It’s just in, said the actress to the Bishop. “In? What’s in?” I hear you choke?
That period of the year where men and women alike look towards finding the perfect winter footwear. Boots and/or shoes that keep your feet warm and cosy and look good with knee-length skirts. And I understand some women are looking for the same too.
I’ve got grotty old feet and they’re huge. Size 10 which means that I should be taller than I am. By rights I should be 6ft 2 and according to some charts, and I am 6ft 2 when you meet me. I’m just standing further away than you expect.
But with big feet come big shoes and, as my grandmother used to say when she took the aged 5 sized Spencer shoe-shopping, and the shop person would say ‘Wow. Hasn’t he got big feet?’ She’d always say “His feet have to be big as they’re always placed firmly on the ground.”
If only that were true.
I’ve been looking for footwear for some time now and never regarded it as important. I went shopping with someone who suggested I buy a certain pair of boots, but also, in the same breath told me how the shoes I was wearing at the actual time looked like corrective footwear. She was right. They did. I looked like someone who should be cast in plastic and put outside shops with a slot in my head for charity donations. But I bought the boots she suggested.
Footwear is important. We spent a long time on our feet, walking and doing all the other stuff that isn’t walking. It’s important to find a pair that goes with what you wear, that you feel comfortable with, and that you feel a bit proud of. Remember, there are some shoe fascists out there and some dating article-type bollocks say that you’re immediately visually appraised within 10 seconds of meeting someone, and one of the things the opposition check out, and rate you on, is your footwear.
So, you go to shops and hunt about. This summer I was told I should wear deckshoes by the shop dummies, but slipping these size 10 fuckers into a pair of deck shoes make people think less ‘Sloop John B’ and more ‘Canoe. Clown. Where’s your red nose?”
And then you find them. The pair you want. And oh, how they look gorgeous. You see them in the shop and try them on. The leather drawing close against your socks. Snug but giving, and you take those first few steps. They don’t pinch. They feel good. They feel like something else. Another pair I once had. Can I run in these? But no-one ever does that in the shop do they? In front of the mirror. “Sorry, but can I just have a run around the shop as I need to see if these shoes will hinder me when I’m running for a bus?”
The shoes are new, but they feel warm. In a way like you’ve worn them before. Like something else. Something you’d never ever part with but had to, because they got a bit holey and let you down.
You buy them, and wear them out. Usually on a special occasion, if you’re stupid like me, and then they DO pinch. They bite at your feet. You squirm and stand on your own shoes to stop the pain. Where did the comfort and warmth go? Where did it go? Now I just have something angry and spiky.
I bought a pair of Converse recently. I used to wear them a lot but stopped as I thought, for while they were better suited to children, stupids, people who wanted to hark back to another time, and people who simply liked getting wet feet when it rained. But they’re cool and maybe I harked back to a certain time, or wanted to be someone or something else now I’m 40. I’ve heard some people have many pairs of Converse boots. Never changing, always going back to the old faithful but in different colours. Constant and consistent but somehow always different. I wish I was like that.
Instead, in these, I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s shoes. A pair that don’t fit me. I’m walking on cardboard and can feel the pavement underneath pressing into my feet with every step.
And yesterday I saw a pair of Converse on someone else. I didn’t know who he was until I saw the footwear. My eyes are bad and it was dark but the footwear made me realise that the pair I was wearing were totally different to those he had on. Same shoes, different person. Some common ground there but actually very very different.
Different is good though. Everything is different. Sometimes you can’t go back to the old comfy shoes you had, lost and had to part with, and you have to move on to a new pair. But maybe that new pair will never match up to the old ones you loved so much. And you’ll always compare them.
Some people want diamond shoes. Shoes made out of diamonds. It’ll never happen I said, but now there’s apparently an entire planet that’s made of diamond so perhaps. One day. Perhaps one day you can have diamond shoes and I truly, with everything I am, wish that for you.
Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, the saying goes. I have. I’ve done that. And I’m so truly sorry. It was wrong of me.
Perhaps I should go back to the correctional footwear. And never try those trainers again. Some people suit that. Perhaps I don’t.
But I thought I did. I was lead to believe I did. And now, I just wish I did. With every cell.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find happy footwear.