I was happily running on the treadmill this morning, doing speedwork in my green monster feet (Vibram Five Fingers)
when on the television in front of me appeared a horrific scene:
At the end of an impossibly long red carpet, waiting expectantly, was a gorgeous Australian bachelor. I watched, mesmerised, as one by one, a series of black stretch limousines pulled up. The camera angle tightened each time to the door opening, to a slim leg appearing, the sheer fabric of an elegant dress. But here’s what caught my eye: the shoes. The crazy shoes!
The foot reached towards the ground tentatively, as if there might be lava there. Slowly, it touched down. Then, smoothly, with great poise, one by one, these gorgeous women emerged from their private limousine. They stood unsteadily, wearing huge smiles, but looking sort of like a deer in the headlights.
Mr. Gorgeous awaited them at the end of that long, long red carpet, and the camera followed their every step, their every forced smile. Sometimes the camera moved to Mr. Gorgeous’s face, so we could try to judge whether he liked what he was seeing.
He smiled hugely for each one with his perfect, gleaming white teeth. His eyes even crinkled in the right places. But there was something else in those eyes that wasn’t just appreciation for their beauty. That something, I think, was fear.
The audience (well, me) and Mr. Gorgeous watched these women make their way awkwardly up that red carpet and feared sprained ankles, stumbles, at the very least some whispered swear words, for really, what were these innocent women wearing on their feet and why were they wearing them?
The poor woman in the platforms scared me the most. I mean platforms on the front of the shoe, and high heels at the back. I saw a woman take a fall onto train tracks wearing those once. Not pretty (she was okay, there was no train). I’m sure there’s a proper fashionista term for that style of shoe, but, oh, it looked painful. I watched in fear, and somewhat in anger. By now, I was up to 14.2 on the treadmill, focussing on a quick cadence and light footfalls; the woman in the platforms was just trying to stay upright, and to attract Mr. Gorgeous, and God help her, but the step off the red carpet after she’d hugged him – onto what must have been cobblestones – was nearly her undoing. Even Mr. Gorgeous gave her a look of sympathy as she hobbled away. Back with the other super-gorgeous woman in the assembly area, she looked very relieved to sit down.
How was he to choose between these equally gorgeous but painfully poor choosers of footwear? For that was the theme of this show: to get him a woman. As if he’d have trouble with that. I was thankful the sound was not on; I was thankful that my thoughts could not be heard.
For really, what in the world are we doing to ourselves? How is it beautiful to be unable to walk? To take this amazing machine we are and to cobble it like one might cobble a horse? I kept wishing one of the ladies had turned up in Monster Feet and running gear, and whisked Mr. Gorgeous off to a trail somewhere. Somewhere that smiles were genuine and nothing was glamorous and it was all very real.
These sights sadden me. They sadden me because women see them and think that is how we should look. Even my young daughter wants high heels. She wants me to buy some for myself and wear them. I struggle to find the words to explain why I don’t want her to have to wear them before her time, why I will never again buy a pair. My Mom wore high heels every day of her life, commuting to New York City to work in an amazing office job. She also suffered from Hammer Toe. And when she was seventy-two, some doctor convinced her to have the toe broken and reset. The toe that had been damaged by years and years and years of heels. It never healed properly. She was forced to retire before she wanted to, and could never walk well again. Does that make me angry? It makes me furious.
Maybe, by chance, when my daughter is old enough, women will have said enough already, and she might hit that tiny trend where women wear flats and are allowed to be fast. Or maybe, like her rebellious Mom, she will say, no way to that, and wear what she pleases regardless of trends. I can only hope.
Give me speed, strength, agility, and a feast of power for our bodies.
I hope that Mr. Gorgeous finds the woman of his dreams, and I hope that she too gets to throw out all the high-heels she’s ever bought.