Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tripping over the light fantastic shoe

I tripped over my shoes this morning. No, I hadn't left them tumbled in the middle of the floor - I was wearing them at the time, and one of them slipped off my foot. Damn clogs. How do other women walk in these things? I've never been able to master the art of walking in backless shoes. So why did I buy them? Because everyone else was wearing them! Because my friends say, "oh, they're so comfortable!"

Actually, I bought them because I'm extremely lazy. Who wants to have to bend over or squat down and tie or buckle anything? I once heard of a young woman who complained that her shoes were tripping her up. When her friends looked at her feet, they started laughing. She had her shoes on the wrong feet, with the buckles facing each other from her inner ankles. Everytime she took a step, the buckles clashed and caught on each other.
I can relate to that. Do they still make buckle shoes? Or are they all fake buckles with velcro underneath? Never mind. I don't even like velcro - you still have to bend over and press it in place. Nope. I like slip on shoes. Slip on, slip off, slip on, slip off. (I'd also love to have a clapper - clap on, clap off, clap on, clap off.)

Unfortunately, I just may be clumsier than I am lazy. I walk into walls. I am forever bumping my head on the cupboard door I left open (does anything hurt more than that? A paper cut maybe). I slip down the stairs, I bang my hips against counters, my knees on coffee tables, my ankles knock together when I try to jog. I don't try to jog anymore.

Back to shoes. Clogs. So what do other women know about clogs that I don't? It can't possibly be just about grace or lack thereof. Can it? Do other women buy them a half size too small, so that one's feet are wedged so tightly into the shoe that it cannot possibly fall off and trip one? Is there a glue strip one wears on the sole of one's foot? I just don't get it. I was attending a conference with two of my coworkers, and we were all wearing clogs. Walking from the car to the entrance of the hotel, my 2 friends were striding masterfully, fifty yards or more ahead, while I was mincing across the parking lot like an 19th century Chinese woman with bound feet. Tell me! Tell me now!! How do you keep clogs on your feet??? I have to squinch up my toes and attempt to grip the slick insole with each step, and they still fall off, or fly ahead, or just dangle off my toes as I lift my foot to take a step. And wham! Whumpity, whumpity, there I am, arms windmilling, nose headed for a smashing, clogs tangled up under my feet.

Perhaps I could blame my lack of shoe grace on growing up in warm climates - I went barefoot an awful lot as a child. Shoes were for school and church, any other time, I was shoe-free. My toes just aren't used to being confined. Nearly the first thing I do when I get home for the night, is kick my shoes off.

But I do love shoes. Some years ago when I was still young and attempting to pass myself off as sexy, I wore high heels. I loved my shoes, my sexy, strappy little 3 inch pumps. I loved my gorgeous black leather spiky heeled boots. I dreamed about red f-me heels. But the truth was - I couldn't walk in these things, at least not far. I could get from the car door to the cocktail table or bar, but once I reached a chair or stool, I was in place, legs crossed prettily, dainty foot swinging. If asked to dance, I kicked the damn shoes off and hoped the guy thought it was sexy.

I once tried to walk four blocks in my beautiful, beloved boots. I had made it to my destination and was gamely attempting the walk back to my house. My feet were screaming at me as I staggered from tree to fence post to fire hydrant, hobbling, swaying, falling toward the next vertical object. People driving by stared as they passed me - if cell phones had existed then, I'm sure they would have been tapping out 9-1-1, "there's a disgraceful drunk woman falling down on respectable neighborhood lawns".

So what is this infatuation that women have with shoes? I've been reading a lot of chick lit lately, and half the books seem to be about shoes, designer shoes, designer shoes for babies, shoe cupboards and closets, credit cards maxed out on 1 pair of shoes, shoe sale frenzies. And the reason women find this entertaining and funny, is because we can relate to it!

When I was nine, I insisted that my mother buy me a certain pair of dark red shoes. I loved those shoes - they didn't fit right, they pinched and hurt my feet, but I wore them anyway. I didn't understand then why I had to have those shoes, and I don't understand now, why certain shoes just tickle something in our brain - it's erotic and primitive and undeniable. Is there a shoe lobe in the brain?

I have reached the age where all I really look for in a shoe is comfort, but I can be stopped dead in my tracks in front of a shoe shop window featuring a beautiful and usually high-heeled shoe. I will daydream in front of that window, and maybe even enter the store and try the shoe on (if my socks are clean and my toe nails clipped). What is it about shoes and women? What do shoes represent?
Why are shoes "sexy"? How can feet be considered sexy? I don't think feet are sexy, I think feet are damned funny looking. If you stare at a foot long enough, you just have to wonder. Except for baby feet, baby feet are excruciatingly adorable.
And feet can be really ugly and stinky too. Well, I guess that's true of other body parts, too. Clean is sexy. But then, why do we call something sexy, "dirty" ?
Now I'm confused. Feet should definitely be clean, though, I'm not confused about that.

But while I'm mulling over all this sexy feet/sexy shoe stuff, take a look at this really cool book - I love it, my kids love it (though I have to censor some pages for them!) Some of the shoes are real shoes, some are artifacts, some are designers' fanciful creations, and some are just art:

Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More
Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More by Linda O'Keeffe (Paperback - Jan 12, 1996)

Postscript: Years after I stopped going dancing and stopped wearing high heels (I almost typed high hells - ha ha Freudian slip!) - I still kept my high heels in my closet - through several moves, one half way across the country - I still kept those spiky little heels. Every once in a while I would take my strappy little pumps out of hiding and just look at them, remembering. They weren't comfortable, but I felt great wearing them, feminine, sexy, and even powerful. I will never feel that way about clogs.

See ya later, alligator! (and hey, those aren't alligator pumps you're wearing, are they?) Here's another fun book:
Alligator Shoes (Reading Rainbow)
Alligator Shoes (Reading Rainbow) by Arthur Dorros (Paperback - April 1, 1992)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tell me about it...

My daughter stomped into my bathroom a few days ago while I was using the toilet.

"I hate this house!" she cried, "I have no privacy!"