Teeter — Totter…

I consider this to have been my “breakthrough” humor piece; back in 2003. In my mind, I was “Carrie” ;-)!

Teeter — Totter…

“Sex and the City: A ‘Vogue’ Idea (#4.17)” (2002) [in the Vogue accessories closet]
Carrie Bradshaw: [shrieks as she picks up a pair of shoes] Do you know what these are? Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes! I thought these were an urban shoe myth! — from IMDB Website


In life, sometimes, you end up — albeit briefly — wearing someone else’s shoes, both figuratively… and literally. Someone through whom, perhaps, you vicariously wish you could live your life — or, at least, an episode in your life… or, rather, their life. The interesting thing, though, is that this event is actually happening in your life, so, in effect, you are actually living out a part of your life. Am I making sense here?

Carrie Bradshaw. “Sex and the City.” True to my form — that is, “after the fact,” I finally discovered the show four years after its inception. No matter: I was hooked. I quickly realized that I empathized with Carrie. I may not have long, curly blonde hair, nor a shoe fetish. Nonetheless, I do obsess about relationships, I can be funny, and I do write.

Slavishly following fashion has never been my style, especially when it comes to footwear. On the contrary: Chinese slipper Mary Jane equivalents, loafers, sneakers, sandals with non-existent heels — and a few medium heeled, yet sensible, pumps: a compendium, here, of my adult life below the ankle wardrobe. Fiercely and stubbornly resistant — memories of unbecoming, ghastly orthopedic lace-up booties still send shudders up and down my spine — my childhood flat feet problem continues to haunt me. AARP membership is around the corner. Arthritis is beginning to rear its ugly head. Casual observers, aestheticians, and shoe vendors alike feel I am a podiatrist’s dream/nightmare come true.

Why all this obstinacy when it comes to my feet? False pride, perhaps. There is something about the idea of entrusting one’s feet over into the care of someone else that both repulses and terrifies me. After all, Carrie’s good friend, Charlotte, reacted as such when a foot fetishist-turned-shoe salesman tried to have his way with her feet. Perhaps her motto became: “Shoe boutique shoppers, beware.”

Boutique department stores, however, have Choos — and Louboutins — and Weitzmans — of a different color. As Neiman Marcus was having its First Call sale, I had to — at the very least — strut through the store, indulge some whim or the other, and proudly swing my Neiman’s bag back and forth for all to see. If not down Fifth Avenue, then, at least, all the way back to the parking lot.

A shoe fetish I may not have — but a handbag one, I do. As the “sheep” mentality to which even I succumb had prodded me to indulge in the most practical Prada I could find several weeks earlier, no purse — either sensible or frivolous — enticed me. The sale was too good, however, to think of walking out empty-handed. Before I could regain control, my flat, thong-clad feet had made their way to the shoe department.

Carrie Bradshaw and Manolo Blahniks are synonymous with each other. Neiman’s is known for its selection of Manolos. The sale racks were stocked with a handsome selection of the lovely footwear for which my New York loving, intrepid, cigarette-smoking, articulate, neurotic alter ego is known. As with men, are all the good ones always taken? Are we compelled to not only wear the shoes, but also wear the same size? (It’s not that complicated, really — 7 ½ Medium is probably among the most standard of shoe sizes for women.) Even on sale, each pair cost more than three hundred dollars. Just as well. A decent pair of black shoes, however, would come in handy.

The kind, patient, very down-to-earth (for Neiman’s), knowledgeable salesperson also happened to be the manager of the department. Upon informing him of my elusive quest for “torture-free” footwear, he brought out a few very appropriate pairs for my perusal… including a pair of “ballerina” Manolo Blahniks! Black, flat, butter-soft, pointed, yet roomy. A done deal, Ms. Carrie Bradshaw Wannabe: who says you cannot live out a fantasy, albeit a non-existent heeled version of one?

Obsessive, excessive — and delighted — I asked him about sandals. Sexy sandals. Not too many Manolos left in my/our size. No matter: the pair he and a coworker presented me with screamed out, “Carrie Bradshaw,” nonetheless. I beheld a beautiful pair of black Marc Jacobs sandals, made out of black leather and black suede — a thong model, if I recall correctly — with a black suede flower saucily perched at the tip of each shoe. Very sexy! As only one pair remained — in my/our size — it was drastically reduced, which made it even more appealing. I/we excitedly proceeded to try it on, in all of its three-inch-heeled glory.

Teeter — totter. This is the best way to describe what happened next. There I stood — sexy, three inches taller — but I could not move. My face registered a panoply of emotions: exhilaration, shock, total dismay, shame. Which is worse, shame, or pain? Tentatively inching forward in these exquisite instruments of torture, I remembered Carrie describing walking twenty — nay, forty-seven — blocks in Manhattan in one of her special numbers and stating, “These shoes pinch my feet.” Better to have my Carrie footwear “bubble” burst this way than to suffer with blistered feet… if I could even manage to take more than a few steps in the shoes, that is. Life from a flamingo’s point of view: teeter — totter.

Dejectedly, I stepped out of the shoes. Simultaneously, I breathed a sigh of relief. The “ballerina” slippers would have to do. Life was imitating art — by now owning a pair of Manolo Blahniks, our bond was further strengthened! Carrie Bradshaw is not the protagonist here, though. This is my life. I write, I can be funny, and I do obsess about relationships. However, I do not smoke.

Copyright, 2003 by Georgina Marrero