Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Walking in Heels-or- Yet Another Reason to Feel Inadequate at a Wedding

No can do.
We recently attended a wedding at which I bemoaned the concurrence of having a bad hair day with a social occasion where you would hope to look your best.

Well, people, it isn't just hair that's a problem. It's the shoes, too.

I was reminded of this while watching the morning news to see what fresh hell had been unleashed upon society (there was plenty),when the camera came in with a long shot on one of the anchors.

Dressed in a conservative turtle neck and slacks, her foot was exposed--and, upon it was a leopard print stiletto heel that looked as if the chorus of S&M singing Nazi hookers from the musical Cabaret might wear them. In other words, they were fabulous.
Yes, Nazi hookers.

It reawakened my bitterness over the shoes I have taken to wearing at special occasions.

It's all about the heels. I'm afraid I simply cannot walk in them.

I bought a new pair of shoes for weddings a while back. Accepting my lack of balance and ungainly lurching, I found a nice pair of sensible dress shoes. Low-ish heeled but not clunky, they work under skirts or the swish of chiffon pants and while they do not scream Nazi hookers, they do the job.

The point is I can walk in them and not create a one-woman floor show where I stumble and struggle from the ladies room back to my seat or, on a rare trip to the dance floor.

You know that trip--when the power-crazed MC says "Now ladies and gentlemen, if you wish happiness and good fortune to the newlyweds you must join them on the dance floor but if you wish them a lifetime of abject misery and hopeless despair, you will remain in your seats..."

No one dares remain seated for that. Not even 93 year old Aunt Edna who suffers from bunions, vertigo and must drag an oxygen tank behind her.

Unfortunately, I could not find my practical shoes on the day of the wedding. I hadn't left myself time to tear the house apart, foolishly assuming they would actually be in the closet with the other shoes. I had to go with an old pair with a rather high heel.

I kept them off in the car, slipping into them upon arrival.

They felt fine and, for a shining moment, I allowed myself to dream that I might survive but the moment I stepped out of the car, I almost fell on my nose as my heel got caught in the uneven gravel of the parking lot.

Damn you gravel.

I felt all eyes upon me (although there wasn't a soul in sight--we were late) as I stumbled, minced and tottered into the church and fell into a pew.

Throughout the ceremony all I thought of was my feet, bitterly observing that everyone around me appeared to be having no trouble whatsoever navigating on heels much higher than mine.

I wondered if they'd all taken lessons. Had I missed a seminar at Bloomies on how to walk in four inch heels?
Thanks for nothing.

Is it a problem with my gene pool? Did my prehistoric ancestors only wear practical flats as they rolled dough for strudel in their caves?

Struggling to remain upright at the cocktail hour, I watched enviously as others laughed gaily, dipping their delicious coconut shrimp into sweet and sour sauce while balancing on a variety of sleek stilettos, strappy sandals and bejeweled mules.

I, however, was now so preoccupied by not falling that I gave up and just leaned on one of those high tables, grimly swilling my wine spritzer.

Catching sight of another woman in apparently similar circumstances--leaning on a table across the room, she and I made silent eye contact as we clung to the edge and watched the shrimp pass us by.

We couldn't eat and stand at the same time and we knew it.

Oddly, I never saw her again after that. Had she conceded defeat early to go wait in the car as her husband spent the evening wishing his wife could manage in sexy shoes like the other X chromosomes at the wedding? 

I finally settled on a bent knee walk, lowering my center of gravity enough to keep upright as I hobbled into the reception hall and made it to our table.

I removed my shoes soon after.

We've all seen women in their stockinged feet at weddings. Even the bride and her maids often change into flip flops but mine were off way too early in the evening so I kept seated for about an hour. I finally got up to walk to the bathroom but nearly crashed to the floor anyway as I skirted the periphery of an extremely slippery dance floor.

When we got home, I immediately tossed my shoes onto a tower of crap in the garage and, lo and behold, noticed the lower, more practical shoes in that very pile. 

I remembered then that even they had been a problem at a previous wedding and that I'd tossed them there with the same disgust with which I'd launched the higher heels I'd worn that night.
Or I could wear these.

It was at that moment that I realized that I would have to wear work boots to any weddings in the future. Maybe it will start a trend. 
Cybill Shepherd never, ever wears heels.


  1. Oh young one have I not shared my trick for avoiding such agony before now?

    Go to a resale shop and buy yourself a ski boot looking leg thingy. Then wear that to the big event.

    Not only will you be pain free; but you get sympathy too.

  2. Michele, you're back--XO! And what a fabulous idea! I never thought of that--brilliant!!

  3. Seeing as you have an issue w/ balance and rough terrain, maybe you could consider wedges. This is also a reasonable consideration if the wedding is outdoors and you don't want to risk sinking into the soil.

    And yes, you have to learn to walk in heels. It's heel-toe, not drag-shuffle. It helps immensely if you buy the proper size with the proper width and barring that, wearing something with a mary jane or t-strap.

  4. Ninjarina, thank you! I have a pair of wedges that are, without question, easier to walk in. I will have to look for a dressier pair for special occasions.

    I have very sturdy ankles (cough, cough) so stay away from ankle straps but will take your advice and do some serious practicing before the next wedding. Thanks for reading and stopping by!

  5. Thankfully (!) I broke my ankle badly some years ago now, and my foot is simply unable to cope with high heels - I wonder if Ninjarina's tip would work for me??

  6. I bet it would, Janet...I am going to look for a nice wedge, myself!

    Your poor ankle...how did you do it?

  7. i swear it was a man who invented the heel. i look like a man in drag when i walk :)

  8. Of course it was. It's a tool of oppression, I tell you!