A per­sonal shoe story hinges on heels

The Buffalo News - - OPINION - Marge McMillen, of East Amherst, has grown ac­cus­tomed to wear­ing flat shoes.

I loved play­ing grown-up when I was lit­tle, walk­ing around the house in my mother’s high heels. And like any other lit­tle girl, I anx­iously awaited the time when I could wear th­ese sym­bols of ma­tu­rity with no danger of hear­ing the flip-flop­ping noise em­a­nat­ing from a pair much too big for my feet.

As the old say­ing goes, all good things come to those who wait, so it wasn’t that many years later when, as a teenager, I could ac­tu­ally fit into a pair of high heels.

Be­ing the typ­i­cal teen, I em­u­lated my peers, and when put into a sit­u­a­tion where high heels could be worn, of course I chose the high­est pos­si­ble ones. At that time, that re­sulted in my wear­ing 6-inch heels, af­fec­tion­ately known as spikes. One more inch, and I could have ap­plied for a mem­ber­ship card to the New York City Ballet.

Th­ese shoes also had the dis­tinc­tion of ta­per­ing into very pointed toes. Look at your feet, my friend … is that the way your foot is formed? No? Nei­ther was mine. The 6-inch heels pushed my feet into th­ese in­stru­ments of tor­ture, but the boys ogled my legs, and so, of course, it was worth it.

You might know it was men who de­signed th­ese shoes, men who would never dream of wear­ing th­ese types of heels. How­ever, I’m guess­ing they liked the way we girls looked in them, and con­versely, we liked the way the boys looked at us. It was a win-win sit­u­a­tion, and worth it be­cause as a teen, we had en­tered that stage of life where we were look­ing for a mate. What bet­ter way to at­tract one than elon­gat­ing our legs with spiked heels?

I’d like to say this worked, but I re­ally can’t since I met my hus­band on a blind date in which I wore blue jeans, an­kle socks and sad­dle shoes. It must be that my sparkling per­son­al­ity won him over in spite of the flat heels.

Time passes, and now I am a wife and mother, whose du­ties in­clude those of cook­ing and clean­ing – no 6-inch spikes needed. I loved my ev­ery-day flat heels, but would still dress up for those Satur­day nights out when I did my fa­vorite thing: dance. My hus­band was a great dancer and we of­ten shone in the prover­bial spot­light as oth­ers would watch us do a lively dou­ble-time. I might men­tion here that I came to th­ese dances wear­ing 4-inch heels, but con­fes­sion: You could usu­ally find them rest­ing un­der my chair while I en­joyed this fa­vorite pas­time.

Oh, my, how time does fly. My chil­dren are now grown and gone, and I am a grand­mother, though I might men­tion here, a fairly young one. There were still evenings when I was called upon to dress up, and those 3-inch heels worked nicely, es­pe­cially if all I had to do was look good and not be on my feet too much.

Play­ing bridge was emerg­ing as a new form of fun, whereby I could kick my shoes off un­der the bridge ta­ble, and no one would know. Ahh …

For such an old man, Fa­ther Time surely moves fast, and I am now a great-grand­mother. I re­cently tried on a pair of 2-inch heels (2!) and knew im­me­di­ately they were much too high.

And so my friends, this is a his­tory of shoes through­out my life. And it’s been a good life, all the way from flip-flop­ping heels as a lit­tle girl and a teen’s 6-inch spikes, to the slow de­scent to for­ever flat ones.

The 6-inch heels pushed my feet into th­ese in­stru­ments of tor­ture, but the boys ogled my legs, and so, of course, it was worth it.

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