My footwear has always been a point of focus for my coworkers. As a waitress, I insisted on wearing heavy-soled Doc Marten three-holes rather than succumb to the generic-issue black waitress sneakers. While this occasionally made me slower on the run than my tux-clad compatriots, I firmly believed that what I lacked in speed I made up for with charm – a charm that was bolstered by my steel-toed shoes. Later on, working in a coffeeshop, the jokes about my Birkenstock-and-sock combo package numbered as the stars. When I was spirited away from food service into the wild world of long-form documentary film, I found myself working out of my boss’ house, and, as a consequence, spending more than my fair share of time dashing down the three flights of stairs from his attic (the editing suite) to his basement (where we printed out the transcripts) and back up again. I splurged on a beautiful pair of black-and-tan Campers and some hip flat-footed boots from Aldo.
Sometime in the spring of 2005, I realized that if I were planning a transition into corporate America I would have to look the part, and started investing in heels. At first it was painful – taking the stairs in three-inch stilletos is no picnic, after all – but in the end my experiment with a little more height proved thoroughly rewarding. Meeting with bigwig funders? The brown-and-teal slingbacks with the faux-amber gem always get the thumbs-up. Grey, rainy day at the edit suite? Hot-pink Steve Madden one-inchers put a smile on everyone’s face. Contract negotiation with a truculent partner? Hello, world, check out the black leather needlenose two-point-five inch knee-high boots. Just try and fuck me around. Yes, I love my heels, and since I’ve spent a lot of time in the company of those who wear rubber soles, my heels, by virtue of the click-clack against linoleum, have also come to define me to others.
Then yesterday, my boss drops the bomb.
For this job, I need to be fast on my feet. For this job, I need to run, and not the halfassed lomping about I did at the restaurant. For this job, apparently, I need to buy some flats. My boss has no confidence that I can zip between buildings in the snow while wearing anything other than tennis shoes (a view that I would dismiss entirely, were it not for that one winter with the three-inch boots, the margaritas, and subsequent broken wrists), and bluntly suggested that I purchase some “sensible footwear”.
People, I put on my flats this morning and looked like a pudgy midget chipmunk. I know there are smart, stylish girls who read this blog. Please, please help me find new shoes.