The last time I had an appointment with a podiatrist, he diagnosed me with bunions, hammertoes, fallen arches, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. He jokingly added that I should have my feet photographed for podiatry textbooks because they featured just about every problem and ailment a future podiatrist ever could hope to encounter.
I blame it on the Cinderella syndrome.
In the story of Cinderella, she loses her dainty glass slipper at the ball when she dashes off to make it home by midnight. The prince, who falls madly in love with her after only one dance, never has the chance to find out anything about her, including her name, so he orders his men to take the glass slipper to every unwed female in the kingdom and have her try it on. The lady whose foot fits the slipper perfectly, he declares, will have the honor of becoming his bride.
Well, every woman in the kingdom dreamed of marrying the handsome prince, but to their dismay, they all had big feet…and the glass slipper was only about a size two. Still, out of desperation, they struggled, grunted and even considered chopping off a few of their toes in their efforts to wedge their feet into it.
I can empathize.
During my teens and early twenties, wearing fashionable footwear was important to me. In fact, I was one of the first to rush out and buy a pair of go-go boots when they first came out. But I didn’t want the popular white ones. No, I wanted the more unique tan suede ones.
Alas, the particular boots I set my sights on ran small, and the highest size they came in was a nine…which happened to be my size.
Trying them on was such a painful struggle, I soon worked up a sweat. And when I finally managed to wedge my feet into the boots, they were so tight, my toes actually were curled back.
But I wasn’t about to go home without those precious go-go boots. So I bought them and wore them every day…and possibly broke a world record for the greatest number of blisters ever counted on a single human foot.
But did the suffering prevent me from ever buying too-tight shoes again?
Another time, I must have shopped in 12 different shoe stores during my search to find a pair of purple high heels to match a purple skirt I’d bought. Finally, in a bargain-basement store, I found a pair in a closeout bin. They were exactly what I’d been searching for – the perfect shade of purple, just the right heel height and an unbelievable price of only $4.99. I was excited.
There was just one small problem, however...they were only a size eight.
I did everything short of greasing my feet with butter before I finally managed to squeeze into those shoes. And even though every step I took in them made me wince, I still bought them. I even convinced myself that maybe if I lost about 10 lbs., my feet would shrink and the shoes would fit more comfortably.
All that really mattered to me at that time – 1969 – was they were purple.
And my bruised feet soon matched that exact color whenever I wore the shoes for more than an hour.
I did discover that feet are smaller in the morning and tend to swell as the day progresses. So even though I managed to fit into the too-small shoes at 7:00 AM, I practically needed the Jaws of Life to get my feet out of them at 4:00 in the afternoon.
Over the years, I eventually did learn my lesson as the aforementioned bunions and hammertoes began to form. And now I’m forced to buy shoes that are one or two sizes larger than my usual size, just to accommodate all of those weird bumps and deformities. Comfort, I’ve now discovered, is much more important to me than style. In fact, I often buy men’s shoes because they are much roomier across my permanently bent toes.
Yep. There’s nothing sexier than a low-cut black dress accessorized with a nice pair of men’s wingtips or Oxfords.
It’s all your fault, Cinderella.
# # #
Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com