Those Shoes Don't Make You Look Fat

Nothing rounds out a little Me Time like shopping for a pair of shoes. It’s more than the pursuit of a good bargain, it’s the racks upon racks of possibilities. Shoe shopping is the free market in all its glory. Women tend to like it. Men stay as far away as possible. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal.

Welcome to the Jungle

The other Saturday, I took some time for myself and headed to a coffee shop to catch up on some writing. On a table, I saw a super-sized shoe CLEARANCE ad in a circular. It was like an oracle. Or a sign from God. I wrote for a while but when the wi-fi cut off, I took it as a second sign. I was meant to shoe shop.

Passing into the Macy’s, I felt welcomed by the action and frenzy of the shoe department. It was as if a runway show was taking place and they were just waiting for me. Instantly, a black and white patterned pair of sling-backs caught my eye. I was drawn in and lost.

There’s something about the nature of a sale and soft carpet that make me feel like I can pull off anything. Sure I can wear a pair of PCV-plastic-jungle-leopard-skin pumps (those happen in nature) or three-inch kitten heels (perfect for the hike from the parking lot to my office).

Though I may try on over fifty pairs at a clip, I typically whittle down to one maybe two pairs at most. (OK, sometimes three) On this trip it was one. I was very proud of my frugal self. While I was showing my husband the sandals I mentioned the ones that got away, "I liked this other pair, but they made me look like a hooker."

"Oh," he said, "Let me see." He seemed interested.

"Well, I didn't BUY them." I said. This should have been obvious from use of the word hooker. So I added, “Obviously.”

"Of course," he said. I should have told him they were not on sale.

The Price of Frugality

Shoe shopping becomes our refuge from the world. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. When Janice came home from two weeks “vacation” herding her kids solo at her parent’s summer cottage, she announced that she was going out shoe shopping—alone. She spent $36 on a pair she described as the world’s-most-expensive-flip-flops. But she didn’t strangle the kids or her husband. So, I call that a bargain.

Another shoe experience entirely is the DSW. With inside caverns the size of fairgrounds, these stores feel like temples to shoes. The female-only clientele (I’ve never seen a man) walk around with bent heads in deep reverence to the shoes like vestal virgins tending the offerings. But the comparison ends there. No vestal virgin ever had kitten heels like mine. And the pulsating music, well, I don’t think they had that either.

The Shoe Size Legend

They say women love shoes because it’s the one size that does not change no matter how many sizes we increase in other areas. I recently went bra shopping. It had been a couple of years and my staples were frayed. The sales woman offered me a fitting. This should be good I thought. I should be a double D now or something with all the dress sizes I’ve gained.
She measured. It was the same size I’ve been since sixth grade. I asked her to measure again. Still the same. FYI, shoe size is not the only constant.

How to Know When to Shop

Though men run in fear of shoe shopping, they do like the byproduct. Over time, my husband has bought me a pair of hot pink boots and my very own Manolo Blahnik two-tone sling backs.
Though the boots are not made for walking, I do love to wear them to work and church. It keeps people guessing. I especially love to tell people my husband chose them. It gives him a mysterious aura.

So when my husband notices another woman’s shoes, I know it’s time to go shopping. He recently complemented my pregnant neighbor Abby’s heels. I wasn’t jealous, but I did hit the mall. And, no, I did not buy the hooker pair. They’re still not on sale.

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