Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Art to Inspiration: A Declaration of Shoe Love
October's Art to Inspiration, Ashley Lettich's Shoes in Soho, reminds me of the one, the pair, that got away. I'm with my girlfriend shoe shopping. We've asked the sales associate to retrieve our selection in our sizes. As we wait, I anticipate that perfect moment, the fit, the excitement. How will they look on my feet? Will they be comfortable? Will I care? What occasion do I need to create to justify this purchase? How much were they anyways? I'm so distracted as we sit and wait that I can't hear my friend talking but she's so excited that she can't stop talking.
The sales associate finally comes back. What seemed like years was only two minutes. She balances a stack of boxes, slowly puts them on the ground, then opens the first one. The smell of fresh leather, glue, and paper rush towards me. She talks about the quality of the shoe, the special sole, the leather from Italy, as she delicately unwraps first the left, then the right, for me to try on. The paper slips off to reveal the naked shoe underneath. She hands them to me and I put my size 9.5 inside, sometimes clumsily, sometimes gracefully. I'm overwhelmed with excitement and anxiety, do they look right? are they my size? Then I stand and walk towards a mirror. As I walk, flash memories flood my mind. I've made this walk hundreds of times and I visualize the experiences layered on top of one another. The walk could be painful, difficult. I could step out of the pump. I might like the color and texture, but the strap gives the cankle effect. Or it fits like Cinderella's glass slipper.
This time, they are perfect. The three and a half inch heel is just high enough to show off my calves but not too high that I start wobbling. My heel is cupped in the back and the ball of my foot lightly touches the bed of the shoe. My toes aren't jammed up in the front or holding on for dear life. But I'm not sure. No. I'm sure. I've got to convince myself to let go of uncertainty and just bring them home. This moment is the most important. It's like a game of hard to get. A flirtation. I take a lap around the shop, brushing my fingers along every pump in my wake. I walk slowly, feeling my feet, looking for any signs of future blisters. There's no rubbing. Of course. They would feel more comfortable than bedroom slippers.
But is it lust or love? Could they stand the test of time? For a price like that, would I wear them for years to come? Would it be worth having them re-soled when they start to wear down? Should I just get a cheaper pair and then replace them with another cheaper pair? Is it better to have many short lived lovers than the one great love of a lifetime? And how would I know if it was the love of my life in only a moment? I doubt all my feelings and fear commitment.
I'm urged to try on the next pair and reluctantly take them off. The leather already began to mold to my feet and I reach out and silently gasp as the sales associate places them in the box. I smile and chat with my friend. I look at her shoes and give feedback, trying to convince her in or out of the purchase based on non-verbal signs she's giving me.
The second pair have nothing on the first. Now I'm hungry and I convince myself to walk away as I don't like making impulsive purchases, especially ones with this price tag. I think, what was I doing in there with those shoes out of my league?! As we leave the store, we discuss where we will go for lunch and how cute the shoes were and how we didn't try on those sandals but maybe next time. The rest of the day I relive that moment. Standing in front of the mirror, confident, radiant, and elegant. I try to go back but they are gone. Someone else's dream realized. I'm heart broken and sooth my troubled mind by purchasing other pairs of heels. The cheap fixes. The so called non-regretful under $100 cheap lovers that always hurt, always come up short. The plastic makes my feet sweat and no matter the occasion, I stand there, uncomfortable, dreaming about the ones that got away.
Started by the lovely Supal of Chevrons and Eclairs, Art to Inspiration is a once a month blog post inspired by a work of art.If you would like to participate in Art to Inspiration, click here to read more and sign up.
And in case you missed it here's July's, August's, and September's Art to Inspiration.