But where's part 1, you ask. That was yesterday, under a different name.
The therapist wants me to be more "datable," and since you can't be datable in Keens (the shoes on the left, above), I decided to find some winter dress shoes that were date-rated. I met a friend for coffee this morning after breakfast downtown, and thought that I might give it a shot at a couple of the discount shoe places around Union Square. Shoe Pavilion was first--I thought that since they were going out of business they might have prices I can't pass up--but they were down to two styles and that was it. So I walked around the cable car turn around and headed for DSW on Powell.
Shoe-shopping is NO treat for me. I have a good foundation (aka large feet), and boot shopping is worse because I have a continued good foundation (aka muscular calves). I don't know who designs most boots, but they seemed to be constructed for women with no calves at all. I know, I could have looked for ankle-cut boots, but if that's the alternative I figure I might as well just buy shoes, and if I buy shoes I end up buying something comfortable and borderline lesbian like Danskos. (FANTASTICALLY comfortable, but sexy women and Oprah don't push them. And, they are designed here in SF.) On top of all of this hindrance I have criteria for all my shoes--no synthetic leather uppers because when my feet sweat they stink in the worst way, no stilettos (I have a pretty poor sense of balance to start with, so why entertain a broken ankle?), and no pointed toes.
Take all of THAT and try to make it happen, I tell you.
So I walked the aisles of Nine West and Kenneth Cole and Liz Claiborne at DSW and became more and more discouraged. When I did find a couple pairs that were size AHEM and tried them on, I discovered you can't "suck in" a calf muscle like you can suck in a stomach to try on jeans. It was heart-breaking. Feeling as though I would never get the chance to stop traffic, I put the pairs up and tried the last-ditch effort...the clearance in the basement.
I have purchased most of my shoes clearance at DSW, and I don't know why I don't start there. I guess it's the aversion that I remotely connect to garage sales (I had WAY too many garage sale clothes growing up), and the belief that if I pay full price for shoes somehow I will be even more beautiful. (Yep, definitely warped.) When I went down there this time there were all kinds of boots, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM SYNTHETIC MATERIALS.
The boots you see in the picture, though, are leather with rubber soles. (By the way, you can't have wooden or leather soles in this City and stay upright for long; the grade of the street is too steep and there is too much rain this time of year.) They are one size up from AHEM, but that's okay because then I can wear warm socks, even my mismatched ones! (Only my pediatrist knows for sure.) They were $37 cheaper than the ones upstairs, and the calf-cut is slouchy, deliciously slouchy. The clerk was amazed at the price and wanted a pair for herself. "What size are these?" she gushed.
But we gushed over them together, the svelt salesgirl and the former farmgirl whose last pair of boots were all rubber and knee-high and covered with cow shit. I asked her for a bag for my current shoes and changed into these to break them in. Yes, I'm in pain. I don't wear heels except to funerals and job interviews and this new "girlishness" will take some getting used to. But I felt more like a woman...nay, more like a tricked up racehorse who knows she's gonna win today because the saddle is NOT "manmade synthetic material."
When I was in community college for university prep, a friend of mine named Heidi and I were out in the parking lot of the college once killing a few minutes before biology class, and we were picking out our favorite cars if we had all the cash in the world. I looked around, contemplating, and she said, "Wait, don't tell me," and pointed to a pick-up truck. Back then I used to pride myself on being outdoorsy and plainspoken and I was flattered by her guess.
But here, at this age, the rugged look no longer works--it DOES make men forget that I am a woman. The Timbuk2 bags, God bless 'em, the Keens, the zip-off cargo pants--all of these are great choices for Angel Island but none of them reveal the girl who wants daffodils and Queen Anne's Lace and pearls and poetry on a daily basis. I suppose by definition this would be me trying to blend in, but I look at the QAL side of it, the Nancy Schlosser side of it, as revealing more of one side of me than the other for a change, the part of me that is a smart (all leather upper, thank you), sexy (wedge heel, rowrrr), beautiful (supple folds at the calf) WOMAN. It feels wonderful.
And yes, men do notice. ;) And yes, I am still plainspoken.