I tried going shoe shopping but what I found instead were shelves full of brightly colored stilts. “Am I expected to actually walk in these?” I said aloud to no one in particular. A sales girl smiled and said, “You know, some women can’t walk in flats.” I bit my tongue just in time to stop myself from saying in a perfect imitation of my Grandmother, “Yes, Child, but those women are whores.”
I’ve suffered through platforms, mules, clogs, wedges, and pointy-toed shoes which made no sense at all. My foot is not shaped like a triangle. It’s really more of a rhombus. Who knew that being born with all 10 toes, five on each foot, would be a fashion liability? And now it looks like I’m expected to stumble around on rulers. This is a far cry from the kitten heels my Mom only let me wear on special occasions. And even further from my little half inch, patent leather Mary Janes. Can I get a cute pair of shoes that don’t treat my feet like the enemy?
The American Podiatric Medical Association said women’s shoes today are “bio-mechanically and orthopedically unsound.” And that’s to say nothing of the resulting corns, bunions, and pinched nerves. Apparently pretty shoes and pretty feet do not exist in the same universe. That’s probably why they’re called “leave ‘em on shoes.” If you slip off those Hookers-at-the-Point-Pumps in a romantic moment, you could really ruin the mood with your shoe-deformed feet.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all about the cuteness, but where do we draw the line? Back in 1800's women in Austria wore seven-inch heels as a status symbol. If you couldn’t walk then you couldn’t work. I should say not. If I wore heels that high I wouldn’t move either. You’d have to wheel me around like Hannibal Lecter.
With women’s heels steadily creeping higher we seem to be thong-deep in what my friend Carole calls the Stripperization of America. But what troubles me is that I wasn’t shoe shopping in Strippers-R-Us. I was in Bakers. Bakers! That’s somewhere between Naturalizers and Nine West. I thought I was safe.
I was afraid to try on a pair of these striptastic shoes for fear a pimp would pop out of the box and say, “Get to work, bitch!” Now, I don’t have anything against prostitution as a profession practiced by willing adults, on some level that characterizes any and all exchanges of work for hire. But somehow I just don’t think I’m cut out for the sex trade. Nobody likes a funny ho: “Two pimps walk into a bar…” See what I mean?
Now Bakers did manage to cobble together a small selection of flats and low-heeled shoes. They were carelessly arranged in a poorly-lit, dusty corner of the store. It looked like a rundown hood mini-mart in the middle of a Trader Joe’s. I got the message:
Ladies: wear these ugly but sensible shoes and you’ll walk in comfort, but you will walk alone. You will live an unhappy, lonely, and loveless life. Men will scorn you, children will curse you, and thug rappers will never put you in their videos. Do you want that? Answer me! Do you want that? No? Then put on the shoes and pay the pimp in the box!
The good news is I left Bakers without buying the shoes. The not so good news is I bought two pairs for less than the price of one at DSW. So I saved on price but lost on principle. Disappointed? Me too but as Stephen King wrote in The Tommy Knockers, "Even the very intelligent are not immune to a steady barrage of propaganda." But so far, no pimp.