Monday, March 26, 2007
Vehicles of Patriarchy
High heels, I loathe you. Oh sure, you are pretty. You make my calves and booty look so voluptuous, yet you make my toes and arches ache and blister. Who decided that open toed sandals should be made of shiny leather which will rub, rub, rub the skin off my feet? You can't wear socks or hose with them, you can't even put on a bandaid for padding without it showing through. Who was that man, I'd like to punch him in the face. And you know it was a him. You know a woman would have considered toe friction and bunion avoidance. She also would have considered arch support and a surface to balance on wider than a pencil. She also would have considered that if your right leg is 1/32nd of an inch longer than your left, this manifests in incredible pressure on your right big-toe joint in high heels. The male designer of course, never got past the idea of calves and booties.
I can't get away with wearing my Columbia hiking shoes except on casual Fridays anymore, people are starting to talk. My flat oxfords don't cut it with summery skirts and capris, so I bought some lovely, bone colored open toed dress shoes for work. They were beautiful, feminine shoes that would have done Minnie Mouse proud. I envisioned the women at work saying "great shoes!" I thought about how I empowering it would be to be two inches taller. I put on the shoes and they felt decent at the store. When I got dressed this morning I realized that there was going to be some serious pain by the end of the day. By breaking out the bandaids I was able to spare my pinky toes. I thought the joint by my big toe would be OK, but as the day wore holes into my feet, I came to rue the day I found them on display at Shoe Pavillion.
Of course today was also one of those wild goose chase days at work. I couldn't just sit at my desk and slide the shoes off except for when I walk down the hall to the vending machines for bottled water. No, of course I had meetings outside the office. I had to walk up and down the stairs six times, carrying my 30 lb briefcase with me. Chivalry is dead, none of the office guys so much as glanced at my case let alone offered to carry it, but high heels survived the feminist movement to curse us into our graves. And of course, my meetings were no shows so I had to back and forth it up and down the stairs all day long. You can't walk quickly in them because its too painful. Walking slowly means more steps with the inane rubbing with each step. Hans Christian Anderson was prophetic of high heels when the Witch told the Little Mermaid her every step would feel like knives slicing her skin. I think she would have thought twice about becoming human had she realized it was not an exaggeration.
Some of my third-stage feminist friends claim makeup is a vehicle of patriarchy, a snare set by men to keep us subservient and superficial. No, I love Estee Lauder and Mary Kay. They have never prematurely aged me. They have protected me from melanoma and give me some color on days when I feel like the walking dead after a long night with a sick toddler. They let me experiment with a new look for a $14.95 tube of lipstick instead of $90 cut and highlights and they are completely reversible. Men of the metrosexual persuasion are even catching on to the benefits of tea-tree oil and concealer for the occasional unsightly blemish.
High heels however, have given me nothing back. They have sent me to the choiropractors office for an adjustment and a $120/hour sacro-cranial massage to relieve the headaches that travelled up my sciatic nerve to my skull. They slow me down to the pace of a tortoise forcing me to do my work twice as fast to make up the time. And when I walk in the door and I see my husbands eye travel up me from ankle to shoulder I kick the infernal things off in disgust. Not on your life after the day I've had with these blasted shoes. Please pass the ibuprofen, and honey, next time you catch me glance at the spring shoe display at Macy's please steer me toward Sephora instead. You'll thank me later, I promise.