When in doubt, wear flats. That’s my motto.
Reason one: I swear like a sailor in heels.
Reason two: I look like Bambi stepping onto a frozen pond for the first time.
Reason three: I might need to spontaneously break into a jog.
Of course, sometimes vanity gets in the way. My friend hosted a party and I had the perfect dress. When I saw the perfect shoes to match, I bought them and figured that the same magic bestowed upon Cinderella’s big night would somehow extend to me. Not so.
It took me nearly 20 minutes to walk to a party that was two blocks from my home. At one point, I got my heel stuck between two sidewalk tiles and fell out of my shoe, stumbling forward and catching myself just before I hit the pavement.
Once there, I told my friend what had happened. She — dressed in a suit, with enviable loafers — laughed. Then she examined my feet.
“Those are barely heels,” she said. “They’re trainers. I could walk in those.”
When even the butches are laughing, you know you’re in trouble.
I wanted her to prove it and she said she would. It could have turned into a sporting-event-like competition but I had taped tissue to the inside of the heels in my novice attempt to avoid blisters. I was too embarrassed to tell her this so I went to get a ginger ale instead.
All around me, I saw nothing but women in high heels and I felt tired of all my excuses. Sure, I could argue that heels are disempowering, that they are a patriarchal tool, that they are crippling and thus oppressive. But the truth is I’m 33, my window of opportunity closing, and I just want to know how to do this thing.
Not for the male gaze, not for the female gaze, but for me, for my dress and for that once-in-a-while moment when I feel like being fancy.
Most of my friends would rather talk about politics or having babies or not having babies. I could watch tutorials on YouTube but then my plight would feel even more pathetic.
At that moment my hero walked into the party. Every nerdy girl needs a drag queen friend. Mine not only walks in four-inch heels but performs in them, dances in them and probably cleans her apartment in them.
Her mom, like my mom, had also instructed her to stay away from heels, though for different reasons. When I asked her, she didn’t laugh. She took my arm, said she’d be delighted and offered to make a day of it.