There was a lot of talk in the news a couple months ago about the Cannes Film Festival refusing women entry because they were not wearing high heels. Evidently it is extremely important for your toes to be numb in order to properly enjoy a movie. If you have a uterus that is. If not, feel free to enjoy circulation throughout your body as you sip wine and eat crudités.
I have, for a very long time, felt uncomfortable wearing high heels. I am extremely clumsy, and teetering on under-oxygenated feet while at work or a fancy party just seems akin to walking around blindfolded – why increase the chances of a mishap so dramatically? But heels look so good, and can make you feel really sexy. if you are someone else, who isn’t worried about toppling over or counting down the minutes until she can pull a Britney Spears and go barefoot.
I used to joke that I knew I was old when I decided it was more important to not die of frostbite than to arrive at a club or bar without a coat. Now I know that I am even older because I will design any look for any occasion based on the flattest, most comfortable footwear I can get away with wearing. My daughter serves as a convenient excuse for this pattern, as it is much easier to chase, squat, and otherwise entertain a toddler in my favorite pair of chucks than in a pair of high heels. But my shoe preference has more to do with my nearly 40 years than her 2 years.
For certain events, though, a pair of heels is desirable. When R and I went out to celebrate our recent wedding anniversary, for example, I wanted to get dolled up. You know, wear the fancy sweatpants for a change. I actually put on a cute dress, did my makeup, ditched my customary ponytail, and dug out a pair of low but heeled shoes. I looked pretty cute. As I was doing a final outfit review and verifying that I had no exposed underpants or makeup smudges, I decided that I should blow dry my hair a bit to make it look even more like I was an adult and not a recently escaped sanitarium patient. Yes folks, I was going all out. I went from our bathroom, out into the hall, into my daughter’s bathroom, and snagged my hair dryer. I started to head back to our bathroom, hair dryer in hand, when my ankles decided they were no longer fluent in high heels, and I tripped on myself. I bobbled the hair dryer, did a half spin, and landed on my butt, inches from the top step of the staircase. In a message that might as well have been signed “Love, The Universe”, the hair dryer landed on my right ankle. I switched to ballet flats. After all, if I was that nimble sober…
Accepting that I am simply past the point of even trying to wear heels has been very freeing. I donated a lot of shoes. I gained a lot of storage space. And I have, most importantly, stopped fucking worrying about it when I have to look nice. I own nice flat shoes that do not look like they were purchased at a medical supply store. And better yet, I know that I will not be seen flailing for balance, with a look that is equal parts resignation and panic on my face, as I fall over into a puddle. And better still, I can just say that heels aren’t me, and put another little tick mark next to something that I have finally accepted about myself. Here’s to enjoying events without wondering how many toes I will have sacrificed by the end of the night!