The Red Shoe Society

It took over half my life, but it finally happened.  I stepped out of my fashion “comfort zone” and took a chance.  Big time.

His name is Tom.  Well, actually his shoes are named Tom.  Confused yet? Let me explain.  For every pair bought from this company, a child in another part of the world who would not have shoes gets a free pair.  And the shoes, while simply constructed, are built to last. One less child who risks injury and disease because they have no shoes. Check out the Toms Shoes  http://www.tomshoes.com website for more information on this worthy organization.

I did, and it was love at first sight.   The shoes  looked oh, so soft and comfortable. And one style, the Classic, even came in red. Red!   People who know me well,  and love me anyway 🙂  will not be surprised by this next statement.

I have never owned a pair of red shoes before.

But I saw them, and thought, “Oh, what the hell? If not now, then when? Isn’t there some poem about being an old woman and wearing purple with a red hat? What’s the worst that can happen?”  In my family, I imagined the worst was being called “Bozo” and  I could live with that. So I ordered a pair.

When they arrived, I opened the box and peered inside. They were everything I’d ever dreamed of. Nice soft canvas uppers, good arch support, and a really nice sole with non-skid little nubbies.  They look great with shorts,  jeans, capris and are even  sleek enough to wear with summer dresses, too.   The best part?  They are flats.

Women are odd creatures.  As soon as a little girl is  tall enough to open a closet, she is  in her mother’s trying on the high heels.   We try on what it will be like to be grown up, conditioned from girlhood to think that beauty and pain are synonyms.  One only has to look at the articles and ads in any fashion magazine to have that confirmed.  Don’t like the shape of your body?  Buy Spanx!  Don’t like the color of your hair?  Get Nice and Easy!  Don’t like those “fine lines” around your eyes? Botox, baby!  Too skinny?  Ha! NeverNever too skinny.  Just ask a teenage girl who binges and purges and nearly dies about that little message.  And we also force our feet into shoes that, in some parts of the world would be considered a form of torture.  All in the name of beauty.

When we are young,  and standing before the object of our desire in the shoe department, our mothers try to convince us that the ones we want are going hurt, but we don’t listen and beg for them because they are cute…so cute.   Most of us go on to buy other cute shoes that make our feet hurt because we figure that in order to be stylish,  to be sexy, to be a woman, we have to put up with a little pain.  So we still aren’t really as grown up as we think we are because if we WERE, we’d buy something that didn’t make our big toes throb or cause bunions.  We are still little girls playing dress up.

Then, some of us have daughters of our own, and they don’t listen anymore than we did about shoes or much else, really.

But, oh….to be past the age of throbbing toes!  Bliss!  To be past the age of hair dye…and tight clothing….and too much makeup put on poorly…and hair that takes too long to make presentable and trying to hard to hold on to youth.   And dressing for others instead of ourselves.  “Dressing for Success” takes on new meaning in middle age for many of us.

Women in their fifth decade tend to  travel more lightly.  We have learned to pare down to the essentials through trial and error.  We aren’t out to impress anyone with our style sense because we’ve learned that having common sense is a lot sexier anyway.  June Cleaver met Ward at the door every day in a belted shirtwaist, pearls, and high heels.  If I tried that around here,  they’d lock me up.  Did women really dress that way in the 1950’s?  While they knelt over and scrubbed under the toilet bowl rim?  Really?  Or did they have a different housecleaning dress and heels that they changed into while they did housework?    No wonder Valium became so popular.  They probably needed it to distract them from what was going on in their pumps. Amazing the divorce rate wasn’t higher back then, isn’t it?

Audrey Hepburn looked great in heels.  But I don’t recall seeing her cleaning any toilets in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” either, so no wonder she was so cheerful trotting around town.  And if I recall, the first thing she did when she got home was take off those shoes.

I think I’ll check out the Toms website to see if I can find a pair in purple.  There may be no turning back.

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