June 2, 2006 (thing)
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My black leather criss-cross low heeled slides happen to be the best looking, best feeling, best overall best in show shoes that have ever had the pleasure of dressing up my dainty tootsies. Except that as I reflect, the open-toed stiletto heeled two-tones do very nice things for the line of my leg. Then of course one can't overlook the surprising comfort of my tan leather Brazilian three-inch-heeled sandals. Ai, let's face it, I've grown a shoe-gland. Located in the arch of the foot, the shoe-gland secretes an endorphin when you see, buy, or wear a really great shoe. This endorphin negates the pain of pinched toes, tired calves and blistered heels.
But a great shoe, and great shoes cost money, has the added benefit that it only hurts you for a day or two while you and it adjust to one another. After the initial pain, it's beautiful. You walk better, even with a little strut, which actually makes people react better to you. Other women now have an opening line to make contact with you. "Hey, nice shoes," she'll say, and then you tell her where you got them, and that opens up a world of relating and listing which are conversations between busy women.
Me being the me that I have become, of course I usually slip in the gaffe that stops the conversation, which means that I have to start it again. It goes something like this:
"Thanks, I got these at DSW with my husband."
"Your husband takes you shoe shopping?"
"Sure, he likes it. What he usually does is sits me on a stool and fetches shoes I might like to try. Then he puts them on my feet and tells me to walk around."
"Um, you know, he wants me to be happy..."
"I know, not every guy is into shoes like that..."
"My husband wouldn't notice I had on new shoes until he saw the bill."
"Oh. Well. Papi is different."
One might be tempted to think that the other woman is jealous, but if she were, she would talk about the things her husband also does for her. This, I notice, never happens. What has happened between her and me is that I have revealed my weakness; no woman who wears great shoes and has some very fetching outfits should ever admit that she cannot shop. Other women may complain that all their husbands do at the mall is sit in chairs and whine about the tools they are not looking at. That complaint is really a source of pride. My husband, it asserts, is intimidated by my shopping prowess. Yours, darling, has to help you.
Essentially, I have not earned my fabulous shoes because I did not hunt them myself. My shopping strategy is the equivalent of shooting a predetermined number of quail that have been clipped and stuffed in tangles of weeds. I partly blame my upbringing. Our mothers are supposed to teach us the ways of the department store. They should show us how to gather quantities of merchandise and weed out the ill-fitting and the unflattering. Mine had very little patience left after dealing with other teenage girls all day -- she taught English in a Girls Catholic High School -- and so the shopping didn't happen often.
Of course, I could have gathered the lore myself later, shopping with friends and such. Well, I didn't. I'm a hard-head and I learn slowly. One friend did make valiant attempts to educate my hunter-gatherer instincts. There was some improvement, but it didn't last.
Landing me where I am today, being helped to shoes and clothes by my husband. Well, fine. Good, in fact. Wonderful, even. So I'm a dysfunctional shopper. I have found the man with the patience and care to help me past that, so that I look well despite my lack of talent.
The next step is keeping my mouth shut.