These fatal words from my doctor “wear sensible shoes to lessen your lower back pain and you should work on tightening your stomach muscles with exercise because those muscles effect the strength of your back – and you should lose weight.” What a prescription. Everything was in my power to achieve – regretfully, he was asking entirely too much of me.
How can I remain in “the mix” in sensible shoes? My friend Janie Lynn once warned me that the first thing she notices about a woman is her shoes. I was in my thirties then and was trying keep up with the latest fashions and sensible shoes did not fit. No matter the pain and/or imbalance, shoes, make the outfit. Ladies, have you ever watched a woman with swollen feet stuffed into cutesy shoes painstakingly walk across a room and understood her motive? Wear the cute heels that match the outfit, or put on the shoes that are comfortable, sensible and completely unstylish – what kind of choice is that?
I’ve found that many women have the same reaction as Janie Lynn has on meeting or seeing a new woman arrive – they look at her shoes. Where does that come from? What primordial reaction to other women causes footwear judgment? I can still see Imelda Marcos’ shoe closet with the hundreds of pairs on display and admire Carrie Bradshaw’s love of shoes as she runs through the sidewalks and streets of New York in her stilettos. And no one runs as gracefully as Carrie in high heels (you go SJP).
I was already in an exercise class doing crunches and sit-ups at least three times a week – what more could my doctor want from me? Besides I have always been “big-boned” so even though I was above the average weight for the average 5′ 5 3/4″ almost 5′ 6” woman, I still wore a size twelve, one size under the average fourteen for women of the US. I was still in the going out every weekend stage of my life. I could not be seen in sensible shoes. I already had two children, so my game had to be a good one to compete. I had to look interesting, as well as be interesting, for the men and women who observed me.
Nellie, an older woman who I worked with wore sensible shoes. They were what I considered men-like ones with cushy soles and big square half-inch heels with strings tied with a nice bow at the top of her arch. Nellie also wore pants with elastic waistbands. She was brilliant, took no prisoners and came to work to do just that in her comfy clothes and comfy shoes. Her wrath was to be avoided and her knowledge was always held in high esteem.
I did start wearing lower heels and went to the drug store for Dr. Scholl’s inserts, which made a big difference when walking or standing; however, my doctor still warned me that I should wear shoes like Nellie’s. He asked me to choose between pain and appearance. Looking back, why was that such a hard choice to make?
I’m still single.