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?