From Great Heights

Most women I know have a shoe fetish of some description.  Either a certain style or a certain designer or just a plain love of something that fits no matter what’s going on up above.  Shoe sizes don’t fluctuate all that much.  I did go up 1/2 a size after ‘dem babies, as Mariah Carey would say, but I can still slip in to some 6’s.  It’s a nice connection to when my pant size was the same number.  I have a friend, a bestie, a fellow shoe addict whose style in shoes impresses me to no end.  I’m more of a functional shoe girl while she embraces the holy mamma look at those things kind of style that I will never own, though I have tried.   Her style and grace are only a small part of what makes her fabulous. My friend sees the world from great heights and her shoes just make it easier.

My friend has been my friend since we were 12.  Those were the days of flip flops, Cougar boots (when cougar was a brand of shoe and not horny, prowling, middle-aged women) and Adidas.  We were forever on the move biking around Bronte, going to each others houses, and just generally hanging out.  Shoes were quite low to the ground and it was a HUGE deal when we were finally allowed those 1″ block heels that every pre-teen thinks of as such a milestone.  We were going up in the world when those shoes were added to our wardrobe.  Heights were yet to be reached though great things were to come.

Highschool brought on desert boots, funky pointed flats and still more runners though they were no longer the bargain basement brand.  Now name began to mean something.  Now shoes became more of a status thing.  I so longed for a pair of expensive Bass Weejun loafers that my parents finally caved though I had to throw in some of my babysitting money.  After believing that these shoes would catapult me in to super stardom and finally break that glass ceiling of popularity, I couldn’t believe how damn uncomfortable they were.  It was quite a lesson in style, what level of discomfort I was willing to put up with and supreme disappointment that I remained the social outsider I’d always been.  My friend ? She still remained quite close to the ground though her love affair with height was being firmly established.  Her mother wore, and still doesn’t wear, anything under 3 inches.

We drifted apart for a while, this friend and I.  Post secondary education at different institutions and just general life changes forced a separation that lasted off and on for about 5 years.  During this time, my feet still remained quite close to the ground though I occasionally saw life from 2 inches higher.  Quite a nice view from up there I must tell you.  I can see the attraction of adding another 4 inches to my vantage point but nothing short of shoes made out of fluffy sheep that came with suitably naked muscle-bound young men to carry me when the pain becomes too much will ever coax me to permanently adopt that particular affliction.  My friend ? She was well on her way to seeing life from a whole new viewpoint.

Now this friends mother has a shoe collection like nothing I’ve ever seen.  In fact for most of our misspent youth, I always assumed she was much taller than she actually is.  Imagine my complete shock the first time, almost 20 years in to our relationship, that I saw her mother in bare feet.  I can still remember the exact moment and it still gives me pause.  She has everything from 5 inch leucite heels to strappy numbers that would make a dominatrix proud.  Every color of the rainbow, every conceivable convolution of buckles, studs and bows that will make an astonishing historical record of high heels for generations to come.  This is the influence under which my friend developed her appreciation for height.  She had no choice I’m afraid.  Great heights were in her future from the beginning.

Why are shoes a big deal worthy of a mention in the ether-world of blogging ? Because I have come to appreciate what high heels can mean for a woman.  Growth, maturity, change, expression of self, and a feel good purchase that can give a woman a smile years after the style of those favourite purple sling backs has been relegated to “vintage”.  I’ve come to appreciate that it takes a confident, strong, stylish woman to pull off some of the heels that my friend wears.  I helped her clean out her closet recently and with the sadistic cobblers wonderland we uncovered, gained a new appreciation for the strength of her calves and lower back.  No wonder her legs look fantastic.  There is nary a wobble when she strides towards me to meet for lunch or some other social occasion.  There is only a confident, poised, purposeful walk that says to the world: I kick butt whether I’m cutting a new business deal in 4 inch black peep toes or taking my kids out for ice cream in 3 inch wedges.

Is it the change in view when one sees the world from that lofty perch of fine footery that influences our character in such a positive way ? Or is the confidence bourne of knowing you have grown in to a fabulous woman and are a stylistic inspiration to others ?  Either way, thank you my friend. Perhaps I will go back and purchase those 4 inch gold platform heels that made my legs look a Rockette’s.  Great heights are to be aspired to and we might as well look fabulous while getting there.

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