The last time I heard a kind word from someone in the retail end of the footwear business was September of 1964.
That was the year I turned 13 and went from a fairly average 5'3" to my current 5'10" in about 12 minutes flat. If I could have turned green at the same time, I could have been The Incredible Hulk's sidekick, the Incredible Hulkette.
(Don't think I'm not bitter about not becoming The Incredible Hulkette. I am, eh. I've just worked through it.)
But enough about What Might Have Been ...
So anyhow, that fall my stepmom and I walk into the shoe store to get shoes for school. Somehow, I had kept my feet curled in my old way-too-small sneakers (think Chinese women and bound feet). My stepmother was not prepared for the fact my feet had gone from size 5 to size 10 in the same 12 minutes I had grown six inches taller. She gasped.
The shoe salesman, bless his heart, turned to my stepmother and said, "Lovely tall trees need good roots."
That's it, that's my golden footwear memory. It's all downhill from there, folks. *Marn blots a sentimental tear.*
Oh, go ahead and laugh, you tiny women and your itsy bitsy Cinderella shoes. Ford shares my pain, she too knows how it feels to live in footwear hell, to have feet that are on the .:cough:. unique .:cough:. side.
Um, because not only are my feet long, I must confess that they are also wide. I wish I didn't have to admit this, but my feet and I have something of a tawdry past, eh. For years I lived in denial and jammed my poor tootsies into shoes they were NEVER meant to wear.
Yes, I've put the "victim" into fashion victim more than once. Oh, the shame, the humiliation ...
Let's see ... I had way too narrow go-go boots in the '60's which I wore with fish net stockings. (I spit on you, Nancy Sinatra, and your "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" because THOSE boots most assuredly weren't).
There was a pair of eight inch high platform shoes back in the early '70's (curse YOU David Bowie and all your glitter evil) that made me twist my ankles so many times that today said joints have all the strength of overcooked spaghetti.
We won't mention jamming my tootsies into this relict of the '80's. (Shall we all sing Jane Siberry's "Red High Heels"?). Picture Dustin Hoffman wobbling around in "Tootsie" and you pretty much have my gait in these puppies.
There are some sights that are just too sad to contemplate, and me in these shoes would be one of them.
Shall we fast forward to the '90's and the light at the end of the tunnel?
One of the last bastions of the Great Sexual Divide is a shoe store. Most other items of clothing are pretty much unisex, but shoe stores are very gender specific. You've got your men's side and you've got your women's side and if you are missing that oh so crucial Y chromosome you're supposed to stay on the girlie side.
Except that I wear a perfect man's eight. And men's shoes are naturally made wider than women's shoes. Dollar for dollar, men's shoes are also made infinitely better than women's shoes.
So ... one day I took a deep breath, went to the other side of the store, and got my first pair of guy's shoes. I thought the salesman would have a cow, eh, which made me feel even more embarrassed, but even you know what? It was worth it.
I got comfort, good fit and wonderful workmanship. I found nirvana. I ain't never going back to the girlie side again.
My current best beloveds are a pair of Doc Marten's wondrous bits of footwear. If it wasn't for the fact the shoes weigh about 80 pounds each and have a sole so deeply ribbed that it can pick up about 32 pounds of dog crap should you step into a dog bomb, I would call them perfect.
(My mom-in-law has a rottweiller with a propensity for pooping in the most unusual places. I speak about the poop carrying abilities of my shoes from a position of authority.)
So what brought on this historic march through my footwear history?
Well, a few weeks ago I dug out my winter stuff and my poor boots are just finished, and it's time to get a new pair. When I hit the shoe stores this week, all I could find was platform boots madness, which makes no sense for a woman living a quarter mile up the side of a mountain. There are times the skidoos don't work and I gotta hoof it up here.
So I've resigned myself to the fact that next weekend I'm going to have to go into Montreal and find me some boots.
Isn't that just the way? I've barely got my loins ungirded from my visit to the dentist and now I'm going to have to regird them so I can stare down some snooty Montreal shoe salesman who's going to try to push me over to the *shudder* girlie side of the store.
If there's a patron saint for boot shopping women, let me know, 'kay? I have a feeling I'm going to need all the help I can get.
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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