AGONY OF DE-FEET or SOLE PAIN

?I did not have 3000 pairs of shoes, I had 1060? Imelda Marcos, size 8 ½, 1987.

They say there are three kinds of women; shoe women, bath product women and home decor women. Toss a handful of females into a city and some will salivate towards LUSH or the Body Shop, others will gravitate to such places as Jysk, Pier One or Home Outfitters, while the third group will horn in on the shoe stores, their heart full of pumps.

I am something of a hybrid. A cross between the bath product woman and the home decor woman. I am definitely not a shoe horn. For me, happiness is a pair of well broke, comfortable shoes. I buy two pairs of shoes a year and I shop for them reluctantly. I purchase one pair of running shoes to replace the easy pair that I would never part with, if it weren?t for the fact that they look like roadkill. The second pair I buy are dress shoes that I will usually only wear once, before heaving the blister inducers to the back hole of my closet.

I hate shoe shopping. Maybe it?s because I have big feet, long toes and Everest arches. I?m not Peggy Hill, but I?m close. I haven?t wore sandals since high school, when a friend spotted my naked toe cleavage in the hallway and screamed out, ?Oh my God, what enormous toes you have!?

All the better to kick you with, my dear.

It wasn?t quite the same as the perennial nightmare of showing up at school without any clothes on, but as a couple dozen teenagers crowded around to stare and murmur at my feet, there were some strikingly similar sensations.

Maybe that incident explains my aversion to footwear, but I don?t think so. I think the real reason is that new shoes hurt and I have an aversion to pain. New shoes pinch, rub and blister. I don?t understand how women can face that kind of torture a dozen or more times a year, and actually seem thrilled about it. It?s masochistic, that?s what it is. That?s why dominatrix always wear shiny, black, high heeled boots.

It?s the blisters that make them mean. They?re in so much pain, they don?t even know what they?re doing. I bet if you took off their boots, they would be stunned to find themselves standing there with a riding crop in their hand. It would be like waking up from a five day drunk.

They would be shocked to learn what they had done while under the brain numbing effects of new shoe pain.

That?s what Nancy Sinatra was really singing about. Oh sure, the songs lyrics went something like ?These boots are made walking, and that?s just what they?ll do . . . One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.? But the subtext was, ?These boots are new and killing me, you know what I want to do? I want to take off these boots and throw them right at you.?

Are shoe women mean as a rule? You know, I think they might be. I only know a couple of shoe women, but both of them are a little nasty around the edges. When there?s a sale on, they?re downright vicious.

Elbows flying, heels stomping, purses swinging; it?s a terrifying thing. (If you?re reading this, I don?t mean you, Helen. I really don?t. You?ve got to believe me. Promise you won?t hurt me. And since we?re on the subject, I can?t make it to the spring sale at the mall on Tuesday after all. It?s my damn prostate acting up again.)

Maybe for some women, shoes are like a box of chocolates. You know how it is. Once you have one, you just can?t stop, even though you know they?re just going to make you fat, nasty and nauseous. With shoes, it could be the same thing. As soon as you buy one pair, you need to buy another. But if you never wear a pair long enough to break them in, before getting greedy and rushing out to stuff your feet inside another, you are going to end up with a very calloused soul.