Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shoes I Used to Wear (A Post On the Literal Shoes I Used to Wear)

I used to wear shoes so high I could see a light layer of dust on top of the fridge.
I took these red shoes backpacking through Europe, crammed them in the bottom of my bag one winter in Paris. I wore them on New Year's Eve as Bryan and I tried to find a bar, a club, a restaurant we could afford, finally settling for gyros on the street corner with me in these red, red shoes. At a few minutes to midnight we were on the metro, so we got off at the next stop not knowing where we were and ran up the stairs to the street just in time for the countdown. Trois, deux, une...we kissed on a street corner in Paris amid a crowd of French people making out, my life momentarily a Robert Doisneau poster taped to a dorm room wall, and to this day that night in those red shoes stands as one of my most romantic.
I eyed these gold glitter shoes for months at a transvestite store on Haight Street until they were the last pair and went on sale seeing as how most men's feet are larger than mine. When I wasn't wearing them I kept them on my desk as inspiration for something.
I bought these for my birthday one year--can't remember which though I'm fairly certain it started with a 2. (I have always loved a well-placed rainbow.) The night I wore these a man told me I walked like a cocktail waitress, and though I'm not sure how he meant it, I hold that still as one of the best compliments I've ever received.
These shoes are vintage, from the 20's, the fabric inside the sole worn metallic threads. Of all my shoes I loved these the most, wore them to bars and parties, sometimes during the day. With jeans? That was the joke back then, everything held up to have its cute-quotient questioned. Yes? With jeans? Because everything looked cute with jeans. When I wore them I imagined all the fun the shoes had had in the past 80+ years, what sort of evenings, the stories they might tell, and I was just so happy to be a part of it.
Then there are these: another vintage pair of hand-beaded shoes, the wooden heels carved with palm fronds and fruit, a score at a flea market one Sunday morning. One of the heels on these is stained dark brown, and so I always thought it was blood, because, well, why not? A woman dancing in a nightclub in Cuba for so long that her heels bled, yes? You just know her name was Lucia.

And then there are these. Ugly flat mom shoes I bought while still on maternity leave. I don't know what I was thinking other than I guess this is my life: hairy toes and sensible shoes for pushing a stroller, my fingers smelling of peanut butter. I had to bribe Zoey to try these on which I think is a pretty good barometer for moxie. Would a 4 year old want to wear it? If the answer is a quick no, then no. Just no. On these I blame hormones and me trying to find my new normal when life was anything but.
These days I wear ballet flats, boots with no heel, Havianas when it's warm. I don't know when it was that I lost the ability to wear heels, but I am certain I no longer walk like a cocktail waitress, the dust on the top of the fridge now thick, though who cares if I can't even see it?

15 comments:

Robin said...

Oh I love this post! Yes, the stories that those 1920s shoes could tell. All of them really. I bet with a little practice you could still walk like a cocktail waitress (and I agree, I think it was a compliment).

anita @ a dreamer's den said...

LOVE this!
God, those red shoes are amazing!!!

Kwana said...

That is so me and my mushy mom feet. LOL!

Still Life With Coffee said...

I really like all of your shoes! And this post. ;-)

Only A Girl said...

Don't give up the heels....just invent outings and excuses to wear them. I will never give up my heels!! NEVER!!! Mwuahahahaha!!!

...sorry. Got a little carried away.

Buff said...

If haven't seen this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoQVa86EvPA

krista said...

my stilettos and fancy vintage heels have been replaced with toms and chucks.
but i still can't get rid of the fancy.
because you never know...

Michelle M in KY said...

OH SUSANNAH...
How can a post about shoes be interesting? Not sure, but it was nevertheless! Love the stories and memories associated with the shoes.
Hope this note finds you feeling good with an ever expanding belly and a smile on your face!

wonderchris said...

Since I wear shoes that make me not tall enough to see the top of the fridge I can't even imagine the inches of dust that have accumulated. A veritable blizzard of dust snow for the spiders that call it home. Anyway, I digress...the Paris story that goes with those red shoes is perfection. LOVE it.

Also, I heart those rainbow cocktail waitress shoes BIG TIME!!!

Schmutzie said...

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http://www.schmutzie.com/fivestarfriday/2011/1/21/five-star-fridays-135th-edition-is-brought-to-you-by-albert.html

Nuha Sofiyan said...

I was confused for a minute on why you were buying shoes wayy too big for your feet, then I realized they were your daughters feet haha, slow moment there.

Your story about kissing in France was soo sweet! Never give those shoes away!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post and didn't want it to end! I could read for hours about the history of your shoes! Makes me realize that my shoes are so insignificant. The oldest pair that I've kept are a pair of Doc Martens from tenth grade- and I've kept them because they were a hundred dollars and in '94 that was alot for shoes! Saying this outloud makes me realize the absurdity. They will be at Goodwill tomorrow.
Janna

Debbie Rodgers said...

Read about this at Schmutzie's All-Star Friday. I'm so glad I didn't miss it - it's fun, sweet, touching & all those other things nostalgia should be. Plus - it celebrates shoes - one of the joys of feminine life.

shannon said...

So simple, but says so much. I love this.

alphawoman said...

Wonderful post.