Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why Do We Do It, Girls?

See these shoes? Aren't they cute? Aren't they sexay? Aren't they strappy and flirty and fun?

Well, sure, they appear to be all these things, but do you know what they really are?


Why, why, why do we wear these shoes, girls? Why do we feel that we're not completely dressed up until we put on a pair of horrendously uncomfortable shoes? Why do we say, when people look doubtfully at the size of the heels; "no, they're not bad--they're actually kind of comfortable"??? In reality, does anyone really like walking around on their toes for a couple of hours? Does anyone really like putting ALL THEIR WEIGHT on their toes, and the balls of their feet?

I just went to a wedding over the weekend (many of you are familiar with my whining over trying to find a shirt that conceals a 3-years-post-baby-train-wreck midsection), and I thought my outfit was pretty good. I found a last minute funky top, and had a cute black skirt. Yes, the skirt was a little bum-hugging, giving me some slightly alarming, although not untoned boo-tay (har har), but whatevs--I'm not a teenager any longer, and don't really need to look like one. I wrestled with my great bristling hay stack hair for half an hour, and it was sleek, straight and even cute. Makeup looked pretty great, but what the heck; I've been putting that on since I was 13, so I've had too many years of practice. I had some funky silver jewellery, including some large silver hoop earrings. I had it going on, if you will. Little black hand bag was packed with the three things that could fit into it--I was good to go. Last but not least, put on the shoes!


Ow, ow, OW!

My second toe was NOT happy. The shoes did NOT feel good. No, they didn't feel good at all. However, they were the only shoes (besides pink flip flops, and beige sandals) that I'd brought. I was perplexed and mildly horrified. I'd worn them for the first time to a wedding last summer, and they were fine, weren't they? Didn't I have a memory of them feeling not great, but okay? Didn't I dance a fair bit? Oh wait...didn't I have a lot of red wine before I danced in those shoes? Hmm. That was kind of the running joke among women I knew--the shoes felt terrible until you had a couple of drinks.

Okay, so I hadn't even been in the shoes for five minutes and they felt bad, bad, bad. No problem. If I don't have to walk ANYWHERE, they'll be fine. And, if I don't have to STAND for more than, oh, five minutes, they'll be fine. Well, the wedding was at a golf course. We drove past the "chapel" site, where the bride and groom would be exchanging vows, and we kept on driving, much to my mounting horror, to the parking lot, over a GRAVEL road. Oh my god, I thought, do I have to walk all the way over there IN THESE SHOES??? Luckily, staff were on hand, ready to whisk guests over to the outdoor chapel area in golf carts. Phew, no walking.

Wedding was nice, blah, blah, blah, and while the bride and groom had pictures taken, we were all cordially invited to enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the club house. Where there were no chairs. Where there was a stone patio. For an hour. For what was supposed to be an hour. FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF. I actually started to feel afraid. I couldn't stand there in those stupid shoes for five minutes. Five minutes?!? Who am I kidding--I couldn't stand there for TWO MINUTES. So, what I did was, I casually sidled to the back of the patio, and onto the grass, where I let my pointy heels sink into the ground, so essentially it was like I was wearing mildly uncomfortable "flats." And there I was forced to stay for over an hour.

"Go get something to eat," The Man coaxed, nodding toward the hors d'oeuvres table.
"I can't," I said. "I have my heels sunk into the the ground." My sister was chatting with me at one point, and I had to sheepishly ask her to move more into my line of vision, because as I was now a lawn fixture, I couldn't comfortably turn to look at her.
Speaking of my sister, she was unable to find a summery pair of heels for the wedding. So, I invited her to karen's house of shoes, to borrow another "cute" pair of my shoes. She lasted about half an hour in those shoes, and then went to the car to change into her black and tan wedgies. My brother's gal also lamented to me that she was dying to go to the car to get her sandals.

Finally, the torturous cocktail hour (and a half) ended. We all shuffled (mercifully) into the reception room. I (thankfully) sank into my chair. The wedding party entered, and, as is now the trendy new thing, the bride and groom immediately launched into their first dance. WHOA--we girls said--look at her awesome shoes! The bride had on these fantastic red shoes with TOWERING HEELS. How on earth is she able to stand them, we all wondered. Well, half way through dinner, she returned from the ladies room, with her friends, and as she lifted her skirts from the floor, she now had on a pair of gold, flat sandals. Yeah, that's how she could stand them.

So why do we do it? Sure, we all love shoes. Yes, high heels are so pretty, and they just seem to complete the look, right? Do they ever, ever feel good though? Somebody told me once that Sarah Jessica Parker, from Sex & The City Fame, insisted that some of those expensive sky-high heels she wore, were indeed comfortable. BEE-ESS, says I.

However, if you google the words "high heeled shoes," you will get 5,170,000 results, and the greater majority of the hits appear to be about how to obtain a pair for yourself, rather than how freaking torturous they are. And yet, there is so much love for, and mystique surrounding these horrid things. Have a little read over this National Geographic Article about Manolo Blahnik shoes. Anyone who loves Sex & The City knows this name, of course.

Blahnik insists that these fancy, pretty little things provide an "escape" for the woman who wears them. Okay, I can dig that--it's fun to get all dressed up and wear something that doesn't have a grease or chocolate milk syrup stain on it. It's fun to go out for glamorous dinners and dancing, and I really enjoyed wearing my engagement ring, which basically went back into its little white box the moment my baby son arrived, as I feared shredding his perfect little cheek open with the rock. However, I have to say that taking the shoes off at the end of the evening was AN ESCAPE for me! Oh the relief! Oh my poor injured-feeling, swollen feet! Oh the pleasure of walking across the pavement, and then gravel without those freaking shoes on!

My poor mother suffered terribly from rheumatoid arthritis. Her pitifully crippled feet reached a point whereby they could no longer bear to wear any kind of heel. Oh how my mother lamented not being able to complete her dressy look with a "nice" pair of shoes, and was instead forced to wear some slightly clunky, "old lady-ish" black, cushiony sandals. She so yearned to wear the pretty shoes instead.

I'm starting to think though that the pretty shoe is for suckers. Time to go out hunting, girls, for a shoe that keeps us as comfortable--ALL NIGHT LONG--as the gentlemen beside us.

Care for more reading? Click on Are You Aware of The Dangers of High Heeled Shoes?

I should have worn the pink flip flops.


  1. they are really cute shoes karen almost worth the pain. maybe the manolo's are comfortable, they should come with a cute guy to massage your feet too for 12 hundred bucks!

  2. Glad to hear you lived through it. Yes I must admit that I have several of those cute high heeled ones and I usually wear them to special occasions and bitch the whole time. I did smarten up and get a few dressy lower heel ones that I usually end up wearing even though they do not look as nice. My mom did wear heels every time they went out to dinner, church, whenever she had to get dressed up. She would have to be one person who did not complain about them, but I think she was smart and did not buy the shoes if they were too small.

  3. I went to a wedding a few weeks before Ryan was born. I had a fabulous long black skirt (one of those awesome bargain buys that make you love it even more!!) and a great shirt and big ugly clunky skechers sandals. And I dared anyone to comment.

    I can't do really high heels. Oh well.

  4. LOL Lisa. However, how many other girls, after dinner was over, went and put on their clunky sandals as well???

    Paula, I was going to say I'd even welcome and ungly guy to massage my feet, but that made me sound like a jerk, and basically--no I wouldn't.

    Alaina, the stupid shoes are the right size, but there is NO CUSHIONING WHATSOEVER on those shoes. Waaa! Yes, I have always marvelled over women who wear heels ALL THE TIME.

  5. I have chronic sore feet. Sometimes debilitating.
    Although mine is not from fancy shoes but in my ealier mothering/teen years wearing nothing but flats.

    About a week after my 3rd was born, I got out of bed holding the baby and fell over...plantar faschitis. since then, I can tell you all about pain.......I could never wear a one inch heal never mind anything more. right now i would prefer to chop my feet off.

  6. Well, don't chop your feet off. What you need to do is stop working on that kitchen, woman! And go make yourself a cocktail. It's Friday, after all.

    I sympathise though--I can't remember any shoes I had in my teen years feeling good, and I distinctly remember those pointy-toed flats we all used to wear, which weren't semi-comfortable like the modern pointy shoes, but instead, turned ones toes into a crammed triangle of pain.

  7. If you had worn the outfit "I" recommended, you could have worn pink fuzzy bunny slippers. And yes, my endless wisdom DOES astound me.

  8. yeah, why didn't I wear YOUR outfit? I could have been AVANT GARDE.

  9. Still, I have to compliment you on your creativity by sinking your heels into the ground. Well done!

  10. yeah! I wouldn't have survived the evening otherwise-oh wait, I'd have been in bare feet. Hm...


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