Thursday, February 27, 2014


My mom had small feet. She wore pretty shoes. Her feet hurt a lot. She talked about "corns." She talked about high heels being bad for one's feet. She started going to a podiatrist every two weeks or so.

One day, there she was, wearing black shoes -- ugly black shoes with black shoe laces, and black low heels. They changed the way she looked. They were "old lady" shoes.

"How do I look?" Mom asked.

"Oh you look fine, Mom," I lied.

I have lots of high-heeled shoes that I used to wear, don't wear anymore.  I never wear high- heels unless we've got a limousine waiting downstairs. I wear flats, or sandals, or sneakers.

John Cullum, my husband, did a performance of "THE VISIT," a John Kander-Fred Ebb musical based on Fredrich Durrenmatt's play. The musical was performed, one night only, in a large Broadway theater as a benefit for the Vineyard theater. It was a full cast, orchestra and John, co-starring with Chita Rivera.

The plot -- a wealthy woman, (Chita), returns to her hometown and offers its residents a new lease on life in exchange for the murder of Anton, (John), the man who scorned her years ago.

 I sat with John Kander in the back of the theater during rehearsal, chatting with him as the climax was rehearsed. On the stage, a young person entered in a pair of yellow shoes. Gradually, more townspeople appeared in yellow shoes. This "Yellow Shoes" number, becomes a powerful idea -- a symbol of young people wanting to overthrow the old-fashioned ways of the older townspeople.

"Pure genius," I thought, when finally everyone in the town -- everyone in the cast was wearing yellow shoes, except Anton, (John). Surrounding him, the yellow-shoed people kill him. It was a riveting, horrifying scene on the stage.

I was wearing my black sneakers. I wear them nowadays even when I go to the theater -- they look okay t with my black pants and lovely black silk blouse.  (Sure, they're black shoes, but they're not "health" shoes like Mom wore. I remember hers cost $80. Back then, it was a huge amount to pay for corrective shoes.) 

Here's a picture of my sneakers.  Hell, forget the price! My Rebok sneakers cost as much as health shoes used to cost, and nowadays health shoes cost hundreds of dollars.

Oh my God ...

Oh my God, in a world where women of every age-size-shape-type are wearing high and higher heels -- spikes, 8 inches, 10, even more -- I couldn't walk in them, couldn't shop, can't even sit if I wear them -- I can't wear them, won't wear them -- I refuse to let what's in style kill what's left of my youthful spirit.

Hey Mom, your shoes kept you going! Hey Kander, to hell with the yellow shoe-younger generation taking over the world! I love my black sneakers.

I'm comfy-happy-wearing 'em right now as I write this.


Cara said...

I often work at home in cute slipper booties or socks. When I go out I often wear boots with a one-inch heel or clogs or wedges with a two-inch heel, but never a skinny high heel. I've found several pairs of low-heeled shoes made specifically to keep feet healthy and comfy, yet they still look relatively youthful and cute with a touch of personality. It takes a bit longer to find them and they cost more, but I buy fewer and they last longer, so its still cost-effective. I like to look feminine, but I also want to be kind to my back and my feet: after all, they take me everywhere I go. BTW, The Walking Store has many options that split the difference on style and comfort.

Unknown said...

So buy some yellow sneakers! :)

Carola said...

I have to wear "sneakers" all the time now too. It was embarrassing when I went to Paris, but now even in Paris, it's becoming the trend. That said, I remember those black sensible shoes similar to what your mother wore. I've seen them around lately. They have become fashionable.

Anonymous said...

They're cute Em! I'm addicted to shoes... all kinds. I wear heels, ballet flats and sneakers in prints and bright colors, ankle boots, you name it. I am a shoe-addict! Wear whatever makes you feel comfy and happy. :D

Unknown said...

I think it all depends on if you have style. People live in different places. I live where there are seasons. And there's a season and place to wear certain shoes. Fact: Women who stay in heels have thee most ugliest feet.

chrisrose14 said...

Em, this may well be good news for you, but I can't stand high-heel shoes, from a man's point of view, that is. Flat shoes are sexy, chic and all those positives. High-heels? Wrong attitude and look silly to boot - pun intended ;-)

Anonymous said...

interesting I just bought a pair of metallic silver ankle boots today that is so different , and so classy. I can't wait to wear them. I am a shoe fetish. I own about eighty pairs, and still buying. The world economy needs me. Cheers Emily !

Peggy Bechko said...

When I was young my grandmother, who'd worked all her life, wearing what was then high heels, discovered she couldn't put her foot flat on the floor. She literally walked on her toes because her Achilles tendon had contracted. We set out on a program of getting her incrementally lower heels until she could wear flat shoes again. It took about a year and several pairs of shoes until she could comfortably walk flat-footed again. This is not good!

Piroska said...

Interesting question you ask! I wore most of my career running shoes or smart nursing shoes. Wore nursing uniforms and later OR greens (scrubs), I used to joke that I live in PJs - scrubs, karate gi ( been doing martial arts for over 17 years) and workout clothes. So when I switched gears to administration, and finally fnished shcool to be a therapist, lol my feet were not so happy! As i started to wear more fashionable shoes. in my free time still wear Birketstocks and Mephistos. I like comfort and I am with you, they take me further. But its about being comfortable in your own skin and not needing to wear heels for anyone or for fashion but to wear it because you so choose :) Be yourself and it doesnt matter what you wear, people will see the real you. those are my thoughts. Have a great week Emily!!