-sparking TikTok about the horrors of dating is just around the corner. Oh, and, to the best of Lex’s knowledge, Joshua and his girlfriend broke up.