PHABRIK Magazine

In Her Shoes: A 21st Century Love Story

By Jacqueline Parrish

September 2010

A wise woman once said “You never truly know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes” while a simple man stated “There’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes”. Taken literally, both quotes essentially extol the same wisdom; pretty or practical, comfortable or stylish, a person’s footwear says a lot about them.

I don’t own a pair of flip-flops; no sneakers, hiking boots, Crocs or kitten heels, the comfiest footwear I possess happens to be a ratted pair of fuzzy gray, bedazzled to a Swarovski-sheen slippers. I live for heels (well, live in them at the very least). My obsession, while not quite as serious as famed shoe-whore Imelda Marcos’, borders on the addiction; I’ve had a longer relationship with some of my stilettos than I have had with a man.

Repeatedly ignoring the practicality of an item while wielding my weapon of choice (Visa) at the nearest cashier, I’ve yet to experience buyers’ remorse. I came close this past week. A ten day visit to my hometown saw me fending for myself with a monstrous, silver rag-top Jeep; it had me cursing my beloved purple platforms with the first turn of the ignition. Driving never was one of my strengths; road rage and an innate inability to turn left not the least of my vehicular disabilities.

The addition of a standard transmission only served as a hindrance in my quest for freedom. Going from a city of 5.5 million -where 20,000 alone reside in my condo complex- to an entire town comprised of 20,000 people. From AstroTurf and concrete, where taxis are the most common vehicle on the road to mountains, and bushes, one main street where you would be hard-pressed to hail anything resembling a cab.

The obvious solution to my ‘stalling and –subsequent- whiplash’ problem would have been to swap out my skyscraper shoes for something flat and functional, but – proving once again that I can oftentimes be just as stubborn as I am absurd- not once did that ever enter into my mind as an option.

So what, exactly, does this say about me?

Sashaying down the route of narcissism, a moment’s reflection has led me to the seemingly pathetic and -not altogether surprising- realization that high heels have become my security blanket. For some people, it’s hair, others, stuffed animals, for me, it’s shoes. I don’t wear them for men, I don’t wear them for women; I wear them for me. When slipping my feet into my favorite pair of platforms, I am also slipping on my persona. I am slipping on a self-assured confidence that gives me a fierce –not false- sense of empowerment. I can take over the world one strong-willed step at a time. I would never be so shallow as to say that ‘shoes make the person’, but while they don’t define who you are, they can certainly have an impact on how you feel. So while a person might judge my preference in ped-wear, I will continue to happily strut, tall and confident down the sidewalk in pretty but impractical footwear.


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