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I was with my son the other day while he was looking for a pair of shoes and decided to kill time browsing through the section designated for ladies' footwear. I went up and down every aisle and when I was done I was faced with the inevitable conclusion that women's shoes are stupid.
To be honest, I always knew that many women's shoes are stupid, but that didn't stop me from wearing them, which probably made me even more stupid than the shoes. When I was younger being stylish, sexy, and attractive often trumped being comfortable or doing what was best for my physical self. I had limits that a lot of other women I knew didn't, but that envelope has definitely shrunk significantly over the years. Comfort doesn't trump everything, of course, if it did I would wander around in my pajamas every day and only my slippers and hiking boots would count as appropriate footwear with everything, but the set of what I am willing to wear has narrowed considerably.
I have gone something of the same route with clothing as well. A lot of women's clothing is just as stupid as the shoes. Not only am I no longer willing to toddle around on heels that stress my tendons and endanger my knees, I am also unwilling to wear clothes that seriously constrict my movements or make me feel like someone stuffed me in a sausage casing. I have friends who find this attitude incomprehensible because I am not overweight and they feel that suggests that I should be dressing in what they consider highly flattering clothing. Even my daughter, who, bless her brains, gave up stupid shoes at an age much younger than I did, finds it unfortunate that I generally only wear sports bras or ones that are designed specifically for comfort. She says that they lack definition. I told her that they have a perfectly sound definition and that if you looked them up in the fashion dictionary, opposite them it would say, “comfortable”. That's all the definition I require since I hate the things.
It could be argued that my quest for comfort is simply a manifestation of my getting old. Maybe, but I think it goes far beyond just having a few wrinkles and some gravitationally induced sagging. I stopped wearing stupid shoes a long time ago and it had more to do with a change in my attitude about myself than anything else. I just got tired of nonsense that women buy into about being beautiful or sexy or attracting hordes of admiring men and envious women that they are sold in our culture as if it were something of real value. Women are defined by superficialities in our culture that are harmful to them and we allow ourselves to get on board at a very young age with nary a whisper of protest. Getting off that train and leaving your luggage in the baggage car is liberating.
The trick, as in many things, is to simply stop caring what they might say about you if you showed up on a red carpet somewhere and choosing to define yourself by other criteria. What makes you attractive, your up to the minute clothes, your hairstyle, your artificial tan? What makes you sexy, your tight dress, your ridiculous shoes? I never held men to that rigid a criteria. Attractiveness had more to do with personality and intellect than anything else and sex appeal was something almost too subtle to be definable. I simply decided that I would rather define myself in that way than the way I was before, like some kind of dress-up doll.
Don't get me wrong, I still dress appropriately to an occasion and I still use my creative and artistic skills to chose styles and colors, I just don't make myself uncomfortable when I do it. I used to wear high heels a lot because I am ridiculously short and thought appearing taller made me look better. That problem is no longer a consideration in my existence – I am what I am, and that is roughly the size of a garden gnome. Teetering around on shoes that are designed to ruin my legs, feet, and back won't make me taller, just a short woman with a bad back and aching feet.
I'm glad my daughter has come to some of these conclusions at a much younger age than I did. It's nice to think that I raised her with values that are meaningful and don't hinge on superficial nonsense. The truth of the matter is that if women would stop thinking so much about their butts and more about their brains they would become far more intelligent, interesting, and attractive people – and a whole lot more comfortable.
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