There are a number of things I missed out on for one reason or another whilst I was growing up. Number one on the list used to be the correct application of makeup. Due to much practice and surreptitiously observing how it should be done, I’ve more or less cracked it (eye makeup that is. Foundation is for another lifetime). Number one is now definitely the wearing high-heeled shoes.
Now, you’d think as a short person, I would have come early to the joy of heels. You would be wrong. I was always a tom-boy growing up and showed very little interest in playing dress-up when heels were involved. Cowboy/Pirate costumes on the other hand… When I was in my early to mid teens, I was at a school with a very strict dress code. 1 inch was the maximum for heels. That isn’t to say people didn’t flout this rule, but both I (and more importantly) my mother who purchased my school clothes were always rule-abiding people. When I was at college, I had no real desire to wear heels. Jeans and trainers were my custom wardrobe. Comfort over style! Uni – more of the same. Oh, I had boots with chunky heels (ah, my beloved New Rocks…) but nothing really over 2 inches, and nothing that would give me practice walking in grown-up shoes. Also, my working life to date has been predominately retail – anyone who has been on their feet for an 8 hour shift will understand me when I say that flats really are the only way to go!
Now, however, I am regretting that I didn’t put in an hours practice every day walking round in some heels. I’m facing grown-up life working in an office. I like to think I have an innate sense of what will, and what won’t, work on me clothes wise. I went shopping the other weekend with Curly Durly, and even now she can’t resist the temptation to try and dress me. She keeps pulling things off the rack that would suit her (tiny, petite 5 ft nothing, uk size 8 ) and is surprised when they don’t look right on me (5 ft, curvy, uk size 14, stocky). I pull things off the rack that she sneers at, but then I try then on and she goes all quite and “oh, ok, yes…” in this way she has when she doesn’t want to admit she was wrong and I was right. I’ve found the style that suits me best. I know what length skirts to wear. It’s not to say I look “fashionable” – I don’t. Fashionable clothes just look silly on me – but I do (on the whole) look good. I’ve worked out my own style and I’m proud of that.
Unfortunately, this style requires heels. Nothing drastic, but something to give me a bit of a lift, or else I look all dumpy. In the winter, this is fine. I have some lovely boots that look perfect. However, girl cannot live in boots alone, especially with spring (and then summer, surprisingly enough) on the way. I need some cute shoes to wear. Never underestimate the relationship between a girl and her shoes. Just because I can’t afford them and currently couldn’t wear them without falling flat on my face, doesn’t mean I don’t want them (If you’re detecting a slight fifties theme going on, then congratulations!)
And here comes my shameful admission. I can’t walk in heeled shoes. Not proper, elegantly heeled shoes anyway with a surface area of significantly less than the standard ‘heel’ area of a flat shoe. I don’t have the balance. It’s a whole different way of walking that is required and, frankly, I can’t do it. If you knew the number of times I’ve turned my ankle in flat shoes, you’d understand how bad my sense of balance is. In heeled shoes I have the potential to multiply my humiliation by a factor of 100. Not to mention potentially serious injuring myself and ending up in plaster with a broken ankle for six weeks (and there’s a look that is guaranteed to make your legs look fat 😉 ). I want to be able to walk in heeled shoes, I really do, but… I can’t.
I’m forcing myself to practice at the moment. I got wolf-whistled at by the road-repair men when I walked past whilst wearing a pair with three inch heels today, which was nice. Yes, yes, I know – all the feminists are currently arming themselves with sticks and preparing to come round and beat me up for that comment, but just hang on a minute – I am not the sort of person who normally (ever) gets wolf-whistled at. I’m just not. I’m sure if you did the stats, tall, leggy, busty blondes in short skirts would come up more often than short, curvy, brunettes, in knee length skirts. Actually, today, I was in a slightly ratty ankle length black skirt, so who knows what the hell the chap was on! I’d say he was whistling at someone else, except the high-street was more or less empty bar me and the little old bag lady. What I am saying is that being oggled is a new experience for me, and rather nice for someone who gets more compliments on her personality than her looks. Let me get used to that oggling before I have to start being demeaned by it, will you? Anyway, I’m forcing myself to practice walking in heels. Rather I make a fool of myself walking round the house and neighbourhood than when I walk into an interview.
I think part of the reason that I find it hard to walk in heels is my breasts. When you’re up on heels, your entire centre of balance shifts from low down around about your waist/pelvis to up around your rib-cage. You suddenly become acutely aware that you have a tendency to lean forward. At least that is how I feel. When I am in heels I am extremely conscious of the fact that I am in a posture with my shoulders back, and (consequently) my breasts out. For someone who spends her life hunched over a computer screen, who is acutely self-conscious, and who tries not to thrust the aforementioned features into the public gaze too much, this takes some getting used to. I need to be paying attention to where my feet are being placed (uneven ground = harder to negotiate in dainty shoes), but instead I am being distracted by my chest. *1*
Add to all this, when you walk in heels, your weight is distributed differently. For feet that are used to walking in flats and have the corresponding hardened bits, this opens up whole new unexplored regions to blisters and the like. Don’t believe me? Try walking round on tip-toes for a bit. Yeah, see?
I know the only solution to this problem is to stop being a baby and just get on with it. I am keeping myself going with thoughts of all the cute shoes I will be able to buy when I finally can walk in heels. Ahh, happy day…
*1*Turns out workmen are also distracted by said chest, but that’s not really my problem 😉Back
*2*Oh, and I know that 3 inches isn’t, in the grand scheme of things, unusually high when it comes to shoe-heels, but it’s a lot for me when it’s nearly 5% of my total height.