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Shoe Miracles, Hubris and Life

April 21, 2014


My hair is like my life – it does its own thing no matter how badly I wish I could control it.  I am allowed small moments of victory which quickly evaporate, warning me that I am on the verge of hubris.

Hubris is a great concept.  Its bedfellows are Humility and Reality.  I’m sure it has other partners, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  Hubris takes an insane amount of pleasure in giving me enough rope to hang myself, so to speak, whenever I tackle the next rung on the ladder of Life.  (So many metaphors, so little time.)  It also likes to rub in my face that I am physically on the downhill side of retirement age, not the 30-something I feel like inside my head.  Life is bitchy that way.  As my editor says, ad infinitum, “Suck it up.”

All of this has to do with my attending a large conference this summer.  This conference has a dress code – business attire,  and an honest-to-God formal event.  My spouse will not accompany me to this particular conference for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is for something in which he has no personal interest (other than that it affects me greatly), and that he would be virtually on his own from dawn to dusk.  He has better things to do with the precious little free time he has.  Be that as it may, he also abhors formal events, so my wardrobe has managed to divest itself of formal accoutrements.  I needed to acquire appropriate clothing.

Since I’m not particularly a clothes horse by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, it was painful to make myself shop for duds I will wear perhaps once every 2-3 years.  However, I was blessed with a fantastic upscale consignment shop new to my neighborhood, and found nearly every article of clothing on my list there, sans underwear and footwear, and at a livable price.

I went with a basic black gown for the formal event, knowing I had a number of accessorizing options with that one.  The gown fits well, other than being much too long.  Before I could have it hemmed, though, I would need to have the shoes for it, and that shopping experience was not something I anticipated with joy.  You see, I live in athletic shoes – specifically cross-trainers and walkers.  Most of my day is spent walking around on hard floors or traversing stairs, all of which is murder on my aging joints.  Then I have the issue of my right foot.  This poor foot has been through a lot.  It was severely sprained during a motorcycle wreck, and has had two toes broken over the course of the years.  One of said toes has developed a touch of arthritis and is doing its best to become a hammer toe.  The sprain likes to re-manifest off and on.

This situation does not bode well for fancy shoes.  Fancy shoes don’t care about foot health and comfort.  They are all about their looks, like the stuck-up “popular” girl in high school who knows she is gorgeous and that every girl in school wants to look just like her.  Fancy shoes are superficiality embodied in manmade materials and tortuous form, not function.

Having dragged myself to Macy’s at the local mall because a friend informed me their dress shoes were on sale, I spent over ten minutes studying glitzy shoes.  I needed to sparkle a bit for this formal event.  God knows the rest of the people there surely would be.  With a classic black velvet gown, I wanted footwear that was both elegant and distinctive, but not all-out bling.

There seemed but two options for me:  flats or low heels.  I cannot wear spike heels, those six-inch stiletto jobs that make prima ballerinas cringe in horror.  Can’t do ‘em.  Not now, not ever.  I found no flats attractive enough to even consider.  A pair of strappy sandals with a 3-inch heel seemed my best bet.  They came in sparkly silver or sparkly gold.  Fine.  The sales lady went to retrieve pairs in my size for a try-on.   But while I waited, my eyes kept going back toward a pair of 4-inch-heel pumps centered in one of the displays.

This was a Cinderella shoe, gossamer black with lightly understated silvery dots swirling in patterns over the foot – and they were at least 4-inch heels.  My head chided me for even thinking about them, even though they would be the ultimate look with my gown.  My toes cramped up from my looking at these shoes.  Nope.  Not going there.

The strappy sandals arrived.  I took my time walking back and forth on the carpeting, eyeing them in the mirror.  They were lovely and quite sparkly, and would certainly be fine, but they weren’t perfect.  After a few minutes they also nearly gave one of my toes a blister.  I plopped back into a chair and looked longingly at the pumps.  The sales lady waited patiently for my verdict.

“I know they’ll probably kill my feet, but I’d really like to try those on,” I confessed, sheepish.

She giggled and brought a pair of the pumps out to me.

What happened next was a miracle.  The shoes fit.  Well.  They didn’t hurt my toes after a couple of minutes.  They made my feet look fabulous, lack of nail polish notwithstanding.  I knew full well that this illusion of comfort would not persist after walking in them for an hour or more, but WTH.  They were on sale.  I bought them.

Back home, I threw on the dress and the shoes.  The dress was still too long.  It would need about 3” taken off, but when I raised the hemline and saw the shoes with the dress, I could have cried.  I auditioned some of my accessories and there was almost no look that I would not be completely at ease with.  Cinderella is alive and well, but  she’s not in Orlando, guys, and while she may be gray around the edges, she’s headed for conference in style

  1. They’re gorgeous shoes. 🙂 Congratulations on a great match (and feet that don’t hurt!)

  2. Great post, Terry! When I think how much I used to LOVE dressing up…

    • Oh gosh, Liz! Yep. Think it brings out the girl-child in all of us. Even though I’m always ready to ditch the fancy rags and shoes as soon as an event is over and slip back into “grubby stuff” I’m also glad to have the occasional opportunity to downright sparkle!

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