In the middle of the department store, I take a huge cleansing breath. Like a new car smell, the scent of new shoe is intoxicating. This is no ordinary “I’ll see what’s out there” tire-kicking kind of browsing.
I’m in for a serious purchase. A new pair of heels.
Like most women, I adore shoes. Different colors, textures, heel heights. They can change an outfit, my mood and my confidence level. I know this is nothing new. I imagine the bizarre, emotional women-and-shoes connection dates back to ancient Greece when women searched high and low for a solid gladiator style sandal to walk long distances and pick olives.
My search hopefully, wouldn’t be so tough. With me, my wing man, Carol Ann. Her street name, Bargain Hunter. Full disclosure: she’s my mother.
I started looking, wandering from display to display.
“A heel makes your leg look so nice,” sighed my mother. “But I can’t wear heels like that anymore. Or like that. Or that either. My goodness, how high ARE those?”
And just like that, every heel I saw had a massive platform and sky-high heel. It didn’t matter how cheap or expensive. Apparently Jessica Simpson, Michael Kors and Stuart Weitzman had the same stripper shoe design conspiracy. I’m not talking a simple platform. I have platform shoes. I’m talking Elizabeth-Berkley-in-Showgirls heels.
“I can’t wear those!” I said to my mother, who nodded in agreement.
Wait, what am I saying? I can wear any shoe!
So I tried a pair on. And started staggering through the shoe department, looking like a slightly drunk desperate housewife in stripper shoes. I cursed the designers. The trend setters. The ones who are trying to guilt me into buying neon shirts and leggings.
And I had that feeling. Like the first time the girl at the make up counter called you “ma’am”. Or when you realized you’re too old to try out for American Idol. (just me?) Or you hear they’re remaking “Footloose”. (No one can top K. Bacon) It’s the realization you can’t wear all the trends without looking truly silly. And that made me feel kind of old. Am I old? Will I start to refer to my pants as “slacks”? Only buy sensible shoes? Complain that I’m always cold?
One thing I did know. I was a total wimp to let a display of platform shoes make me feel ancient.
See, I live in the real world. Those obnoxiously high platforms won’t work when I moderate a town hall meeting on state budget problems next week. They’re a tad impractical to wear picking my kids up from school. And I challenge anyone to do a grocery run with a quick stop at Target in those heels without begging for mercy.
So I said no thank you to the platform shoes with 10-inch heels.
Instead I treated myself to some 3 1/2 inch peep toe animal print heels. Take that, stripper pole.