There are many notable differences between man and woman, most are taught in an uncomfortable setting involving a gym teacher or trip to the zoo, but some lessons are learned through experience.
This is a tale of my foray into the world of women’s shoes.
Several months ago my big sister asked me if I would be interested in writing an article for an up and coming women’s blog called SophsterToaster.com, you may have heard of it. I started doing some research: hitting the clubs, trying on my mother’s heels… research. During one of my research expeditions to a dance club downtown I staked out a spot near the bar to observe the women of my age group at their best.
It was a Saturday night and all the 20-something year old women were dressed up and made up to a tee, these women were at their best tonight. They had spent their afternoon preparing for the night, their hair and make-up were perfect, and they wore their best dresses, mostly short, strapless, animal print was big this year, but I digress. I was more interested in what was under their dresses: their shoes.
As I examined their shoes I came to two realizations. One: their shoes looked fantastic, like the rest of their appearance, it had taken much consideration and been chosen from a wide repertoire, my second realization: I have never noticed women’s shoes before, this led to some feelings of guilt on my part, for all the consideration included, I was completely ignorant. It seemed the other men around me were also blissfully unaware of their struggle. From the buff guys on the dance floor grinding with the subjects of my observation, to the scrawny and the corpulent who stood on the side lines, staring wishfully at them, none paid any attention to the shoes.
I was reminded of one, Andy Dufresne, of The Shawshank Redemption. In the film, narrator Ellis “Red” Redding, states, “Andy did what he was told, he buffed those shoes to a high mirror shine. The guards simply didn’t notice, neither did I, I mean seriously, how often do you really look at a man’s shoes”. I commandeered the attention of a nearby woman in a leopard print dress and matching heels and complimented her ensemble – most notably her shoes. She was enthused and my work was done.
As a man, I recognize three categories of shoe: shoe, boot and sandal. From my masculine mind I can conjure only slight variations of footwear, and my decisions on when to wear them was influenced by little more than weather conditions. However, in the world of women, shoes are very different; a simple inquiry to my girlfriend yielded the following list of types of shoes, stilettos, platforms, pumps, sandals, running shoes, sneakers, boots, high heeled boots, high heels, knee highs, rain boots, flats, slippers, ballet slippers, high tops, low tops, skate shoes, crocs, flip flops, loafers, dress shoes, cowboy boots, etc. I was surprised by the length of the list, but more frightened by her complete lack of hesitation in composing the list.
Women love shoes, to a frightening degree. Women are literally crazy about shoes but we men drastically under appreciate shoes, as a member of the audience, I wonder the purpose of taking so much care to wear the right shoes. However, as I’ve found, the correct shoes can tie an entire outfit together, whereas the wrong shoes stick out like a sore thumb and throw off the balance of an ensemble. While the right shoes may be barely noticeable the wrong shoes are very noticeable.
The role that women’s shoes play is a less obvious one, but an important one none the less. Men may not appreciate shoes as much as women but it can be considered a plus, the right shoes are the ones that blend in, they subtly enhance your appearance and make an ensemble complete. They may not take the main stage, but at least they don’t steal the show.