Monday, February 8, 2010

the complexities of shoe shopping

I am a barefoot girl. Shoes really aren’t my thing. My sister concocted a metaphor, which I find very "fitting" and have come to embody as my personal belief and philosophy on the matter:
THe JoYouS BLiSS oF BaRe FeeT
Freedom. Oh, sweet freedom. No obligation, no infringement on personal space, being able to experience life without hindrance of . . . a shoe. Of course I’m talking about walking barefoot on cool summer night pavement, squishing your toes in wet grass, sinking into warm golden sand as salty sea water rushes up to meet your sun-tanned legs… Glorious. Beyond description gloriousness. Perhaps the embodiment of gloriousness. Do you know what else is glorious? The Single Life.
Yes. We moan and complain after watching “Pride and Prejudice” about how miserable we are without our own Mr. Darcy, but until you find that McDreamy, McSteamy, Prince Charming, or even a potential candidate to fill that role of “leading man” in your life, the single life is fabulous!
Ah… the single life: you don’t need to “check” with someone else if it’s okay to go out with your girls; you don’t have to consider someone else’s delicate feelings; you don’t have to worry over DTR’s, break-ups, jealous tension, or fighting over silly inconsequential things. It never crosses your mind the consequences of your actions painting the town, flirting, or sitting at home reading a book because that is in fact what you would prefer to do over spending time with a tool of a shoe. Single life is luscious liberty, the independence of bare feet hanging out the open window...
Dating is like shoe shopping. Period. Although (hypothetically) you can’t run around your entire life with naked feet, it sure is phenomenal and may as well be enjoyed.
 Cinderella’s glass slipper denotes much more than a reconnection with her missing shoe—it signifies the “PeRFeCT FiT” of her with Prince Charming. That fragile slipper went on dozens, if not hundreds, of feet around the kingdom and ultimately was discovered to only fit Cinderella. And they lived happily ever after.
And such is dating. We are shoe shopping. You’re not committing to buy that pair of shoes you’ve been wearing for a week. Some shoes you slip on for various reasons (which I will further detail below in the sub categories), others you try on because your feet are cold, some you try on for no reason at all. If the fit isn’t right, it’s okay! That’s why you shoe shop—to try on a pair, perhaps walk a few baby steps or a few hundred miles before kindly slipping them off and looking for a better fit. There’s nothing wrong with your foot or the shoe—everyone is unique requiring their own “perfect fit”. Just keep browsing, have faith that one day you will find a better-fitting shoe more custom to your taste, and that that discarded shoe will be just fine.
Some days you get that itch to go shoe shopping and it’s exhilarating and wonderful; trying on a pair brings bliss, joy, pure contentment, and is quite fun. Other days your feet ache and you want to throw any pair of shoes you come across into the trash compactor.
Life is obviously not a fairy tale. Some speculate on the existence of "sole-mates" and I myself know it is perfectly plausible to be content with varying shoes, that you can make things work and live a good happy life… But really? Isn’t everyone hoping that Prince Charming will kneel before them to offer the “perfect fit”?
I believe there is one person out there who can make you HaPPieR than all the rest, one shoe that fits your foot as near to perfection as possible, who offers support and enhances the spring in your step, one shoe you can wear rain or shine and be gloriously comfortable with, that you are devoted to and can’t imagine life without, one shoe you LoVe for all the little details of the stitching and imperfections, and who loves you back.
Who doesn’t deserve to “sing with rapture and dance like a dervish… to be deliriously happy”?!? Settling for a mediocre fit you can “deal” with because it’s at the department store or was “on sale” is really only selling yourself short. Outside of this metaphor there really aren’t any “returns” without much heartache. It’s better to wear out those shoes in the store rather than take them home too early and have “buyer’s remorse”.
That perfect fit is out there, for me, for you, for everyone, and though it may take many a shoe-trial to find, you’ll be glad you did. My perfect fit is currently on layaway but it’s better than any shoe I ever beheld window shopping or could have imagined. It makes trying on all the other terrible smelly horrendous mis-fitting shoes worth it. 

 One look can tell you a lot about a shoe: color, material, support system, shoe size... but it must be remembered while shoe shopping that first impressions are not always accurate and can sway you from the truth of the shoe because it's "so cute", "will totally match that outfit I've been dying to wear", and "looks pretty sturdy". There are those appealing shoes, but along with them comes the instinctual feeling that the size does not match. Shoe shoppers in desperation may still wedge their toes into the too-small shoe or pad the toes of a too-big shoe in an attempt to counterfeit a "perfect fit"... but they're only fooling themselves and, sometimes, even the shoe. No good comes of pretending to be something you're not or thinking you can change that shoe to fit your pretty toes. Eventually the blisters appear or the shoe slips off and WHooPS! Time to haul that pair to D.I.

 Convenient.  Temporary.  Fun.  The fit is loose, easy, and carefree- not constraining in the least.  It allows you to display that new pedicure, still feel the sun on your toes and the jolting chill of the sprinkler whizzing past.  Although it’s not the sturdiest of shoes and you both know that after the season there will be holes in the sole from daily wear, it’s okay.  Because the sun is shining, time is flying, and that flip flop is molding right to your foot in a comfortable casual way.  When the leaves begin to change, signaling its time to slip out of that flip flop, no big deal.  You’ll still have the flip-flop tan lines and occasionally reminisce longingly about that almost-barefoot but still-have-a-shoe feeling… but then... you’re over it.
So many colors, so little time…and all fit about the same.  True, it’s impractical to wear that flip flop to trek through 3 feet of snow but during those hot humid days and fresh calm nights, nothing fits better.

What’s another word for practical??? Let’s think, oh yes, Booorrrring! Yeah we get that you’ll last a lifetime and are a heap a sturdy, that you would “never hurt” our poor feet but really—all you are is boring.  The whole, “it’s not you, it’s me” thing reeaaalllly doesn’t apply here.  Because it is you.  Mr. Practical Brown Shoe, you are driving me past the point of sanity. Really, I’d rather lock myself up in a nunnery than be with you.  Harsh, I know, but you’re the one who wants to be “open and honest”.   So in my candid attempt at a shoe-trial, when I tell you it’s too tight of a fit what do you do?  You pull the laces tighter.  I tell you you’re molding to my foot too fast and are giving me blisters-- what do you do?  You just keep on suffocating, molding, and say its all because you love me.  *gasp* hold the phone-- WHAT?!? Uh... may I call BS?  Suggest the very real fact that you’re CRAZY? I do apologize you’re so brown and clunky, but honestly.  I can’t help the fact that you repulse me, that I find your fit unnerving and devastatingly dull. 
So, Mr. Practical Brown Shoe, I must say that although our little shoe-trial only lasted half a second, you’ve given me a headache and have forced me to implement a restraining order on all resembling practical brown shoes.  
And yet-- you sit on the lowly shelf pitifully defeated and sad with your toes turned in and your laces droopy, mocking and blaming me for how my feet were made when really…YOU were the one who didn’t listen, who tried to force a fit.  And IF, just supposing the possibility that you could step outside your immature 3-year-old tantrum filled with endless "whys" and "what was I to you?", you'd come to realize that I in actuality saved you much heartache by chucking you back into your box that you so “charmingly” sprung open.  So, goodbye Mr. Practical Brown Shoe, it’s just not gonna work out.  

Coming soon: