Thursday, December 3, 2009

If the Shoe Fits

Some people just don't like to shop. Maybe it's the pushy crowds, the clueless clerks, or the idiots in the parking lots. Me, I've never noticed those things. I'm all sweetness and light when I shop, naturally. But there is one thing eclipses my sunshine: shoe shopping.

I have no problem admitting my age -- 39. Alright, 39 and a half. I can admit that my "greylights" are courtesy of Mother Nature and not L'Oreal. But for most of my 4... I mean 38 and a half years, I've been reluctant to tell anyone just how big (size-enhanced) my feet are.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have feet. I like my feet. They work just fine. They allow me to stand upright and provide balance in a strong wind. They add valuable inches of height when I stand tippie-toes. But when I go shoe shopping, they just get in the way.

There's nothing wrong with my feet. It's those arbitrary numbers they assign to shoe sizes that bother me.

It is nearly impossible to find shoes in my size. After years of contemplation, I have come up with three possible reasons: 1. Manufacturers only make five pair of shoes in this size for distribution throughout the entire country. 2. Someone (with a really big closet) is hoarding all the shoes in my size. 3. Drag Queens beat me to them. It doesn't really make me feel better to think that I could be wearing the same shoe as Patrick Swayze did in "To Wong Fu."

Several young girls the Little Princess' age already wear size nine. And they're not done growing yet! I am torn. There's a part of me that feels sorry for them, knowing they are facing a future of meager shoe pickin's. But mostly I'm just worried that they will mean added competition for a limited number of generous-sized shoes. I have seniority! I deserve the cute shoes!

Online shoe shopping is just not the same. All too often I've drooled over a cute pair of shoes on display at a store, only to puke when I look down and see them on my feet. I want them off my feet and out of my life NOW! Not after I've repackaged and hauled them to the post office. I'm all about the instant gratification.

One of my (many) ideas for building my hometown's business and tourism base is to open a shoe store. Not just any shoe store, but a SHOE store, catering to size-enhanced feet. Not just any shoe store, but a shoe STORE! Offering a unique shopping experience for a marginalized demographic who, far too often, wind up impaled on the pointy end of a stiletto heel when it comes to cute shoe choices.

The front room of my store would be modest, but cozy. A wide array of shoes styles would be attractively displayed -- no boxes up front! The shoe store equivalent of a maitre d' would welcome customers, politely answer questions and show them around. He would also be responsible for ascertaining the actual shoe size of the customer.

This is vital, because only shoppers with size 10 -- maybe nine -- or larger feet would be allowed to advance through the velvet curtain, past the security system/Brannock Device, to the back room. The inner sanctum, as it were. All you elfin-footed girls would have to sit out front on semi-comfortable chairs to wait for your full-footed friends.

The back room would be a shoe shoppin' Shangri La! Foot-fortunate females would be treated to champaign fountains, trays of gourmet chocolates and plush couches -- complimentary foot rubs optional. The sales associates would all be hotty-hot-hotties dressed in crisp, white shirts and dark, pin-stripped suits with skinny ties (Why yes, I have been watching "White Collar" on USA). All customers would be addressed as Miss, not Ma'm, and breath mints would be used at all times.

And the shoes! Oh yes, the shoes would be awesome! Not a pixie-sized pair to be found! Top designers would create styles especially for the grander sizes. We'd put an end to those shoes that look cute in itsy-bitsy sizes, but in the upper size range look more like clown shoes. We would turn the current trend of shoe size discrimination on its head by not even manufacturing these adorable shoes in sizes smaller than a 10-- maybe a nine.

Yes, I am a little bitter about not being able to find shoes in my size. And no, I'm not a big enough person to "just let it go." That's why I'm considering adding a closed-circuit tv that would allow the miniature-footed to see what they were missing out on while they sit on semi-comfortable chairs, drinking tap water and munching on generic, candy-coated chocolate drops.

Because in this case, size does matter.

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