High-Heeled Shoes

My history with high-heeled shoe wearing is unique to me, I believe.

Posted May 14, 2019

Doomed to sensible oxfords as a child, I always imagined that when I grew up I would wear the graceful, fashionable shoes I saw in women’s magazines. I knew, like the taste of coffee, which I found loathsome, enjoying drinking it and being able to walk in high heels was something that would occur naturally when I was a grown-up.

In my late 70s, I still dislike even the smell of coffee and avoid it even as a flavor in ice cream. My mother drank it, and my brother is something of a coffee connoisseur, so I know the dislike of it is not in my genes. I somehow just never acquired a taste for it. Too bad. “Going out for coffee” is a ubiquitous social occasion I have always felt I missed out on.

High-heeled shoes are something else. For my 14th birthday, I spent the money I received from my grandparents on a stunning pair of white, strappy sandals with 5-inch heels. I was at a boarding school at the time, so I shopped for them on Thanksgiving vacation and eagerly looked forward to wearing them to the first holiday school dance.

My dorm was approximately a short city block away from the gym where the dance would be held. Despite hanging on to my boyfriend’s arm the first third of the way, by the second third of the way to the gym, my ankles were buckling, so I took the shoes off and walked the rest of the way in my stocking feet. I put them on again once we got there and was unable to accomplish even one slow dance without my ankles wobbling and feet severely aching.

Later in my life, I was able to wear much lower heels, wine-glass heels they were called, or kitten heels. The highest of the heels I ever bought again did not exceed 2 ½ inches, and those were not for walking far on Manhattan streets, at least for me. 

My first serious employer after college required not only heels and hose, but actually white gloves and a hat whenever we made business calls! In the heat of August, to avoid the hosiery and heels nonsense, I put a Band-aid on one of my toes, pronounced it broken, and was able to get away with wearing to the office the flat sandals I preferred then and for the rest of my life.

That was it for me and high heels, except for one more occasion. I was in my 40s, and my boyfriend at that time was not yet 30 and admired the fashions of the day, which, of course, included stiletto heels. I told him I wouldn’t, couldn’t, consider wearing them, not even for him, but I really wanted to please him, so I developed a plan.

I borrowed a pair of sexy designer stilettos that come so easily to other women from my best friend. They were a size and a half too big for me, but that didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to wear them long or far. I have to set the scene here: My king-sized waterbed was placed in the middle of a bay window high up overlooking the city. Curtains or window coverings of any kind were totally unnecessary for privacy, since that bedroom level was at least 6 or 7 stories above street level with no one across the street at the same height. I put on some filmy negligee type thing and the shoes and called him upstairs.

He came upon me posing like a pin-up, took in the shoes, and grinned lasciviously. As he pushed me down onto the bed, my legs went up in the air, and one of the too-large high heels flew off my foot and out through the open window down to the street below.

Love, passion, absolutely. I enjoyed them as much or more than the next person. However, all I could think of was that these were my friend’s favorite shoes, very expensive, and she would be mightily pissed if it were run over by a truck or even stolen by someone with a fancy for single, high-heeled shoes.

Did I halt the proceedings and run down into the street in my filmy garment to rescue the shoe like a good friend would? Did I ask my sweetie to interrupt his focus and go downstairs and fetch it like a bad girlfriend would? Did we wait until a better moment sometime hence to deal with it like a bad friend would?

I'll discreetly draw the theoretical curtain here, since the best part of the story is told.