Friday, October 15, 2010

kick a** shoes

About a month ago I had a wake up call - and it hasn't been pretty since.  I was attending the birthday party of a parishioner - and after greeting Jim and his wife I got a piece of cake, a cup of punch and sat down with a couple of other parishioners for a visit.  After a few minutes the husband (I will call him Z) said, "I have been meaning to ask you, whats up with your shoes?"  I was shocked, stunned, speechless even...

You see, I am my mother's daughter - clothes are to cover one up - not to make a statement...and shoes - well shoes are for protecting one's feet and comfort.  This is especially true since my late 20s when I started dating a man who was close to my height - and then, I had 4 children - and my shoes size jumped from size 10 to 11.  Ugh.

I phoned a clergy friend and he laughed when I told him my story - his advice; "you need some kick a** shoes!"  I protested, "I wear a robe so no one gets distracted by my clothes.  Do I really need to worry about my shoes?"  "Absolutely," he said.  "You must get some kick a** shoes.  You can have another pair to wear when you aren't preaching, but you have to just do it."  UGH!

Since then I have been on the hunt for a pair of kick a** shoes.  You would think it would be easy, right?  WRONG!  Remember, I wear size 11's.  Also, I am not a stiletto heel kinda gal, plus, what really constitutes kick a** shoes in the first place?

I looked in my closet, because of my shoe size dilemma I don't have many options - a pair of sensible dressy shoes in black, a pair of leather 'ballerina' style shoes, some slip on clog type shoes, 2 pairs of sneakers and my Sunday morning favorite of late, a pair of Clarks dress shoes that Z obviously thinks are more for older ladies.  Sigh...

I started shopping on line - but truth is, you don't know much about shoes from pictures - especially when you have feet like mine.  So, when the opportunity presented itself I went to a store to see if I could find something in my favorite brand - Clarks.  I got my first pair of Clarks a year and a half ago and I love, love, love them.  Of course, they are slip on flats - very practical if one is walking around town, but definitely not worthy of any special attention.

I was very disappointed - the Clarks dress shoes all looked so - ordinary...I left the store discouraged...and yet determined not to give up...that is the point of a challenge isn't it?  Never, ever, give up!

My next outing I went to a department store.  The clerk shook her head when I said that I needed a size 11 heel - nothing boring please.  "We don't have many size 11's" she said.  Wow, was she right.  I tried on a couple of pairs, when she tried to give me pointy toed shoes I laughed out loud.  "Umm, not when you are already starting with big feet," I muttered.  At her urging I tried to squeeze into some 10's (I knew better, but was compliant).  I narrowed my selection down to two pairs that I thought might be worthy of the quest.  It was while I was trying on what seemed like dozens and dozens of pairs of shoes that a repressed memory came back to me...

It was 1970 something - and I was shopping with my mom.  I was probably only in 8th or 9th grade - definitely not very grown up (atleast according to standards back then) and we were doing the annual 'back to school' shoe shopping trip.  Since I am from a family of 6 children shoe shopping was excruciating and expensive.  She could make our skirts, dresses and even shirts - but we had to pay money for shoes.  Each fall we were allowed one pair of sneakers for PE and one other pair of shoes that would double for school and church.  I don't know if you remember shoe styles back then, but women's shoes were not very kid friendly.  By the end of our time trying on dozens and dozens of shoes (from cork wedges to who knows what) I ended up with a pair of sensible men's Earth Shoes - yes, I was scarred for life...
mine were brown, but you get the idea

I did make my mom laugh a couple of times tho - she said I reminded her of Lucille Ball as I tried to walk in the women's dress shoes...which is what led us to the Earth Shoes in the first place - did I mention that I was scarred for life?

Back at the department store, I finally settled on a pair of shoes, they were kinda cute in the front, although they were sling backs.  I wasn't sure how the style would work on Sunday mornings - I have to walk up steps a couple of times and I move around a good bit when I preach.   But I thought I would get them anyway and give them a try.  They sent me home with a return policy stapled to my receipt...whew, I would have an out if need be.  Oh and I did get another pair of Clarks slip ons (brown this time, cause every gal needs a comfy pair of brown shoes AND they were on sale).   When I got home I tried on the Clarks - perfect!  But, the other pair - they didn't feel right.

This past Sunday was our Fall Festival, I didn't have an opportunity to wear my new shoes, but I whispered to Z as I shook hands after worship that I was on a quest for a pair of kick a** shoes - he and his wife both burst out laughing.

Monday afternoon I made a hospital call, and a parishioner, let's call him B, rode along.  B and I had a long way to ride - so we talked about our families, we talked about the church, we talked about God, and then we started telling one another humorous stories.  I had my shoe adventure on my mind so I told him about Z and his comment about my shoes.  "Oh," B said, "you mean the pilgrim shoes?"  "Pilgrim shoes?!?!" I exclaimed...and then huffed.  "Really?"  "Yeah," B said, "I would never say anything, but, what's up with those shoes, they look a little old for you."  grrrrrr....

Tuesday morning I tried on my shoes again, they just didn't feel that good, so I stopped on my way home from a meeting through Cedar Falls to see if there were any other options.  Nope, not a thing.  This morning I had an appointment in Cedar Falls again - and afterwards I drove to Waterloo, with my shoes in hand ready to exchange them for something truly kick a** worthy.  I hit all of the department stores in the mall, Famous Footwear too.  What a disappointment...I could order a pair of 11's but nothing was going to work.  UGH!
 these didn't make the cut...

Did you know that Fergie has a line of shoes out?  They are called Fergelicious.  Of all the shoes I tried on at the mall, hers were the most comfortable - but the heel height was ridiculous!

I did stop one more place, a shop outside the mall called Shoe Carnival.  They were having a sale - buy one pair, get another 1/2 off.  I ended up with two pairs of shoes - one might be considered fairly tame, the other might just be kick a** worthy.  I am not quite sure...I still have not figured out what constitutes kick a** shoes.

I will wear one of my new pairs of shoes Sunday morning (pray I don't fall).  It seems like a lot of energy for a pair of shoes.  Energy I could have spent doing other things...but in retrospect, this has been an interesting adventure in learning more about myself.  I am not very tall and a bit overweight.  I would rather invest in books or stuff for the kids than clothes for myself.  I am ok with that, but I think that as I have said to myself my clothes didn't matter I was also in a sense being too practical and not acknowledging my feminine side.  I still don't think that clothes make the woman, or man, but sometimes its nice to have fun, dress up, and wear kick a** shoes!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Deb! I can relate to the shoe struggles! As we change seasons, I have to adjust to wearing something other than birkenstock sandals. Yes, I switch to birkenstock shoes!! And I did have a pair of earth shoes back in the day too. :) My teenage daughter pushes me towards cute shoes....
    can't find any that are comfy! Usually I resign myself to being quirky, but each fall there is "the quest".