It was a magical insight that hit me like the briefcase wielded by the dude on that oh-so-crowded bus on Thursday morning that nearly took my head off; the real reason why women buy shoes.
We don’t buy them as a stress release, as a distraction from the drudgery of life or even out of a strange obsession to own that perfect pair that doesn’t pinch and that you can happily walk around in all day.
No, we buy them because they are the only things we can adorn ourselves with that don’t give us body issues.
That and jewellery.
Oh, that’s also why we can never have enough pretties to hang from our ears.
During my recent forays into the world of office attire shopping, I’ve been painfully reminded of why I hate clothes shopping. Every time you try on something that is too small, every time you try on something that makes your ass look even bigger than it actually is, every time you realise you are past the age where you can wear micro-mini shorts and layered singlet tops, you get a little more depressed about yourself, your body and how your recent diet has been yet another failure.
Shoes are the only things that you can happily not fit into. If you try on a pair and they’re too small, well, there’s not much you can do about it. You don’t have to berate yourself that you need to lose 10kg, you just brush it off as a ‘small size 8’ and move onto the next pair. You can’t change the length of your feet – you were born with them that way and no amount of exercise, calorie counting or lipo is going to change that.
Granted, you can lose a bit of puffiness from your feet by slimming down and pregnant women are known to go up a size or two from fluid retention, but the struggle to buy shoes doesn’t involve anything like the humiliation level of taking a skirt into a changing room and not getting it up past your knees.
Shoe shopping makes you feel good about yourself. It’s rare to go shoe shopping and not find at least a pair that needs a good home. I generally come out of a shoe shop with at least two pairs…sometimes three or four…and I’m flushed with the feeling of success at having found things that make me feel normal. When it comes to clothes, I can spend hours trying on item after item that wave my body inadequacies in my face like a red flag in front of a bull. I rarely fit into a ‘standard size’ anything and even when I find something, I’m craning my neck to get a look at myself from behind.
You don’t try on a pair of shoes and want to ask, “Do these make my heels look big?”
So that’s why I think women really buy shoes.
Unless of course, they have a boot/shoe fetishist in their life and they buy them just to please him. 37 pairs of boots and 25 pairs of shoes and counting…