by Becky Mahoney
The sun is shining, the weather’s getting warmer and it’s time to let my tootsies run free. This week, I flung open my shoe closet. I used to tell people I was a shoe harlot, but I think I’m more like a shoe pimp. I have a stable of shoes. It seems I’m in the business of accumulating them. I don’t think I have a real addiction; just an undiagnosed case of Hyper Shoe Disorder. I was forced to consider this possibility the other day when I opened my shoe closet and a pair of Lucite and rhinestone stilettos tumbled from the top shelf and bonked me on the head. Yes… I have a closet just for my shoes. Two- 20 compartment bags dangle from the clothing rod and three racks rest underneath. The top shelf is a mountain of rubber, leather, wood, plastic and bows and baubles, molded into the shape of shoes. It’s no wonder the Barbarella shoes caused a mild concussion. My first thought was not, time to Spring clean: it was, time to move into closet number two.
I’m not a fussy or discriminatory shoe pimp either. I’m kind to all shoes; an equal opportunity shoe hustler, that’s me. They don’t need to come from a prestigious family like Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo. I kind of think of myself as the Mother Theresa of footwear; gathering them all up from the discount racks, the unwanted rejects. Give me your poor and unlovable, your cheap, your 7 inch heels. I’m frequently adoptive mom to last season’s fashion failures and over the top designs, sentenced to bargain basements. I give them a home, joyfully sweeping them into my shopping bag and later, sliding them on my loving feet. No shoe left behind. That’s been my motto.
I do tend to be drawn to styles that make a statement; the kind that scream, “I am shoe, hear me roar.” My psychedelic, Magical Mystery Tour, lime green and orange espadrilles, were the number one gal in my stable a few summers ago. One winter, my bronzy gold, pointy toe cowboy boots started conversations in places you wouldn’t expect to appreciate the allure of Goldfinger western wear. I name my shoes too. There’s the Purple Tango and the Pretty Woman Hooker Boots. When I spied some mango colored pumps (marked down three times) my right brain cranked out a mental fashion spread using the clothes in my closet; eventually matching those shoes to a little floral skirt with just that shade in one of the flowers. Every shoe has such potential. All they need is a great skirt or dress giving them the self-confidence to release their artistry. I offer up my feet as their canvas.
There ain’t no mountain, or shoe high enough to keep me away. My devotion is returned a hundred-fold. I’m 5’3”. When I put on my six inch heels, my shoes tell me, “Baby, you’re a super model! You don’t really need to lose those extra pounds. You, hot mama, clearly fall within the appropriate weight range for your height!” Shoes are loyal. They make you feel pretty, all the time, whether you’re wearing a size 4 or a size 12. They still fit.
Like a best friend, my shoes point out my attributes. They exclaim:
“See how slender your ankles look in these Roman lace-ups? No cankles for you, you old fox.”
“That strappy lime green stiletto sandal really compliments your tiny neon pink toes.”
They know my love language is affirmations, and provide plenty. Every time I slide a pair on my size six foot, I feel ten feet tall!
My shoes set the stage for multiple roles, a daily debut. Reading my mind, the puce and violet patent leather stilettos smile and say, “Feeling sassy today you Brazilian Goddess? Wear me.”
My thick-strapped, black, five-inch chunky heeled Roman soldier sandals, huskily taunt me with their domineering presence. “Ready to conquer the world Wonder Woman?”
“So you really think this date is worthy of you Mae West?” questions my black sateen and rhinestone dazzlers. Wink. Wink.
I’m not quite as loyal to my Winter shoes. You’ll find them hidden in the back of my shoe closet. First, I hate the confinement of feet encased in sheepskin, leather and sensibility. Second, even their names are unattractive. Ugg… Boot…Clog. Ugh! Compare that to the sound of summer shoes; stilettos, slingback, kitten heels, thongs peep-toe.
Oh, my gosh! I am a shoe harlot. And, a foot doctor’s dream date.