It started innocently enough. I started dance classes and had to learn to dance in 2 inch heel shoes. As a long time flat shoe wearer, I asked myself a question: How can I dance in these shoes, when I feel wobbly walking in them? I compromised on a life time of sensibility and ardent feminist conviction to service my dancing ability and went to the store to buy 2 inch heel shoes. “If I practice walking in slight heels on a daily basis, I will do better in my dance classes”. I bought the most conservative and meek looking heels I could find in the store and made an effort to wear them on an almost daily basis. “I am not doing this for fashion, oh no, I am doing this to become a better dancer”, I told myself when putting on my new shoes. “I am still one of those people who thinks that wearing uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion is silly, I just have special circumstances … that is all”, I would explain when asked about the sudden change. It was all logical, controlled and sensible.
However, the devil has a way of putting things in my path that makes me veer far away from my initial intentions. Things started to go downhill when a fellow dancer, offered me a pair of orange dance shoes. They were too big for her, yet the perfect size for me. My black dance shoes where becoming worn out and it was time to buy a new pair. Because these shoes were slightly worn they were offered at half price. It was the perfect size, perfect timing and perfect price and hence I bought without thinking of the consequence it would have on my heart. The minute I put on the pair of orange dance shoes, something changed. A flood gate of yearning was opened and I was possessed with that which I don’t understand but will attempt to describe with words so as to caution all other shoe wearers in the world. Listen to my advice dear reader and never ever try on orange shoes regardless of how tempting it is. They look innocent and harmless, but a quiet malice hides beneath the patent leather, waiting for the sole of your feel to come in touch with them. In a zipity zip and faster than a click it can seep into your soul, wreaking havoc with your heart, compelling you to act in ways which are novel even to your imagination.
At first I noticed how happy I felt whenever I wore my orange shoes to a dance class. A rush of bubbly sensation would flood through my veins culminating with a definite frothiness on my head. My feet felt lighter and it seemed that I danced better. Other dancers would comment on my shoes. They were innocent comments, such as “I like your shoes” and “That color is lovely”. I would say humble thank you. When it was time to take off my shoes I would sense a slow sadness as I entered the ordinary world of black and brown shoe wearers. My feet would walk heavily out of the dance studio and a simmering crave would start bubbling in my heart. Then one day the most sinister of thoughts crossed my mind: “If wearing the orange dance shoes makes me feel raptures of joy, why don’t I buy street shoes that have the same effect on me and experience the same benefits all day long, even when I am not dancing. At that point I completely gave up on my sensible shoe wearing self. Feminism slipped out of my brains the way a renegade chick pea slips the blades of a blender and remains whole in a mush of humus. I went combing though the shoe stores of Vancouver, to find my desire. Finding shoes possessed by the devil is hard in a city like Vancouver. In a city where saintly black and brown shoes ardently fill every shelve, wall to wall, in every shoe store, renegade shoes have to find novel ways to escape their missionary work. I was persistent and week after week she searched walking in malls big and small. I would try on this shoe and that shoe, but no bubbles in my veins and no frothiness in my head. “How is the fit?” the store sales person would ask me. I would sigh despondently “They fit fine”. “Do you need a bigger size or a smaller size? Perhaps a different color, we have these shoes in brown”, the eager sales person would prod hoping to be helpful. I would shake my head, “No that is ok”. How can I explain that I am looking for shoes that give me a rush and make butterflies float in formations of intricate designs in front of my eyes. After weeks of searching, I came upon a pair of high heel red shoes. They weren’t that pukey orangey red that is common, but rather proper blood red. I tried them on and didn’t feel bubbles or frothiness but rather a more subtle feeling. The crimson red shoes made me feel a slight burning in my feet and a warmth began to flow from my feet into the rest of my body. This wasn’t the feeling that I was looking for, but I knew that the red shoes were certainly possessed with something. Since these were the first shoes that made me feel anything at all and I had been looking for weeks, I decided to buy them in order to explore this new sensation.
At first, I wore my red shoes to go for walks in shopping malls. They weren’t as exciting as my orange dance shoes, but they were a good decaffeinated substitute. Like drinking tea when you are a hard core coffee drinker. The cup of tea is still better than nothing and so I began to wear my new shoes even to the office. My co-worker told me that in all novels that she has read women who wore red shoes ended badly, they ended dead or destitute. I told her that is because nobody bothers writing novels about women who wear black shoes. I told her that in the fantastic movie Chocolat, Juliete Binoche plays a character who wears red shoes and even though she faces many difficulties, she certainly doesn’t end up badly. I don’t think that my co-worker liked me very much after our discussion on comparative literature on red shoe wearing. The truth is that Chocolat is an exception in red shoe wearing literature, but I didn’t care. The warnings signs where painted red on white on the wall and I ignored them all. I was determined to be present in the moment, forsaking the future and the past for a thrilling experience. I was having far too much fun to notice the dark forces lurking right underneath my insole.
To be continued.
read Purple Shoes next