On the rare occasion when I am feeling especially skinny and toned, I don’t mind wearing dresses and high heels.
But as much as I love the way the ratio of dress swagger to 90 degree foot angle looks, the stilted shoes always end up hurting my body. I look at women who wear heels day in and day out with extreme admiration, as I usually perceive them as a modern day torture device. They elongate the leg and make the toes look so sparkly and happy, yet as someone who lives with a perpetually broken foot (see my story, “No Pain, No Gain”) wearing heels for any period of time usually sends me at any public gathering/bar mitzvah/wedding/night club to the ‘miserable people table’ soon after wearing them.
The other day I had a vision of me wearing those older lady shoes you usually see on women in their eighties. You know the kind, large rounded toes, often shaded an alluring taupe or Emergency-Room-nurse-white, accompanied by wide velcro straps. I wondered secretly, What would happen if we started to see supermodels wearing outstandingly cool clothes yet with cinder block footwear. Do you think the trend would catch on? Or is the whole point of heels to make women look like prey, balancing on a tiny heel to make them that much more appealing or “capturable”? (I just made that term up.) I honestly don’t know, but I do know that every wardrobe decision I make is based around what shoes I’m going to wear.
It determines what inevitably will be the extension of my personality that day. And it’s kind of a bummer. I don’t always want to be the tough gal in boots, or the quirky girl wearing clunky flats with an elegant dress. I too want to wear heels, looking a few sexy inches taller, butt perk at attention when I walk into a room commanding a Rawr. But dammit to hell, there’s always a price to pay.
In college I went through a phase where I wore only Birkenstock shoes, proudly roaming the Boulder campus looking like Peppermint Patty. To try to put into words how ugly these little foot boats are on simply everyone, well frankly it’s an impossible task. But I dare you to picture Heidi Klum in a pair of navy Birks shoveling mulch. Ok, now add some hairy armpits and B.O. Sexy n’est pas? (I mean, this actually is sexy, but in an entirely different way.) Yet, who knew that cork was so comfortable? I don’t know how easy it is to get one’s hands on a slab of cork, but I sure wish I knew how to make a pair. But if you Google, “How to make homemade shoes”, every image that pops up appears remarkably Dutch, which makes me think, will I get a free windmill with purchase? Here’s a quote from one image I found:
The total cost of this project is less than $50 and, will take under 20 hours.
Under 20 hours? This of course means the person spent like, 19 hours and change cobbling together these shoes. So then I picture me spending 19 hours doing this, hunched over my kitchen table, wearing old timey magnifying glasses and a tattered apron and then all of a sudden I’m an aging bald man who has massive thumbs and I’m trying to push a giant needle into a slab of leather with my arthritic fingers. Holy hell, the attempt to do this myself seems slightly less exciting.
Another video I just found online starts off with the caption, “Imagine you had the freedom to express yourself, not through words… but then intercut are images of little elfin shoes with giant rounded toe boxes, twine shoelaces and metal eyelets that no doubt were worn in the Shire. It was then I realized, I had dived* into something much deeper. The internet is not only a place where a dancing cat will remind everyone it’s your birthday, but also a place for knowledge, and inspiration.
“Welcome to the wonderful world of shoemaking!” They explain, while slightly too loud a glockenspiel chimes in the background. I half expect the next shot to be of a house made of candy canes and fudge and a little old lady with a silver bun, rosy cheeks and razors for teeth inviting me inside to taste the flavor of her walls and doorknobs.
Watching this video I immediately learn, (before the old lady tries to push me into the oven) that the science of shoemaking is called “Shoeology”. But I am only 45 seconds in, so who knows, maybe this is going to be a video on how to mix a cocktail inside a penny loafer. Ten seconds later, after having to read more text, Blech! I see the bait and switch. They want to talk about their amazing “miracle mold soling”. Or as we lay people might call it, the bottoms of our shoes. I’m guessing they are about to try and sell me some sort of glue or plaster. And here I thought I was going to learn how to make shoes like an award winning Dutch cobbler, when in fact, this was just a glorified glue commercial. Oh Internet, you bested me once again. I can’t help but watch a few more minutes because, well, I’m still in bed this early morning and only looking through one of my eyes, so my bar is starting off pretty low.
But guess what I discover?! You can order their fancy feet-bottom thingies and cook them in the oven. Like a Shrinky Dink! And then you attach that to your feet and blammo! You’ve made a shoe. I think there is some industrial sized sewing involved as well, but hell if I’m going to own a sewing machine. I can’t even drive a stick shift. But to think that all it takes to make your own sexy, I-own-a-windmill-look-at-the-tulips-growing-all-around-me pair of shoes is this miracle mold-well, sign me up Amazon, cause I’m not going to be a slave to my shoe needs any more. From here on out, I’m going to make shoes that are sexy and can double as dog sleds. According to this video I can make heels from this stuff! Heels! They will be made of this cushy, corky goodness, so it looks like my Peppermint Patty has found her grown up pal. Yes, the heels will look like loaves of french bread, but still, I’ll get the butt perks either way. And yes, I may look more like a baker or a human posing as a tree trunk, but I’m finally going to get my high heel vindication! With this new found sense of shoe freedom, I feel the urge to sleep. So that’s that. I’m going to stop typing with my eyes closed and head back to bed. I mean, I am still in my bed and pretty much already sleeping, which is usually a sign I’m doing good work, or I’ve once again bored myself to sleep.
We’ll see how the shoes turn out in my dreams. Mic drop/laptop drop. Thanks Dad for the typing lessons, they have really come in handy.*
*Note to reader, the last paragraph of this essay was written with not only my eyes closed, but as it turns out, I was, in fact, asleep. So I’ve decided to just let the essay play out as is to prove that one doesn’t need to be conscious to be creative. One only needs to retain the knowledge of basic typing skills and that’s also why it appears the last sentence of the essay is me thanking my Dad for typing lessons. So even though I hated the fact that instead of getting to go to the cool kid after-school dance, I had to stay in and take a typing lesson from the substitute teacher with chronic Halitosis, I am grateful now that I can remember how to type without looking at my fingers. And plus I hear that the music that night was all New Kids On The Block, meh.
*I looked up the proper usage of this word for half an hour, and to the best of my knowledge it is used correctly in this sentence, but hell if it still doesn’t sound weird. At least you know I tried to get my grammar on point.