I’m a shoe freak. The only thing Imelda Marcos had over me was more resources, like the treasury of the Philippines. This debilitating disease began in 9th grade. My Mom suggested that if I wanted those adorable spats made of burlap and burgundy patent leather, I would have to get a job. Money has never been a motivator for me…but shoes…oh yeah, I’d get three jobs for the perfect pair of shoes.
The purchase of those spats was like a first kiss. The love affair began. See, my high school girlfriends were the quintessential little 5-7-9’s of the ’70’s. I was not. But my feet, oh my feet were double A Narrow with Quad A Narrow heels. Yes, my feet were skinny!!! I could buy shoes, shoes and more shoes and they would fit. They would flatter. My feet in my shoes were the Twiggy of toes. Sometimes it felt illicit, other times just downright exhilaratingly perfect.
So on my daughter’s wedding day, when the bride presented me with a hat box the size of a turkey platter filled with a magical pair of Christian Louboutin’s, rouged underside and all, I was beyond excited. My other daughter, who inherited the shoe gene, was found in a corner sniffing the Louboutin’s like airplane glue.
But the shoes didn’t fit. Off to Neiman Marcus we journeyed to exchange those black pumps of pleasure for a pair perfect for my pedicure. Alas, Louboutins are not for every foot. My precious feet, who had served me well for so many years as the thinnest most easily fashioned part of my Italian-Slavic heritage, failed me like the ugly step-sisters of Cinderella. I would not be undone.
The salesman, Walter, dressed in a pin-striped suit with perfectly matching lavender tie and pocket square, was very careful to bring me the size I requested. It felt like my banker was kneeling at my feet. I know it was absurd, but the two teenagers next to me with 20 boxes of Louboutins opened around them, made me shove those tight ass shoes onto what were now my apparent barge feet, even harder. It occurred to me that perhaps I needed a larger size. This wasn’t like the mother-of-the-bride dress. I had no problem asking for a bigger pair of shoes. Apparently, this is a refreshing concept to Walter. In this hallowed shoe boutique, a salesman would never suggest to the lady that she may need a (gasp) larger size! The look of relief on Walter’s face when I said perhaps a 9, rather than my usual 8 and a half would do better, was like giving him early parole.
Hmmm. I guess I’m not the only one who likes to think my skinny feet are the most alluring part of me.
We chose a pair, a beautiful pair. But not without suffering. These shoes hurt. The chosen pair hurt less than every other pair. But still. Walter assured me that if I don’t wear them, I can return the shoes 10 years from now.
I called my genetic shoe clone daughter. Her advice was that there are legions of blog posts dedicated to how to tape my toes and wear Louboutins in spite of themselves. I adopted the Louboutins but they may go back to the orphanage.
Today the bride and I went to the SAS shoe outlet. (Senior’s Attire Sucks). Okay, it stands for San Antonio Shoes. And they’re ridiculously comfortable and ugly. My Mom made me take her there last year. She ‘bribed’ me by telling me she would buy me a pair of shoes. Ha! Ugly expensive shoes? Who would wear those? I am not eighty yet. I am still capable of making a fashion statement. And there they were, black patent leather loafers with a red penny holder and red soles. Oh….my…..God…. They were adorable and super comfortable. Well, I”m not 20 anymore either. Yeah, I got those shoes last year. But I didn’t want to fall into the black whole of old lady shoes, did I?
But my Louboutins?!?!?!?
The red patent leather sandals from SAS (Style and Sass…that’s my new name for them) are going to France with me next week. The Louboutins, which say “Paris” right on the inside of the shoe are still waiting to see if they are Orphan Annie or Oliver Twist……to be continued….
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Cathy is the author of Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial Caregiver