Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pointy-Heeled Beasts

Paging Dr. Scholls.

I’ve had a lot of luck in my life—an adorable husband, a daughter as cute as a cupcake and a sweetheart for a son—so it’s not uncommon for people to say to me, “A lot of people would love to be in your shoes.”

I know they mean this figuratively, and not literally, but because 99% of the time I am limping around with Band-Aids covering my toes and heels, I rarely can resist replying, “No they wouldn’t!”

The irony is that some of my livelihood in the past four years has come from writing “shoe porn,” by which I mean catalog copy describing shoes for sale, not sexual foot fetish fantasies or anything like that. Although, if you must know…partly why I got the coveted copywriting job at Marmi when I lived in St. Louis was the passionate way I handled the merchandise when I went in for the interview. “Nice. A 2 and ¾ inch heel, richly covered in opulent leather,” I murmured huskily, stroking the stiletto as the shoe designer watched me with his mouth dropped open. “Oooh, look at this plush foot bed! Slip these on and you’ll be sure to spoil your soles in luxury with every step you take!”

Fortunately all this shoe dirty talk distracted the interviewer from noticing my own shoes, which probably were either worn out flip-flops—or very cute heels with bloody Band-Aids peeking out from the sides.

Shoes and I have had a love/hate relationship spanning several decades, beginning in 1987 with my very first pair of pumps (bone-white leather Mary Janes intended to go with my Bat Mitzvah dress, but they gave me so much trouble I ended up dancing barefoot at my reception) and being punctuated most recently with me placing the following ad on the Internet: “FREE TO A GOOD HOME: Bag of Women’s Shoes, Size 8, Very Cute and Only Worn Once or Twice Because They Give Me Blisters.” (Somewhere in South Florida, a woman named Graciela is walking around in my favorite Matisse zebra-patterned Swarovski crystal studded buckle wedges without even so much as a wince. Bitch.)

The problem, according to one of the many podiatrists I’ve sought counsel from, is that I have flat arches and am too big for a size 8 shoe (they give me blisters on my toes) but too small for an 8.5 (chafing at the heel.) I’m only really comfortable in flip flops—even running shoes give me blisters when I wear them for more than, say, an hour-long step aerobics class. But flip flops are bad for your foot for other reasons, and are probably the reason why I have plantar fasciitis (one of my many foot ailments.)

Sore feet and blisters have accompanied every important event of my life. We’ve already talked about what the Mary Janes did to my toes at my Bat Mitzvah… I decided to go for much higher heels (Spanish silk covered stilettos) for my high school prom and ended up needing to ask my date for a piggyback ride from the dance floor to the banquet table. In college, with all that walking to and from class, I learned to carry a box of bandages in my backpack, and by the time I was working full-time, I was very Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl” by wearing flats on the street (I couldn’t quite bring myself to white tennis shoes and socks) and another, cuter pair of shoes once I was stationary at my desk.

Barry has no patience for my sad shoe stories. Knowing my long and sordid history with fashionable footwear, whenever we make plans to go anywhere that might inspire me to go for the pointy-heeled beasts in my closet, he makes me promise to opt for “sensible” shoes instead. Being a good wife—and someone who is adverse to pain—I usually do stick with low-heeled Aerosoles or Naturalizers…only to spend the entire night staring with envy at the other women frolicking about in their Ferragamos; painting the town red in their Tory Burches.

So if you see me at a party scowling at your feet, take it as a compliment. I might look mad, but what that sneer really means is that I think you have great taste in shoes. I am thinking bitterly to myself, “What does she have that I don’t have? How come she gets to look a few inches taller—and thinner—thanks to her stacked wedge espadrilles, while I have to wear Library Lady loafers instead?”

Now I know what you’re going to tell me. I shouldn’t go around envying other women, when I have a lot going for me—the adorable husband, cupcake daughter, sweetheart son, etc. etc.

“A lot of people,” I know you’re going to say, “would love to be in your shoes”

Well, if they really want to be in my shoes, they are welcome to them. Whatever Graciela’s left behind—it’s all theirs.

1 comment:

mercedez santangelo said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout Willis! This is great writing!