Tim thinks that high heels look good on some women. If you read the sentence closely, you’ll recognize that Tim is a man who thinks before he speaks to his wife. First, he points out the high heels look good on women. This is how he avoids his wife saying, “well, you should wear them.” Second, he is not telling me which women’s legs he’d peeked to come to this conclusion. Third, he says they look good, not sexy which would imply he took more than a quick glance. But in all fairness, he only encourages me to wear comfortable shoes. Of course, it leaves me to wonder if he’s suggesting my legs wouldn’t look good in uncomfortable shoes.
Men dress for comfort. If the belt doesn’t fit over the stomach, it goes under it. No spanx for guys. Older men think nothing of wearing suspenders to hold up their pants. Do you know any man who wears a piece of clothing with a zipper he can’t reach? Honey, can you help me out of of my Brooks Brothers suit? Men don’t get married so they have a wife nearby who can help them undress. You don’t see a man fidgeting all night because a piece of clothing is digging into his flesh or fishing around with his feet for his shoes before the lights come on at the theatre. Only women do that. Men go fishing for fish.
Blisters and numb feet aside, walking in 6-inch heels should be considered a high risk activity and an insurable sport. Wearing high heels you can trip and fall when there is nothing to trip on, or fall trying to stand straight. And for goodness sake, don’t take them off because your feet will swell up in protest and you will never get them back on.
Most women wear them because it brings out the calf muscle and makes their legs look longer. And for reasons not clear, this is good and desirable. Advertisers insist that long well-shaven legs are something for women to strive for. Well, I’m not buying it. Give me strong unshaven legs that can stretch into a yoga pose any day. But we buy into it and even describe other women based on the look of their legs, Oh, you know Georgina, she’s that gal with the long legs and a collection of gorgeous shoes. But when Georgina finally sees the light and takes the plunge to her natural height it is quite a transformation. First time a friend, Allison, came back to earth after years of high-to-heaven heels I thought, goodness, what is wrong with her? Osteoporosis? A curse? She must have read my expression. “There is nothing wrong, I’m done with high heels. I look shorter. That’s all.” For the first time in our relationship, we matched eye-to-eye. Six-inch height difference takes some getting used to.
Men don’t play these games or spend the evening counting the minutes until they can take off their shoes. Men play other games. But they don’t wear six-inch heels that deform their feet and risk their health. But there is good, no-pain news to be had, women get smarter as they age. Yes, sirree! You can snicker at my sneakers and smirk at my sandals, but good feeling toes matter more than appearing to be at some arbitrary height you can crash down from at the slightest gust.
Previously published in Savoring Life in the Latter Lanes 2, A Collection of Essays for Women.