How My 40 Year Love Affair Ended

love affair with shoesThis 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?


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Ronna Benjamin

Ronna Benjamin

After 28 years of practicing real estate law, Ronna Benjamin realized how much she loved writing and how much she hated lawyering. She jumped into the world of writing at Better After 50 and never looked back! She is loving her “second act” as Partner and Managing Editor at Better After 50. Ronna writes humorously about the things BA50s are concerned about – personal experiences with adult children, the quirks of aging parents and in-laws, and her own emotional and physical health issues (i.e., insomnia, anxiety, and bulging waist lines). A native Bostonian who loves to spend time with her husband and three adult children, Ronna also enjoys sailing, cooking, running, and biking–and she tolerates skiing so she is not left home during family vacations. Check out her new book “We Are Better After 50 Because…” co-written by Ronna and her BA50 Partner Felice Shapiro, a perfect gift for the birthday girl in her 50’s! 

  7 comments for “How My 40 Year Love Affair Ended

  1. Sharon Manchel
    July 22, 2014 at 6:19 am

    as your resident closet cleaning helper I demand dibs on the Jimmy Choos!
    I remember those Jack Rogers and how happy you were when you bought them, especially because they were a high heel wedge! We thought they were the best of both worlds! High and comfortable…
    FYI- flat slip on sneakers (with fur, prints, bling….) are the rage… all brands

    • Ronna Benjamin
      July 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

      flat slip on sneakers? Gotta check those out! Are they sexy?

  2. Melissa Benjamin
    July 22, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Mom – those converses look fantastic, they are so age-appropriate and fun!

    If I were you I’d toss those jimmies (particularly those pink ones) right into a fedex envelope addressed to my apartment. I’m sure it would feel so liberating!

    • Ronna Benjamin
      July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

      oooh, do I detect a note of sarcasm on the Converses comment? Don’t forget there is another daughter who might like those jimmies…

  3. susan
    July 22, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Sadly, my “well heeled” days were over long ago–problem feet. Comfortable casual shoes aren’t an issue. The biggest challenge is finding low or flat very dressy shoes WITH SUPPORT appropriate for events such as weddings etc.

    Any shoe manufacturers listening out there??

  4. July 22, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I feel your pain, I had to bag my high heels for a few months after an accident. One of my goals for physiotherapy was: “To wear my Coach sandals.” My PT gave me an eye roll and I tuned him out when explained what happens to spinal alignment when wearing heels. But I’m back in my favorite 3 1/2 heels and eyeing those 4 inch black patent pumps resting in their box until I can manage them.

    How do you feel about large purses? I wear my–gag–sensible shoes and then exchange them for my heels.

    Jimmie Choo has some adorable lower heeled options this season, too. /enabler

    • Ronna Benjamin
      July 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Love large purses too, but now I judge if I like the purse by its weight without anything in it….oh my…what is happening? So glad you are back in the heels!

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