I am very pleased with the sort of accidental alliteration of my subtitle up there. Not sure if alliteration is quite the right thing and am too tired to look it up, but you know what I mean. Shoes. Issues. They rhyme.
Anyway. I have never been a shoe girl. I am a handbag girl and a real-jewellery girl and a full-time make up girl. But shoes. Meh. I can take you or leave you. Not literally of course, as I have to have something on my feet (even at my most drunk I’ve never done the walking home barefoot in London thing – YUCK). But I’ve never got excited by an overpriced pair of stilettos. Or a swish pair of trainers. Shoes to me must be functional and smart, but I don’t want shouty shoes that draw attention to my feet. I don’t want shoes that cause me to hobble like a geriatric after five minutes’ wear. IMO there’s nothing fun or glamorous about looking crippled, or like a wobbly newborn giraffe.
This is my main beef with shoes: you try them on in the shop, they look wonderful and feel comfortable and not too high to walk in. You get them home, you wear them out once (so you’ve ruined the undersides, making them non-returnable), they rip your feet to shreds and you either cover your blistered bits with that moleskin stuff (doesn’t work, always just works its way loose) for round two or you consign them to the back of the wardrobe and pretend you didn’t spend £80 on them for one wear.
I dunno. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just have weird feet.
Either way I rarely buy shoes. I buy enough shoes to get by. I love winter because I can basically buy one pair of (nice) boots every year with a mid heel and then I don’t have to think about my feet until the dreaded warm weather rolls around.
If it was up to me, I’d basically wear those mega-comfy black thong flip flops from Accessorize all summer long. I have about eighty pairs – every year I buy a fresh pair but forget to throw the old ones away, so I spend lots of mornings trying to work out which flip flop goes with which flip flop (usually I work this out by taking a look at how worn the underside is – the really knackered ones have holes in the bottom. Nice). When I was running my PR business I truly struggled with the professional-shoes-for-the-summer thing. It was a pain in the arse. I usually carried a pair of heels in my bag and wore my trusty flip flops right up until walking into the client’s showroom.
Anyway the best thing about being on mat leave and freelancing again from home (in my pyjamas, in bed, most of the time) was not having to think about shoes at all. But last Saturday, as I mentioned, we went out for dinner to celebrate Oli’s birthday. I had a new frock. It covered all the postpartum bits of me that are less than picturesque right now but also nipped me in, reassuring me that all is not actually lost in the waist department (hurrah!). What I didn’t have, however, were any fancy shoes to go with it.
I mean, of course I do have fancy shoes. But they’re all really, really ancient. I plucked three pairs, circa 2002, 2005 and 2008, from my wardrobe and tried them all on with the dress. Picked a pair of gold wedgey things that didn’t seem to have aged too badly and off we went.
It was as we were walking to the restaurant I noticed that something felt a bit odd with my right shoe. Like I had something stuck to the bottom of it – chewing gum or a chocolate wrapper or something. I looked down but there was nothing obvious attached. I carried on walking, aware of a strange ‘flopping noise’ as I tottered.
We went into the restaurant (Roka Mayfair, which by the way was absolutely bloody lovely – very much recommend for a treat). We were seated at a lovely table right by the window. I wanted to wash my hands (tube travel + sushi = norovirus) so I stood up to ask the hostess where the toilets were. As she led me towards them, I realised that my shoe had gone from feeling weird, to feeling wrong. One of my legs was suddenly shorter than the other.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, the wedge part of my shoe fell off as I was walking across a very posh, very expensive restaurant in Mayfair.
It took a few seconds before I realised what had happened. I stopped, scurried back to pick the previously GLUED ON (cheap shoes be damned!) wedge heel up and hopped back to my seat, leaving the hostess bemused as to why I had stopped following her. I then sat there feeling like a total idiot, trying to work out if I had a hairband or something (string?!) in my tiny handbag so that I could somehow reattach it. I did not.
After several minutes of Oli laughing at me as I cringed with humiliation (yes the people sitting next to me did notice what had happened and yes the posh middle-aged lady in Jimmy Choos did smirk at me) I eventually made it to the loo – by ‘pretending’ my wedge was still attached and walking on tiptoe on that foot. I don’t think anyone noticed, except for the person who followed me back up the stairs from the toilet and who would have not been able to avoid seeing that one of my ‘shoes’ consisted of just a few straps attached to my feet.
So yes. The moral of this story is: you need to buy shoes more than once every ten years, or you will come unstuck. Literally.
We got an Uber home.