Fancy Footwear

Yes, I know alliterations are cliched, but deal.

Also, the damn squirrels are getting bolder as the temperatures fall. Winter makes those bastards desperate, and one scared the fuck out of me this morning staring at me through the window. Repeated cursing did nothing to discourage him from attempting to eat through my screen. Bastards.

Anyway, these things are irrelevant to today’s story; moving on…

In high school, my friend Rachael and I were infamous in our English class for finding blatant and not-so-blatant sexual innuendos in literature. We were brilliant, and lended an air of irreverence and informality to such readings as “Kublai Kahn” and “The Sun Also Rises,” endlessly amusing our teacher. One day, in the middle of class, Mrs. Ulmer remarked “those are some strappy shoes, Thea.” Perplexed, I didn’t quite know how to respond. Rachael bursts into laughter, and I look quizzically at both my peer and teacher. Characteristically, the elder replied “well, you know what boys want to do with strappy shoes…” suggestively. Mystified and combative, I retorted “what, wear them?” “No, take them off!” I still don’t quite buy her reasoning, but ever since then it’s been a running joke that I enjoy suggestive footwear.

A year or so after the strappy shoe incident, I came across an old Eagles song called “Those Shoes” which is essentially about a prostitute who wears strappy heels. A few of the lyrics go something like “got those pretty little straps around your ankle / together with those chains around your heart…oh, no, you can’t do that / once you started wearing those shoes.” Unable to contain myself, I emailed the song to Rachael and hilarity ensued. So maybe Mrs. Ulmer wasn’t the only one that though there were hidden messages in one’s choice of podiatric accessories.

Then, the last straw: last summer, I heard a song by Kirsty McColl on our local alternative radio station. Not only was it about a liberated woman who enjoyed stiletto heels, but the chorus was in Spanish with a salsa beat. It tells the story of three different encounters that this femme fatal has with three men, each vignette hinging on her shoes. Fittingly enough, the song is called “In These Shoes.” Story three goes like this…

Then I met an Englishman, ‘Oh,’ he said “What are you afraid of?”
“won’t you walk up and down my spine? It makes me feel strangely alive”
I said: “In these, shoes? I doubt you’d survive.”

Chorus:
No le gusta caminar.
No puede montar a caballo,
Como se puede bailar?
Es un escandalo!

(trans.)
She doesn’t like to walk,
she can’t ride a horse,
how on earth can she dance?
it’s scandalous!

How’s that for a shoe addict’s anthem? Kaitlyn and I, in a fit of irresponsibility, under the auspices of getting her some interview shoes, made a trip to DSW on Monday night before Senior Sem. Unable to resist temptation, I bought a pair of black stilettos with buckles on the front. They are, if I may say, HOT. Definitely my tallest shoes yet, and the beauty of it is that I can walk in them perfectly fine over reasonable distances. A woman walks differently in heels; more rhythmically, and often times more confidently. Literally, a pick-me-up. We asked ourselves several times, after extravagantly purchasing frivolous shoes, if it’s wrong that new shoes should make us so happy. I believe the verdict was no.

Whenever I walk around the city, sit on the train, or go to a new place, I always check out other people’s shoes. They don’t have to be 4 inch, impossibly narrow heels to catch my attention, but something inventive, cute, or different. Women wear shoes mainly for other women, and despite Mrs. Ulmer’s theory on strappy sandals, it’s been my experience that guys couldn’t give a shit what girls wear on their feet. And that’s fine with me, I’ll keep on wearing my fancy footwear regardless of its psychological implications in members of the opposite sex. Heels and other such accessories are as much a personal thing for me as they are a fashion statement, but I’m as vain as any other female: I always get a little thrill when someone says (male or female) “hey, nice shoes!”

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