This is a post about a forty-year love affair, but if you are a man reading this who thinks this might be somewhat interesting, I give you fair warning: don’t waste your time. Ladies, this is definitely interesting– this post is about shoes, specifically the high and mighty heel.
My four-decade love affair with high heels ended this summer. I know, it is very sad. The romance started to fade when I fell off my gorgeous Jack Rogers Luccia wedge sandals walking down the streets of NYC carrying a load of stuff earmarked for my daughter’s lower east side apartment. The goodies I was holding came spilling onto the sidewalk in front of a line of people waiting to buy bagels and chive cheese. And I broke those beautiful and expensive platinum colored sandal straps right in two, and simultaneously, I almost broke my heart, not to mention my not too good-looking head.
But that incident just put a bit of a damper on the fire. A few weeks later, I attempted to walk in 3” spikes down a cobblestone street on Martha’s Vineyard, with a broken third toe on my right foot. The broken toe had nothing to do with the heels (I was barefoot when it happened), but when I finally got home and unstrapped my now completely black and blue foot out of the chic little sandal, I decided that my relationship with heels was not working for me. Clearly, my heels did not love me back.
The obvious question, of course, is why I wore heels when I had a broken third toe on my right foot, but if you have to ask me that, I am not sure you are the kind of woman who will ever understand–you probably don’t love heels the way I do- uh, I mean “did”.
The answer, of course, is that they looked good with my outfit.
And if I needed further justification, I would tell you that the white jeans I brought to wear to dinner were hemmed for heels, and I only brought one outfit to wear for dinner. And, if I needed to, I could rationalize it further, and tell you that I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and everyone knows that heels are good for plantar fasciitis, right?
Or I might remind you that heels make short people feel taller. So it only follows that at 5’3”, heels make me feel taller, and thinner, and sexier. Basically, heels solve a myriad of physical problems–so many more than they cause. So that is why I wore high heeled sandals even when I had a broken toe, and why my closet is filled with heels – expensive ones, cheap ones, pointy ones, rounded ones, shiny ones, black ones, silver ones, gold ones, dull ones, ones named after a baby cat, and ones that make me sneeze, “Ah…ah…ah…ah…Jimmy Choo!”
For most of my life, when it came to my shoe selection, I was Billy Crystal’s exaggerated Fernando Lamas character- “it is better to look good than to feel good.” And indeed, in my heels, I believe I looked mahvelous. But since my last high heel “incident,” I am re-evaluating. I keep thinking about a charity event that I attended last spring, in which a very well dressed woman of about 80 teetered around in some fine looking heels. She was clearly in pain, but she proudly kept a smile plastered on her face lift, as she baby-stepped around unsteadily on her tiny little ankles, attached to her skinny little legs. All I could think of was, “…now, there goes a hip replacement waiting to happen.” She looked silly. So I wonder, is there an age when high heels don’t cut it any more? Am I at that age? My feet are whispering that I might be, especially at the end of a long evening.
Lately I’ve been wearing only the Converse sneakers my partner Felice made me buy a few weeks ago, a pair of Sperry boat shoes, and my one pair of ballet flats that I bought this past spring as a fluke. Granted, I have not been invited to go out anywhere and I feel a little dumpy, but they are the only shoes that don’t have my tootsies screaming. In fact, I am getting kind of used to them. They may not sexy, but they are hip, edgy and fun, and maybe at my age, that is enough. Some might say I am falling in love anew—perhaps this is a love that is safer, more comfortable.
I can just see my daughter reading this post and getting so excited she might just have spilled her green drink all over the place. I am sure that in the last 2 minutes she has planned a trip home from New York to raid my closet of the Jimmy Choo’s. Not so fast, dear… relax… the flats may just be a summer fling. Let’s see how I feel when the toe heals (ha ha) and the weather turns.
But I so wonder, once you have gone flat…can you ever go back?