In the Name of Beauty

Yesterday I indulged with a Mani/Pedi. I slipped my tired dogs into the steamy fragment water and let the stress wash off me. I was almost lost in the viaducts of my imagination and would have been if not for the animated conversation between two women sitting to my right. An unscrupulous hobby of mine is dropping into conversations I am not invited to. Aside from talking trash about their x-lovers, the two women were talking about shoe sizes.
“Oh, look at my new shoes,” the redhead said as she whipped out her iPhone to show her friend a picture. “You wear an eight don’t you?”
“Yeah, but my feet are not as wide as yours and I have this bunion, oooooh those are so-so pretty. Do they hurt?” The mousey brown asked.
“Like a ‘mother’, but I had to have ‘em. Have you ever seen Becky’s feet—SIZE TEN!”
“OMG,  I know, neanderthal feet.”
I winced and tried to curl my Herman Munster feet into lotus blossoms. As if all my other idiosyncratic physical and personality quirks that were doled out during my creation weren’t enough, I got Neanderthal feet too. The Skipper responsible for mixing and matching the chromosomes from my parents decided that I should have size-ten feet, of course, they are flat. I bet he thought that was damn funny. I vaguely resemble my family. I shared the same last name with them, but it stops there. None of the others in my family have feet, thighs, or even an arse the size of mine, so either I have a stray gene from the distant Aztec strain on my Dad's side of the family, or I am chromosome mutation.
As a kid, the size of my feet was only an issue in September during the annual back to school shopping expedition. Having a Brazilian wax would have been less painful than finding a pair of shoes for a kid with flat, size-ten feet. Year in and year out, I’d end up with the same style of shoes. While all the other girls were sporting those oh so chic Candies, I was wearing black-and-white saddle shoes.
I’d wither and moan at Charles’ Shoes in front of the Sales drone who wore regulation black trousers, a white short-sleeve shirt, a black tie, and matching black spectacles with Coke-a-Cola lens, and to Patsy, my loving mother.  “Please, just this once can we go to Macy’s in Pasadena and buy something chic and trendy.” Patsy ever practical had never picked up a Vogue, a fashionista she was not. They look fine she’d spout, “No one looks are your feet anyway.”  Oh great , here comes Herman with his MONSTER feet, quick get out of my way. I’ve always suspected that my feet are listed as lethal weapons at Quantico.
The seventies were interesting times for fashion designers. One of my favorites, and much coveted was the debut of the multi-colored, as in every color of the rainbow, Ditto Jeans—the precursor to Skinny Jeans—that girls wore so tight that they had to lie down on their beds (back to bed) to zip up. Saddle shoes paired with Dittos DO NOT look sexy together. Glamour Magazine had a column back in the day. ‘Glamour Do’s and Glamour Don’ts’—wearing saddle shoes with Dittos were definitely on the ‘Don’t’ side of the column. I am certain my shoe shopping experiences are what led me to develop my own style. I’d never fit into market trends so I had to make my own. Back in high school, I shopped at the Funky and Damn-Near-New Jeans . Levis and saddles shoes were a handsome couple.
Long after I left home, graduated college and started paying taxes I bought girlie shoes in as many colors as those Dittos came in. I couldn’t walk too far or too fast but my shoes were sexy, and so I was by association. Never mind that my feet hurt like a mother. I was all that back then and suffered for my inner sexy. Like Picasso’s blue period, this was my shoe period. Things changed of course.
Shoes and my feet have had a long-standing battle. My feet eventually won the battle. Now I wear comfortable shoes with less ‘sexy’ than my inner shoe-self would like but my feet don’t hurt me like a mother, either.
Have you sacrificed in the name of beauty?

31 Responses to : In the Name of Beauty

  1. I used to sacrifice in the name of beauty. But since becoming a mom I just don't see the point. I like stylish but comfortable now. 😉

  2. Brenda, you made me laugh. Oooh, the shoe trauma. We're all supposed to be Cinderella, dontcha know?

    My h.s. best friend truly HAD Cinderella feet. We had to go to a speciality store to find shoes that fit her size fives – and there I was, with, as you put it, Herman Munster feet (8 1/2). Which, when we'd both kicked off our shoes she would sometimes comment on (another reason out of many she is no longer my best friend.)

    Later, I decided they weren't so godawful huge after all. I began wearing heels sometimes, and sexy sandals. Then I developed Morton's neuroma, for which the cure is… orthotics. With double-wide shoes and flats, ALWAYS. (Could be worse. My older sister had this and ignored it till she was almost crippled – she had to have surgery on both feet.)

    So, suffering a huge case of shoe envy here, every time I see pictures of cute shoes, or see another woman wearing them. Though the lingering pain I still have, reminds me that wearing rowboats is better than a wheelchair or crutches.

  3. Totsymae says:

    My sister was the one with large feet and still has them since she's almost 6 feet. I, on the hand, am 5' 4", with a wide 8 and sometimes 8.5 feet. I was very concerned that during my first pregnancy that my feet grew. As if wide feet aren't bad enough on a woman!

    I have sacrificed for beauty and continue to do so, every now and then. For shoes, I take into account how long I may be standing and I may deal with it for a couple of hours. One thing I don't do, however, is wear pointed-toe shoes. I will not suffer for them.

  4. Leah says:

    Your post reminded me I really need to get a pedicure before summer ends and I'm back in pumps! My feet have issues, although perhaps if I pampered them, they would not.

  5. I have a friend who wears a womans size 12. I've tried many times to squeeze her into an 11 1/2 all to no avail, she's a true 12. She has one pair of dress shoes and one pair of runners and she has my sympathy vote hands down!

  6. Can totally relate to this post. I wear size 9 and sometimes 9 and a half. And I have wide feet. And that's not the worst part….


    I have bony feet. I mean, my toes are skin over bone. Seriously. And veiny. So all of you please thank your lucky stars you weren't cursed with E.T. feet, as my younger brother so charmingly called them while I was growing up.

    Did that stop me from wearing my funky wedges and high heeled clogs? Not a chance in hell. And then one day, when I was in college and walking across the university, my arch fell on me. I limped to a bench, sat there for an hour and though the pain went away, I never really recovered.

    From time to time, I wear heels. But they're completely unsexy Aerosoles, or minimally sexy Franco Sartos. They almost always have to have a rubber sole, which renders me so va-va-voom-less.

    But you know, it could be worse!

  7. Fi Phillips says:

    Great post. I have size 7 feet and was always told they weren't ladylike by my mum (size 6) but my plodders serve me well. Haven't fallen over too much. When I was young and single, I can remember squeezing myself into very tight, narrow legged jeans that ended up in a knee injury. Nowadays as a work at home mum, fashion doesn't enter into my life very often, unless it's fashionable clothes for my children.

  8. Lori P says:

    Oh my goodness, I've been down this road too. I LOVE high fashioned shoes. And I was the girl preaching fancy shoes to her friends. Ignore the Pain! It's the price we pay! Oh how the mighty have fallen. My joints are no longer made of steel and my toes flat refuse. If they're not made by Born or Sofft, then they must be flat. And I'm only 5'1". Sigh… But then again, I can walk, unlike the chickie-poos who sit at the center mall kiosk, flashing their shoes, and SITTING. Ahem.

  9. pam bono says:

    Window shopping,online,for shoes…hugh stress reliever..wearing them…nope..I work on my feet 10hr days..rubber boots! good for my souls…not for my soul.

  10. pam bono says:

    Edit.good for my soles…not for my soul!!!

  11. rimly says:

    That was fun to read. Yes I have to sacrifice so much in the name of beauty!! I could never wear short skirts, still cannot! So you are not the only one Brenda. :))

  12. Lori P says:

    haaa! That's exactly it. Javier from afar! Your post inspired me. I did a shoe blog today too. Thanks for the inspiration – much appreciated. =)

  13. "Like Picasso's Blue Period…only this was my Shoe period"

    Oh, I love that name for a blog!! I shall steal it and give you the credit, Brenda!

    Anyhow, I remember the oh- so -chic Candies.

    I also remember how uncomfortable they were. Stiff like wood! But man, they looked hot.

    ALways love popping over, girl.


  14. Annie says:

    "Like Picasso’s blue period, this was my shoe period." Love this! I have never given much thought to my shoes. I know women who have walk-in closets stuffed to the brim with them, but somehow I missed that phase. The hype completely past me by and now shoes are only a means by which to get around comfortably and hopefully without making too big of an ugly scene. Funny post, but sorry your feet have tortured you all these years!

  15. –Brenda,

    Now, there's another blog.

    "IF Plath & Dickenson Had Blogs!"


    And lets add Woolf & Sexton to that list.

    you know what, perhaps it would have saved them from depression& suicide.

    — Being part of a comminuity of women who they could connect with.

    Other women who would say "YEAH, I know how you feel, Girlfriend.


  16. Bella says:

    Brenda, what I most hate about feet is how after pregnancy, they're never the same. I used to be a dainty size 5 until I got pregnant. Now I'm a 7, don't ask me why or how. I have wide feet, so no sexy, pointy shoes for me unless they are special width. Oh, and I don't do heels over three inches. Unfortunately, my stilleto days are over. Sigh. I now live vicariously through the Daughter, who at a tiny four feet eleven, is hell bent in wearing heels which I'm afraid are going to be the death of her one day. Contrary to other women, I do not have a shoe fetish. Like you, as long as they're comfortable, that's all that matters. I love Clarks! I read your post and thought I'm way overdue for a pedi! The beach has really taken a toll on my tootsies! :)

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