Ten years ago (almost) I wrote a thing. I have updated it and here it is.
The seductive lure of another bargain in these straightened times got the better of me. (It still does except now I shop online.)
I mean to say EVERYTHING in the world seems to be on sale or at a reduced price. (And because it is online somewhere in the world at all times of the night and day, the temptations are huge.) These ridiculous discounts combined with low interest rates and uncertain financial times (as I am retired, the financial times are more certain – I am consistently poor) raise the imperative to buy now and to … as my grandmother always said … Stock Up…while I can.
A local shoe shop was offering up to 40% off and I needed ( Yes! Needed!) a new pair of high(ish) heeled black court shoes for work. (Yes! Work!). (These shoes are now languishing at the back of my wardrobe unworn and covered in dust.)
It was the very end of the sale. For the previous three weeks (two of which I had been out of the country ) I am proud to say I had resisted buying shoes on behalf of my overdraft and New Zealand’s debt position, but 40% off all stock! Finding a park right outside the store meant this purchase was destined to be. (It is difficult to find a park anywhere in Wellington because the council is trying to make people stop driving cars and so this wouldn’t happen now. Retailers take notice.)
I went in and looked at what was left. Evidently other women had also been compelled to put things aside for a really rainy day in the spirit of their grandmothers.
One pair of high heels (the only pair left) called to me as soon as the door softly clicked behind me.
‘Buy me … buy me …’ they called. ‘I am a bargain and I look sooo good.’ (I am older now and know that shoes can’t really talk.)
‘OK my heel does look very high but if you just try me on, you will see I am also high in the front and so you will not be pitched perilously forwards with every step. Your feet will not ache and your bunions will not sprout little bunions and ….(and then the kicker so to speak)- you will be able to walk in me, I promise I am not another pair of ‘sitting down shoes’. And OK I am made from raw calf hide and am a little bit hairy and will be hard to keep clean especially in the wet but then hey….that’s fashion…..dahhlink!’
So I slipped my (oh so young) 54 year old feet into the shoes and they were telling the truth – I could walk in them. (Inside the shop.)
I was not pitched forward into the abyss of gaucheness. In fact I could say hand on heart and standing still, these gorgeous shoes looked FAAAbulous!(Inside the shop.)
So of course rather than letting these beauties at a bargain basement price go to waste… I stocked up!
And lay awake all that night, planning exactly how I was going to manage to walk from the car to the airport to the plane to the taxi to work to the airport to the plane and back to the car in such high heels and not feel the pain.
The flat comfortable and perfectly fashionable boots, now in the back of the wardrobe … sniggered.
But a bargain is a bargain and new shoes are new shoes. I wore them and I could walk in them. From the car to the airport, which mercifully is a flat space. Lord knows what would have happened if I had had to walk downhill.
(This was when I realised that the shoes had lied to me.) (And yes I do know shoes can’t talk.)
My toes crushed against the front of the shoe reminding me of gruesome pictures from not so ancient China and women with bound feet, mishappen by years of feeding the need for women to be sexually available to men ( i.e. they were completely unable to run or even hobble at speed to get away should they need to.)
As I employed some basic mind over matter pain management techniques on the walk to the plane, I asked myself….How do women like Victoria Beckham and the Duchess of Cambridge (you know the others) manage to teeter about the world looking … Fabulous … (and still do and they are ten years older too.) Not only that they (still) make it look so bloody easy and (worse) deceptively comfortable.
Hell these women look like they could run the New York marathon in their Louboutins.
Not for them the oh so practical flatties from Birkenstock, Kumfs and the like. Good honest shoes which can take a working women to any occasion in comfort. (Now my brands of choice – year round except when I am wearing Uggs, which is all winter.)
As I hobbled (Thank Goodness I no longer do this) up the steps of the plane and then hobbled more dangerously down the five steps again (enough danger to have the attendant reach out in alarm as I teetered and towered over the poor woman) in Hamilton, I realised that I am no longer in the market for such shoes.(You were fifty-four. Bit of a slow learner.)
I am not the best of women. (Still not.)
I am not so rich (Definitely not) that I do not need to work and therefore I can’t wear sitting down shoes all day because I don’t. (Now I am a full time writer the irony is that I do now sit down all day.)
I am not so beautiful and young I can stare languidly (aka mindlessly) off into the distance – immobile- while people take of me photos for glamorous magazines. (As if!)
I do move and sitting down shoes are lets face it- NOT AN OPTION!
I am not so smart people come to me and I do not have to go to them.
I am not so organised and clever and wealthy I have a ‘staff’ of people who do my housework, drive my car, bring my plane to me on the runway or who buy my groceries for me and then put them away in the kitchen without me even knowing.
I am not so anatomically perfect, I can walk in these shoes without wobbling, falling over or developing painful bunions, black toenails and/or worn out knees.
I am not the woman these shoes were obviously designed for. (Looking back I am not sure I ever was.)
I am not the ideal woman of the magazines or movies or TV chat shows, catwalks, awards ceremonies, rock concerts, advertisements and I am not an Essex girl, or a gypsy bride or Paris Hilton wannabe. These are the BEST women aren’t they? Or why would so many shops, magazines, shows and gossip columns advance them as the feminine role model? (And sadly still do except more so. A Kardashian any one.)
I am older. (Add ten years to that older.) I have sore feet and worse … sore knees ( don’t start me on the effects on knees of high heels). I have incipient bunions. (After a year of wearing gumboots, Birkenstocks, Ugg slippers and flat boots, my knees and bunions have improved considerably.)
I like to walk fast, I live in a city with hills and mud and stairs and other people who walk fast and don’t want to have to get a crick in their neck to hold a conversation with me.( I live in the country and walk the dogs every day on flat ground. Yes I do miss the hills because they help kept my bum in shape).
My new shoes are now in the side of the wardrobe where the ‘sitting down shoes’ lurk waiting for the days when I want to feel glamorous and languid, and when I know I will not have to walk far.
(Different wardrobe, still in the sitting-down-shoe-section where they wait for my grandchildren to be born and get old enough to come and play dress-ups in them … but that’s another blog.)