I’ve been working on and off on a piece about shoes. Racy shoes. It started life as a short story, then morphed into poetry – which was execrable-and now seems to be settling into a short short. Perhaps suitable for Fish Short Shorts this year. So that led me to thinking about shoes and their place in the western world
. I’m not a girly girl. Well, I’m no longer a girl but even when I was one I was decidedly ungirly. I think I must have been missing the day the girly genes were being handed out, quite probably under the pink bunk beds reading a book. So I don’t really relate to the whole clothes, make-up, hair thing. Clothes are something you wear to keep you warm and to cover your nakedness from the rest of the world. And make-up! I only discovered a few years ago that make-up goes off. I was applying lipstick for some special occasion or other and thought it tasted peculiar.
‘Does make-up go off?‘ I asked my friend.
‘How long have you got it?’
‘Fifteen years or so’ I replied to her horror. So, not a make-up junkie then.
But I do get the shoes thing. There is something about shoes isn’t there? My personal favourites are red patent, deep crimson shiny red patent, with a three inch heel and a well made upper designed to show off the foot and the leg. I’d never wear them because I wouldn’t be able to walk or even stand in them without toppling over. But I do love the look of them.
The colour is because of The Wizard of Oz of course. Every girl should, at some stage in her life have a pair of Dorothy shoes. A little girl pair when she is small, or maybe red docs or red ankle boots. And a high-heeled pair of racy shoes when she is a young woman. Shoes like that make legs look invincible, sexy and strong. My ma had the best pair of legs I ever saw, and despite horrendous trouble with varicose veins and leg ulcers at times, when her legs were healthy by God could she wear shoes! All five foot ten of her on a pair of high heels and a skirt with a side slit showing legs that went on forever. Liz’s legs. Everyone admired them.
So I have loads of shoes. God knows why, because I tend to wear the one pair of runners or crocs ( to my son’s shame) all the time. But I am quite acquisitive when it comes to shoes, sometimes I just can’t resist buying a dressy pair, just in case, you never know when you’re going to be invited to Buckingham Palace to have tea with the Queen. I’m not totally foolish about them in that my purchases tend to be in Dunnes, Penneys or TK Maxx. None of your Jimmy Choos, Uggs or Manolo whatsits for me. Low maintenance woman. Lots and lots of pairs of cheap shiny shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe.
Jemser goes mad if I arrive home with yet another pair, (well, gets slightly irritated), and he’s right. I really do not need another pair of shoes I’ll never wear. But it has nothing to do with need, it’s want. I think I’m addicted. Lately if I do buy a pair I hide them in the green wheelie bin until I can sneak them unnoticed into the house. Typical addict behaviour. Then I can gloat over them in the comfort of my bedroom, admire the shape of my leg in them, click my heels three times and be happy forever. Imelda Marcos, eat your heart out.