In 1996 I discovered the beauty of high heels. I was living in Italy where passing shoe stores is as ubiquitous as eating pasta. Maybe it was the shiny leather or the fact that next to the nattily adorned Italians I felt like the Griswalds’ Cousin Eddie, but I soon found myself learning to walk on cobbled streets in high heels. At first the pain was excruciating. How did these Italian women do it? But then, like an Olympian learning to train through the hurt, I forged into the fire and out onto the other side. From that point on, I was a heels woman. No sneakers for me; no comfy Docksiders. I even traveled with my heels. From London to Bangladesh to Santiago to New Guinea, I saw it all in a pair of heels.
During my heels years, I would look down my elevated nose on the ladies I knew who didn’t teetertotter around town. Much to my dismay, even my own mother insisted on wearing her Easy Spirits one summer in Paris. Did these women not understand how dreadfully unstylish they were being? And then the ballet flat craze hit the states and instead of spending my rent money of 4 inch stilettos that made my toes bleed, I started buying flats. Green ones, blue ones, sparkly ones, poo ones. (I mean brown – poo just rhymed better) I loved feeling like Audrey Hepburn and I never looked back…until now.
The other day I perused my shoe collection and realized A) I haven’t purchased a pair of high heels in at least 5 or 6 years and B) I wasn’t wearing the heels I’d almost made myself homeless for in the first place. Had I become one of those women who put comfort over fashion? I looked down at my sweatpants and slightly stained t-shirt. Oh God. I had!
That very night we had a party to go to and I slipped into my LBD and a pair of yellow velvet heels. I took out the ponytail holder (that I think might have been in my hair for about 5 months now) and I remembered what it felt like to use a hairbrush. By the end of my ministrations, I looked like a brand new me and I was fit to hit the town. But by the time we got to our destination, I was beyond ready to take off the #$@%!^& yellow velvet heels. Gingerly I walked from the car to the front door, wincing with each step down the sidewalk. I used to do this daily? Was I on drugs? The pain was unbearable!
And then we were inside and I realized that I had to stay in the torture devices the whole time. Why had I not thought to bring a change of shoes? Where were my Naturalizers when I needed them? All night, instead of being fabulous and high heeled, I was grumpy and wobbly. Who can concentrate on making witty repartee when the bones in your feet are being crushed? I was ready to go home to my Uggs, my sweatpants, and my slightly stained t-shirt about 5 minutes ago. And that was when I realized…I used to wear high heels, I think. Or maybe I just dreamed it.