Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The heels. The cuteness. The pain.

I didn't think I'd ever get to this point.


I'm giving up heels. . . at least the three inch variety. And I guess it's mostly my fault. I just don't wear them enough to keep the old muscles in trim and after a few (okay, four straight) hours on my feet in heels, Saturday night, I was in pain. Real stomp-on-my-toes-and-listen-to-me-scream-pain. On the way home from the Harlequin party I actually considered taking off my shoes and walking barefoot back to the hotel. In the street! I swear, if Kat and Larry Martin hadn't been with us I would have.

And these are the babies that were responsible:

They don't look particularly evil, do they? Not even particularly high. The three inches is as the back of the heel; the heel bed slants, so they don't seem so tall at first. And those little lucite bows draw your eye and make you think "cute" and make you forget all about the height factor. Until, of course, you've been standing in them for too long and that certain spot on your toes or the ball of your foot begins to hurt and by then it's already too late!

And you know what's worse? I can't get rid of them. I won't. I just LOVE them. A touch of whimsy and some cute. . . I'm such a sucker for cute. . . and the price was perfect. . . how could I ever get rid of such a loveable bargain?

You know. . . it's three/four days later and my toes are feeling much better and they're sitting on the floor of my closet, once again looking so adorable. And I'm putting them back on the shelf and telling myself I'll only wear them to events where I get to sit most of the time. Dinners. Indie films. Church. The library. I'll just be more prudent in HOW I wear them and HOW LONG. We can still be friends.

Okay, so I just had a momentary flash of insight. This is exactly how women get suckered into all kinds of bad relationships. We're the custodians of hope in our society. We can see possibilities in the most wretched and difficult situations and people. So we live in hope and persevere. . . wanting, expecting things to work out and change for the better. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. When they don't, we're surprised and bewildered. How could our hopes betray us and not fulfill our expectations?

Time for some reality here. Hope is fine for people and relationships. People and relationships can change and get better. Sometimes they don't, but they can. Which is why we sometimes continue to hope for good things from them and for them even after logic and other people have declared them a lost cause. Many a troubled kid, many a troubled marriage, many a failing friendship has been rescued by a woman who believed in the power of the human heart to change and grow. . . to bloom into something good and loving and productive. That is worthy hope. That is useful hope. The kind of hope we should never give up on.

But shoes? Shoes don't change. (Except to wear out over time and use.) They can't say I'm sorry and make it up to you with a night out or a candleit dinner. They just sit there looking cute and accepting your adoration without the slightest twinge of conscience. No need to reciprocate. No desire to please you or make you comfortable. To hope that they'll be better next time is kind of deluded. The next time I wear these cute things for four straight hours of standing, they'll do the same darned thing to me, and I'll be in Band-Aids for two days afterward. Again. And what are the odds that I'll be able to resist and not wear them to places and for durations that exceed what I know is sensible?

They tickle my fancy and make me smile. I adore looking at them. I'm not so crazy about wearing them. So I think I should do the sensible thing with them: glue them to a board and call them "Art." Because that's what they are to me.

Or I could stuff them under my desk and stick my feet into them from time to time when I'm feeling frisky and need to write something snappy and fun.

Hey, yeah.

Make them my writing shoes!

What about you? Have any beloved shoes that need to become sculptures? How did you and your footwear manage during the RWA Conference? Are you wearing Band-Aids? Have any shoes or clothes in your closet that are prisoners of hope? You know, if you give them away, somebody else might actually be able to wear them. . .


Michele Hauf said...

I think I enjoy shoe torture. I love 'em high and they always hurt. But I have no problem tugging them off and walking barefoot around others when that happens.
Though I did recently, reluctantly, heart-tuggingly, get rid of the black pair. They were twenty years old. The heels were worn. But they had this cool gold chain that straps around my ankle and dangles sexily. Not so sexy with my thicker ankles, though. Hence, the reason to get rid of them.

I find I never used to be a shoe person, but am becoming one now. But I don't like to spend too much, so the Target clearance aisles it is for me.

Sandy Blair said...

Love you blog!!



Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I'm finding the kinds of shoes I love are changing over time. I still admire (lust in my heart after) the graceful, sexy designer heels. But when it comes to buying, I'm more a sandal, wedge, and walking shoe person! Does that mean my stiletto days are behind me? Probably.

Hey, Stiletto Days. . . wouldn't that make a great book title?

And thanks, Sandy! Hope you come back and visit again!

Karen Foley said...

OMG, my feet still hurt when I woke up the morning after the Harlequin party! I, too, considered taking my little killers off and walking barefoot back to the hotel, but after witnessing what one man hacked onto the sidewalk, decided I could limp my way back, shoes on. I'm totally a sandal-girl. I like pretty slides and thongs that sport jewels and flowers, and next year I am so NOT wearing my black three-inch heels!! Fun post, and those shoes ARE adorable!

Anonymous said...

For years, I stomped around in HIGH heels, literally walked miles in them. My favorite pair was certainly a "FMP" pair... Red with a four inch heel. So what happened that I don't do that any more?

First, I had to have two bone spurs removed from between my toes on both feet. Even that didn't completely stop me.

Second - I fell and broke my ankle. I had to wear a cast for a couple of months. During that time, I had to wear a flat shoe of the "nonbroken" side. The muscles in my calves were thrilled to not putting on a show any more.

Third - the final nail in the high heel coffin was the total knee replacement I had last fall. Before the surgery, I couldn't straighten out my left leg, so I couldn't balance on heels. After the surgery, it just wasn't comfortable to be in heels.

I've seen so may picture of darling shoes from national and I am jealous. I wanna wear them too. I even went out and bought some after the last RWA conference. They now mock me from the shoe rack on my door.

Sigh. Darling shoes, however.

Sean and Anna said...

I've always been the super casual gal. I even wore Skechers under my wedding dress! There I was, looking so fancy and grown up in my cream wedding dress and underneath I was wearing a pair of black skate shoes. I didn't intend for that to be the case at all- I wanted to get married in jeans (we were in Vegas) but the family had a fit. So I ended up with the dress, thigh high stockings and heels. In the limo I had my friend crawl into my dress and remove the stockings (the pictures were a riot) and I tossed the heels right out the window! Anyways, back to shoes. I always wear my cute Mary Jane Crocs, or my Converse. No tempting, sexy heels for me. I like to look at them in store windows but I have yet to buy a pair.

Helen Brenna said...

Betina, those shoes are beautiful. I get the conflict. Heels help me feel dressy. Don't know why.

My feet were killing me after the HQ party, so I wore flats all day Saturday in prep for the awards ceremony. I'd bought a pair of Dr. Scholls silicone foot pads for sandals and they worked, not quite like magic, but made a big difference. I could still walk Sunday morning, anyway.

Maybe as the Baby Boomer gen ages, we'll get more and more options with shorter heels?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, Betina, those shoes are SO cute!

I've never had a shoe fetish. Feet are the part of my body I've always felt self-conscious about. Mama made a big deal about how fast they grew and how big they got, so I've never enjoyed shoe shopping. When I find a comfy pair of dress shoes, I wear them until they're really dated. I love flip flops and fun sandals. Boots are good too. I wore pointy spikes when I was a teenager. Those days are over.

Kathleen Eagle said...

"Corrective" shoes were big when I was a kid, too. If you were the least bit pigeon-toed, that's what the shoe clerks pushed, and Mama went for it until I was I don't know how old. Saddle shoes were about the only choice.

Any other Boomers remember "corrective" shoes?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, Hey...have you tried Blister Blocker? It rolls on kind of like a tiny stick of deodorant, dries like a little patch of invisible glue, and works pretty well. I carry it in my purse when I wear cruel shoes.

Christie Ridgway said...

I meant to try that Blister Blocker! All of my conference shoes hurt, but they were all darling, including the wedge sandals (they still pinched in places, but did not give me that ball-of-foot excruciating pain). Friday night a group of us walked to Scala for dinner ("only four blocks"--um, no) and we cried and laughed over our "bloody stumps."

I wouldn't give up my shoes for the world, though. And I DID walk barefoot through the streets of San Francisco, with Stephanie Laurens, whose shoes were also hurting and hers were Prada. I think high heels need to be saved for those brief standing/mostly sitting events, like you said, Betina.

lois greiman said...

Betina, were those the shoes you intended to take back? Cuz they're adorable!! As for me, I gave up high heels a few years ago when I was having trouble with my knees, but then I decided to believe it had nothing to do with my shoes and I now like 'em the higher the better. However, trudging from party to party at RWA I went barefoot all the time on the streets. I figure shoes look good dangling from fingers too. Huh?

My daughter's feet are now a half a size bigger than mine. It makes her so angry. She often tells me that a GOOD mother would have bound her feet years ago. Hmmmffff?!

Susan Kay Law said...

Betina, I think those would be worth it. They are SO fabulous!

I have several pairs of "looks only" shoes. The big problem - we go out to business dinners, and then my husband will suddenly decide we should just "wander down the street" for drinks afterwards . . . which is inevitably at least a FEW blocks, which I am improperly shod for. If he would simply tell me in advance, I could adjust appropriately!

Susie, whose toes went a little numb Saturday night but whose feet otherwise held up okay

Debra Dixon said...

My feet held up but I did take off the RITA shoes walk back up to my room barefoot.

They were/are gorgeous. Red "po-dez-swa" (sp?) 4" stiletto, peep toe, with small pleats forming a tiny ruffle around the top edge of the shoe and little red bows above the peep. FABULOUS.

The Harlequin party was a little rough on the feet, mostly because there was only a small bit of shoe across my toes to keep the very high heels on.

Keri Ford said...

My feet used to be soo tough. 5 days a week, 10 hours a day on concrete, and they have little choice but to be tuff. I could go for hours in those 4" stilettos. Dancing, shopping, whatever, I could do it.

Fast-foward to stay-at-home life. Now my feet hurt if I stand too long cooking dinner without my houseshoes on.

Betina Krahn said...

Karen, I'm thinking slides and wedges from now on. . . it's just that finding pretty ones can be a challenge.

Arkansas, Cyndi-- you're a survivor if there ever was one. Wear flats proudly and give thanks for every healthy step!

Kathy, I never had corrective shoes, but I know a lot of kids did. And my mom let me wear low pumps as soon as I was in junior high. . . had some great shoes by the time I was in high school. Hey, I have to try that blister blocker! Right away!

Christie and Lois, I was a little hesitant to go barefoot on the street. . . not quite as clean as I'd like. . . and then, there were Larry and Kat Martin, who always look so polished and fashion-conscious. I'd have felt like a schlump doing it around them. As it was, I probably just walked like a camel. Ugh.

Susie, you're the one gal I wouldn't expect to have lots of "looks only" shoes! You're so sensible in all other respects! lol. All except your choice of professions, that is. And yes, no matter how you tell yourself you won't be on your feet much, it always seems to happen, doesn't it?

And Deb-- oh, I'm longing for a glimpse of those shoes!

And to everybody-- thanks so much for commiserating with me on the shoe dilemma. We babes do suffer in the name of beauty. . . mostly willingly!

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, also. . .I have a really embarrassing moment linked to these shoes now. Should I spill it or save it for a "most embarrassing moment" post?

It involves one of my favorite editors. . .