Excuse the Shoes!

18th January 2009

Let me explain ....

I have always had wide(r) feet, well, not petite. I had a voluptuous physique. Wouldn't call myself fat! but there were times in my adolescent life when yeah, I was fat! The fat it seems concentrated more waist down right to my feet. I've now lost a bit of weight and so have my feet.

Like most women, my body has seesaw-ed in weight and shape for various reasons (children, etc). And when I've been of a bigger size, I've gone off high heels (but I'd secretly purchase a pair of two and just keep them in my closet or wear them once or twice to occasions where I knew I'd sat most of the time). I just couldn't balance on them and felt awkward if I tried to dare wear any! Also, it didn't feel comfortable wearing stiletto's to "toddler groups" or the park.

When young, I remember being taken into the "proper" shoe shop to have my feet measured and the delight of the staff at the chubbiness of them and me. There were just 2 shoe shops in town. According to my parents, the proper shoe shop was the one with latest foot measuring equipment, uniformed staff who were trained to 'serve' customers and use the equipment and being the colonial coastal town that it was, this shop, had a rocking horse with a real hair mane and tail. We were allowed to ride on it, only if we behaved. And last but not least, it sold sensible shoes. Stout black lace-ups, T-bar's, you get my drift. The other shop, you have guessed, was pretty much the opposite, selling everything attractive from junior heels and shiny patented shoes. Naturally, this was the shop that, me and the rest of my friends, yearned to visit.


I can't pinpoint the moment my obsession with shoes began, but can any girl? Are we genetically made so that from a young age, we show signs of having a strong interest in shoes? Is it something to do with feet, legs, motion, or even the "height" and posture it gives us when we wear them? This interest has not stopped since I took up dancing and in particular, Tango! I am constantly in shoe heaven. I don't have to own them, no, just attending milonga's and looking at the feet will do!

Now, I've had a number of occasions where I've 'forgotten' my Tango shoes and last night was no exception. The annoying thing is that remembered to pick them up just before leaving the house; I then remembered to get them out of the car when I parked my car; I then remembered to pick up the bag when getting off the train; but I fell at the last hurdle, when leaving the office. I do try to remember, but unfortunately, can't promise myself that this will be the last time I do forget about my shoes. After wasting 15 minutes debating whether or not I should leave, I decided to stay, which was a very good decision on hindsight. I did miss my CIF's hugely despite the pain they leave my feet in.

So when not dancing all I could do is envy the women in theirs. Something became very clear, which wasn't as apparent before.

Tango Heels

Why do we wear these heels? For one, we are mostly on the balls of our feet in Tango. Secondly, it's about the decoration. Yes, I think so. It may not mean a lot, but the difference between me in my ugly boots and the ladies in their heels was their expressing their connection which could only look elegant in Tango heels and not flat, patented, knee high leather boots. I remembered hearing or reading somewhere that the follower's musicality is often expressed by the changes she puts in the connection (so long as it's been led). By choosing the way she'd like to move, she decorates time, space a bit like decorating their lead's thoughts and I could see that sometimes they noticed!

And the moral is...

The morals of this story are several. But I'll stick to the shoe thing .....

Firstly, never judge a woman by her footwear. Inside every woman wearing frumpy, sensible shoes there probably lies a deep longing to be in precariously on 8 cm heels.

Secondly, try to remember your dance shoes!

And thirdly, if you ever happen to meet me - excuse the shoes!!

- Betty Smith, 18th January 2009

Related Articles