Eleven years ago, I hung up my sexy dresses, packed away my high heels, and gave up on toxic nail polish. I wore sweats dotted with snot and spit-up, and tennis shoes made for toddler chasing. When I went back to work, I still had very little contact with anyone over the age of 5 or their sweats -wearing parents – so I upgraded to more professional jeans and cargo pants.
The first thing I did when I got a job that didn’t require crawling around on the floor was buy a skirt. And a few things that – gasp – were dry clean only. And then I discovered Zappos.
For the uninitiated, Zappos is a miracle online retailer that specializes in shoes. To sweeten the deal, they ship free. Overnight. They can get shoes to me faster than I can drag myself to the store. I joke sometimes with my husband that they are on the doorstep before I hit SEND.
My husband will never understand my love of shoes. He has also never had the demoralizing experience of trying on every pair of pants in the closet and finding out even the pair in the dark recesses – reserved for January 2nd and “that time of the month” -doesn’t fit.
I have yet to meet a pair of shoes that made my butt look big.
So, a couple of weeks ago, after wearing a baggy shapeless dress for the third day in a row, I decided it was time to do something.
I read somewhere women under 40 look younger when they are on the thin side, but after 40, an extra 10 pounds actually makes them look younger. Something about the fat filling in their wrinkles…… Of course, age also impacts memory. I decided to do a little online confidence boosting research.
So I went to my computer and logged on to Facebook. That was when the miracle happened. Off to the right, a Zappos ad popped up. I swear I heard angels singing when I glanced over to find THE shoe. There they were, all sparkles and glitter down the 5-inch heel.
Ask any stripper – high heels are a must for your derriere. I clicked.
They arrived the next day, even more beautiful in real life than in the picture.
They are completely impractical, physically damaging, and impossible to walk in – not to mention overpriced. I planned on trying them on, wearing them around the house for a bit when no one was home, then sending them right back before I could get attached.
But something happened when I put them on. They lifted more than my butt – although the strippers are right on that one – I felt sexy, even in my ratty yoga pants.
I took a few tentative steps, then more, and before I knew it, I was walking confidently around the house. They made me want to put on lipstick and greet my husband at the door with a martini.
I felt less like mom jeans, and more like black leather. Twenty three year old me was still in there somewhere, and she was clawing her way back to the surface with fire engine red nails.
She may have been buried for years under a pile of third row seats and holiday sweaters, but she was showing some spunk.
A great pair of shoes can do that. I understand why the ugly step-sisters were willing to cut off their toes to make Cinderella’s shoes fit – it wasn’t about the Prince, it was about feeling good.
Like Dorothy, the shoes showed me a new path home. Yes, I am still mom. I won’t embarrass my children by wearing them to parent-teacher conferences or the next gymnastics meet, but I just might make my husband happy by wearing them out to a child-free dinner once in a while.
Most importantly, I will wear them to make me happy.
So if you see me grocery shopping in 5-inch heels, please don’t judge. I may have needed them to pull me out of the pile of too small pants littering my bedroom, or to rise above the third puddle of cat vomit on the living room rug. A great pair of shoes is a small price to pay for that!