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June 21, 2013

The secret lives of shoe wearers and other confessions…

Susan lifts the lid on one of her obsessions…


I’d like to talk to you about shoes. Since my pixie feet were mentioned in a previous blog entry, the pressure has been building to share my thoughts on feetly apparel. And if feetly isn’t a word, well frankly it should be.

Now you might be thinking right now that this is going to be some sort of boring homage to shoes. But it really isn’t about their transformative properties and how shoes can make you into a different sort of person. Much.

Let’s talk about the shoes shown here. A pair of actual shoes owned by me. I saw them and I craved them, I pined for them. Eventually I succumbed, took out a large mortgage and bought them. The shoes are beautiful. I put them on and for the first time I saw the dust on top of my cooker hood, previously beyond my visual range. I had a whole new, if slightly wobbly, perspective.  I was no longer 5 ‘3, I was 5 ‘8. And a bit.

The first time I wore them out I told all my friends I would fall over. And of course then there was the pressure not to let them down. Skinned knees are not a good look on the over 40’s. I now use the shoes mainly for interior decoration, posed as if at any moment I might just pop them on and swan off somewhere exciting.

I still love the shoes, because they are extraordinary. They are not practical. Just in case you hadn’t noticed that. I am slightly afraid of wearing them, must consider all possible road surfaces in advance of a possible outing AND provide clear instructions to taxi drivers that if they see me they must park very close to the wall that I am clinging to for dear life, as I am sure to need a lift somewhere (possibly not very far away). BUT the shoes are exciting, they are the subject of random conversations, they are fun! And we all need a little more of those things in our lives.

The other reason that shoes are so close to my heart, is that I think it is very important to stand in someone else’s shoes. Not literally but literarily (and that is an actual word, ha!).  I am well known for my mantra in copywriting training sessions that we must inhabit the shoes of our audience because otherwise what we say will be of no interest. So you see shoes interest me on a professional level too.

And why should we use that phrase ‘standing in their shoes’ when what we are talking about is occupying someone’s mind space, thinking like they think and talking as they talk? Nothing surely could be further from our brain than our toes? Perhaps, and this is my big idea for the day, our footwear has always been a true reflection of the person that we really are. But here’s an even bigger thought: maybe it’s possible to live up to our shoes, maybe that’s why shoes are (arguably) the ultimate manifestation of aspiration. Maybe I need to go somewhere very quiet, muster up all my reserves and consider how I can possibly live up to my shoes….


Footnote: For any of you out there worrying about the use, or lack thereof, of the shoes, I should also mention they get a regular outing whenever I need to clean the cooker hood.