“I imagined you differently,” the nice woman tells me.
“I hear that sometimes,” I reply.
She nods, clearly disappointed. I’m not what she expected. I look like a Lady Who Does Lunch because that’s precisely what I have done today: shopped and lunched. This is not the usual for me.
I’m suddenly aware of my Glamazon status and five-inch stratospheric heels. That day, I’m particularly dressed up, even though I’ve gotten really good at dressing down lately. If I haven’t seen you in many years, you might even exclaim in surprise, “You’re wearing flats!” I used to be not so down-to-earth—literally—hovering numerous inches above terra firma. Nowadays, though, I’m nearly always in flat shoes unless social duty calls.
I make a mental note to do some research into high heels as soon as our conversation is over. I want to know all about this mad invention and the person responsible for inflicting it on the world. I mean “mad” as in ludicrous, not as in “brilliant scientist.” High heels were not a brilliant invention. If that were the case, we would be saying “the greatest invention since high heels” rather than “the greatest invention since sliced bread.” It makes me wonder if the inventor wore his own invention or just chose to impose this agony on others. I want posthumous justice!
Later, I Google “high heels” and learn that skyscraper footwear was originally worn by men for equestrian purposes, to prevent the rider’s foot from sliding forward in stirrups. It seems like they’re a once-functional item turned fashionable. Much like food: What was once bare sustenance and necessary for human survival is now consumed in epic proportions and abundance. What a gift!
However, food is delicious and stilettos are not.
The stiletto was crafted—as you likely guessed—by a non-stiletto-wearing male who created a whole new specialized form of tyranny. And yet, I still occasionally happily renew my membership to The Society of Stilettos. Isn’t life ironic? We get all bent out of shape about many things, except for the one thing that is, quite literally, bending us out of shape.
According to Wikipedia, “During the 16th century, European royalty such as Catherine de Medici and Mary I of England started wearing high-heeled shoes to make them look taller or larger than life. By 1580, men wore them as well, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as ‘well-heeled.’”
Apparently, blue blood is responsible for inflicting red-soled shoe torture.
I resolve to add one more item to my self-growth bucket list: One day, I will wear flat shoes to a wedding and heal from my heels.
Who’s with me?