Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fight Shoes

The cutest pair of shoes I own are a pair of silver Brian Atwoods with four-inch heels. I don’t know from Brian Atwood, but the lady at the store that sold them to me told me he was “all the rage.” When I saw the price, I understood the “rage” part. Fortunately, the pair that caught my eye had already been worn. Only once. By a little old lady to church on one Sunday. No, actually they were worn only once by a model in a fashion show and therefore, I received quite a price break. The saleslady told me they were runway shoes. Cool, I thought. Runway shoes.

These days, I call them my Fight Shoes. Not because I believe that, with the correct amount of torque, I could skewer the worthiest of opponents with an appropriately placed roundhouse, but because every time I wear them, anywhere, my husband and I finish the evening with a fight.

My pair of silver Brian Atwoods, with four-inch heels, make my feet hurt. A lot.

Being more of a Keds kind of girl, the same dialogue runs through my head every time I pull them out of my closet. (Picture a Good Shoe Angel on one shoulder and an Evil Shoe Devil on the other.)

Good Shoe Angel: “Don’t wear those shoes! They’re impractical!”

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

Good Shoe Angel: “They make your feet hurt and when your feet hurt, you get crabby and dare I say it, sometimes even—unreasonable.”

At this I gasp: Unreasonable? Moi?

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

Good Shoe Angel: “It doesn’t matter how good they look, or how well they go with your outfit, you know by the end of the night you’ll end up in some dumb fight with your husband, about him walking too fast, or making you walk too far or not hailing a cab quickly enough.”

Evil Shoe Devil: “Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

As for who triumphs on any given night, all the smart money should be on Evil Shoe Devil, which now that I think of it, would be a good name for a racehorse.

On the evenings that Evil Shoe Devil does triumph, said pair of silver Brian Atwoods wait by the front door, the very last thing I put on before we leave. And when I put them on, they do look fabulous. They make me feel fabulous—the way they lengthen my legs, accentuate my calf muscles and finally, for once, put me eye to eye with my husband. I continue to feel fabulous wearing them for ten, maybe fifteen steps. That’s all it takes before the pressure on the balls of my feet is extreme, my arches are in flames and I can’t feel my toes anymore. By then, I’m already anticipating the 3 a.m. wake-up call, when the aforementioned calf muscles twist themselves into vicious knots and seize up my legs with brutal cramps.

Each time I strap them on, I tell myself, Tonight will be different. I will be calm and rational despite my pain, that “Fight Shoes” is a misnomer, nothing more than a silly superstition. Yet my Fight Shoes have caused me to dance shoeless at weddings and walk barefoot through Lincoln Park. Less acceptably, they’ve also caused me to screech at my poor husband like a menopausal fishwife when he allowed a cab driver to drop us at the corner instead of right in front of a restaurant.

Whenever we’re preparing for one of our precious evenings out, the look of dread in his eyes is unmistakable when he spies the Fight Shoes waiting next to the front door.

“Not those,” he says.

I want to tell him, tonight will be different, that “Fight Shoes” is a misnomer, a silly superstition.

Helplessly, I stand there before them—torn between my kind, loving husband and my sexy pair of shoes. In the end, all I can manage is a pre-emptive apology and the words, ”Yeah, but they’re sooo cute!”

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