Friday, July 31, 2009

Soles on board

Women own more shoes than men.

Phew! I know it's impossible to have a conversation about shoes without including some short acknowledgment to the difference between the sexes, so I've gotten it out of the way at the beginning.

Helping the friend move this week (the same one who passed on the Twilight book), I ended up carrying a box containing shoes from the trailer. My friend, self-conscious about being thought "girly" for having an entire box of shoes, called from over my shoulder. "You should have seen my roommate! She had three or four HUGE boxes."

Uncharacteristically (some might say), I made no comment. Our genders have different ways of thinking about shoes. I give only the most superficial nod to matching shoe with outfit. I wear my gray pinstripe suit with my black shoes and consider that fine. Better those than my brown shoes.

Thinking back, I decided to do a shoe inventory! How many pairs of footwear do I have? I'm counting everything that goes on feet, from flipflops to snow boots.

1) Sandals. These are my only open-toed foot clothes. They're angular, leather, and manage to give me blisters every spring. They might have been a purchase from an outlet store in Colorado, which would make them ten years old or so?

2) Boots. My all purpose fall/winter shoe. Good ankle support in icy-twisting weather. Thick treads for crunching along in the snow. As they still look nice, I occasionally use them in place of brown dress shoes when weather is inclement.

3) Slippers. A cheap purchase of some slippers from Target or Famous-Barr, received as a Christmas gift a few years ago. They don't quite fit, which makes them less than comfortable in the long term. That's what happens when the biggest "normal" size is 12.

4) Snow boots. A "why not?" throw-in when I first left home. Rubberized velcro boots for proper snow moving. They REALLY don't fit. Only used when I must trudge through ice and snow above the ankle to fetch the mail.

5) Black shoe. Not expensive enough to be a true "dress" shoe, I use them that way anyway. Also worn with tuxedo in icy weather for better traction.

6) Vinyl tuxedo shoe. Purchased on clearance from a mall tux shop, because they happened to be near my size. Material is flaking where the shoe creases, so new shoes may be in order. Absolutely bald tread, guaranteeing a fall on anything remotely slick.

7) Brown work shoes. Once looked pretty, but after a year of working with food, they're ingrained dirty. Plus side: these shoes can be worn through standing 12-hour shifts without causing foot discomfort.

8) Brown fancy shoes. Brown leather dress shoe. Owing to being fancy and plain, they appear to be the largest shoes I own, with great swaths of leather. Slightly embarrassing, but can't expect different from size 14's.

9) Athletic shoes. Regular walking around shoe. Only used for anything remotely concerning "sport" when watching friends play "Tiger Woods 2009" on Nintento Wii.

And that's it. More than I thought, but I included things I don't normally wear. I debated whether to leave them out, but I've often heard female friends say "I never wear those," meaning they hardly ever wear them. So I, too, included "shoes" that rarely meet feet.

They'd probably fill a small moving box on their own, owing to the pronounced mass involved in making size 13-14. If I had to consider various heights, styles, and more colors, I'm sure I'd end up with lots of shoes, too.

It's just as well I don't have to consider those things. I'd be a terrible slouch were I six-foot-seven in heels.

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