I know your feelings about high heels – namely, you hate them – but I think they're beautiful and so many women's outfits require them.
I just can't seem to wear them without my feet aching though. How do other women do it?
OK, first of all I don't "hate" high heels. In fact, I own a pair or two myself. I just almost never wear them because, like you, I find it pretty much physically impossible to do so and, for me, the beauty of the shoes does not outweigh the pain. But others, of course, think differently and that is totally fair, although I live in constant amazement at their high pain threshold and balancing skills. I was in Selfridges on Friday and saw a woman striding about in a pair of six-inch Louboutins, shopping away. Yes, there was a little platform in the shoes but to me that just means your foot is even further off the ground and you may as well be walking around on stilts on your tiptoes.
I don't hate high heels. I do hate that they are signifiers of female elegance when, in my experience, the vast majority of women find them extremely painful and hobbling. I also resent that the point of them seems to be to make a woman's foot look smaller: as though women didn't suffer enough criticism about their bodies, we have to deal with foot size, too? As Gob Bluth would say, come on!
I very much take your point about how many women's outfits require high heels but I think what you need to separate in your mind, Savannah, is whether you genuinely want to wear them (because they're "beautiful"), or whether you think you should, because the fashion industry and society tell you to do so. And to help you decide I shall tell a brief tale that comes from The Backlog of Me.
The reason I was at Selfridges was to have a makeover at Charlotte Tilbury's pop-up makeup extravaganza, her House of Rock'n'Kohl, because I wanted to learn once and for sodding all how to put on eyeliner. Not being able to put on makeup has long been a source of vague embarrassment to me. But recently it had become more than an embarrassment. From the few times I've had my makeup done, recently, I've realised how much better I look with a bit of smudged eyeliner. Well, "better" is subjective and unimportant, even - I looked the way I personally want to look, but no matter how much I practise at home I almost always end up looking like Robert Smith, with lines so wonky around my eyelid that Edward Scissorhands might as well have applied it. I would see women on the tube with perfectly made-up faces and I wanted to stand in the middle of the carriage and bellow: "Look, the reason I'm not wearing any makeup is not because I don't want to – it's because I simply cannot apply it properly. This is not how I choose to look, it's just all I can manage. Just wanted to clear that up for everyone!"
So off I went and the makeup artist turned me into the woman I look like in my fantasies. So, giddy with narcissism and misguided confidence, I promptly spent about £60 on the products she used so I could recreate it at home, and guess what? I looked like Robert Smith all over again, but with more expensive products on my face.
As a fellow high-heel numpty, I honestly cannot give you any advice on how to wear them, other than not to listen to anyone who tells you that the more expensive the shoe, the easier it is to wear. This is 100% bupkiss. The only high-heeled shoes I could ever manage to dance in all night in were made by Karen Millen, so make of that what you will. (Sadly, I lost the right one in a bush several years ago outside DC10 in Ibiza. Don't. The pain is still too great.)
Until you find a high heel that you can walk in, buy a pair of flats, such as ones by Rollasole, which you can roll up and keep in your handbag so at least you will get to and from your party without falling in a manhole.
But most importantly, remember this: women are told that they must do many things in order to look glamorous or properly feminine, whatever the hell that is, and it's all nonsense. By all means, wear high heels or play with eyeliner, but do it for yourself, not because you think you should, and remember, you're absolutely fabulous without such fripperies, too. So if it gets to a point where you're breaking your ankles, or I'm poking my eyes out, let's agree, Savannah, to forget about it. Remember, this kind of frippery is supposed to be fun so don't torture yourself for it, because, as fun as it is to make yourself resemble the woman you always imagined you could be, it really isn't worth any masochism. And when all else fails, have a drink, crank up Backstreet Boys' Greatest Hits and get in the bubble bath. That's a frippery all of us can manage.
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