Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Do all kids go through a "dress-up" phase where they try on adult clothes or at least think about trying them on? I remember one instance when I succumbed to this particular curiosity. I was maybe ten or eleven. But it wasn't really clothes, per se. No dresses or hats or ties for me. It was the shoes.

They were my mother's: pumps the color of straw and of a basket-weaving design. These shoes were new, too, and they were nestled into the corner of the closet. My mother never wore shoes with heels though and she wasn't meek about her opinion on such scandalous shoes. Women who wore pumps had "horse-feet" and she told me that constant use completely ruined their feet. How was I to argue? It seemed reasonable enough to me considering the abnormal positions the shoe put the foot in.

My mother never bought those pumps. I think some trendy relative gave them to her. But nonetheless, those shoes held some sort of fascination. Was it because it made me taller? Gave me a glimpse who I would be when I grew up? Was it somehow that these shoes made me more trendy and pretty than I normally was. Or was it only false confidence?

I never had many shoes. When I had been in grade school, my shoe collection consisted solely of a pair of worn sneakers and an unsightly pair of low-heeled white dress shoes. It wasn't because my parents didn't want to spend money on shoes; they just thought the money would be spent better elsewhere. Even now, I don't have that many shoes: just some worn boots for winter, hiking boots for summer, the sneakers, the low-heeled dress shoes.

But I have a thing for shoes with heels. Once, on an emergency shopping trip looking for black shoes to go to an orchestra concert (I had forgotten them at home, 2,000 miles away), I came across a pair that would give anyone nosebleeds. They were shiny and black and had thick heels that would increase the height of the wearer by four or five inches. If my mother had been there, she would had shaken her head and adamantly had me try on a different heel-less pair. But she wasn't there.

So I bought them.

Perhaps my fascination with heeled shoes, or any shoe for that matter, that gives the wearer extra inches in height stems from my dissatisfaction with how short I really am. People don't really take you as seriously when you're the shortest person in the room. But with those black shoes, I felt more like an equal. And at moments, I could even sample a bit of the domination and intimidation powers that naturally tall people had all the time.

I rarely wear those shoes, though. They're too dangerous to handle on a daily basis.

Cross-posted on Syaffolee.

1 comment:

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