Spanish Dancer Shoes

I might have a shoe problem.

Really.

It’s a problem especially now that I live alone and there is no one to stop me from my madness. 

As I write this, the one side of my king-sized bed is covered in new boxes.  The government called it an economic stimulus.  I called it New Shoes! 

I went overboard.

I have written many times about why I have a shoe addiction – those ugly black and white saddle shoes  — corrective shoes prescribed by a podiatrist.   I hated them.  A visceral strong pulse of hate.  Loathed them.  Stretch that word out –lLooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathhhhhhhhhhhhhhed.

But I’ve never talked about my favorite shoes.

Imagine.

I’ve had many shoes that I’ve loved — worn to tatters.  Which ones are my favorite?  All of them..  It depends on the day, the outfit, my mood.  The depth of my nostalgia or temporality.

My first favorite shoes though were of course the Mary Janes that I wore that Easter Sunday in lieu of my daily hated corrective shoes.  But the second were my Spanish Dancer shoes.  I was 8 maybe 9.  The corrective shoes were a thing of the past.  These were black stylish lace-up oxfords with an oval toe and a heel. 

An actual heel.  My little girl heart fair swooned.  An inch.  maybe an inch and a half.  Enough that my large feet appeared daintier.  My arch an actual rainbow arc.  With my white ankle socks to define the  rim of them, they reminded me of the shoes that a flamenco dancer might wear as she stomped her way through passion and love.  That heel hitting the ground with a fevered tempo. 

I would dance my way down the hallway of our house – my bedroom the last door on the left.  My heels striking the floor – muffled on the carpet — but roaring in my mind.  I twirled.  I flamed. 

Those heels….

My Spanish Dancer shoes. 

I did not love a pair of footwear like I did those until the boots we bought on the mainland after moving back from Hawaii.  Boots.  I’d never had boots.  Nancy Sinatra’s song was only a few years old.  They had a dainty chain around the ankle.  And another heel.  Black leather or leatherette more likely. 

We moved in January and were freezing.  We bought them for me on the road in Albuquerque, I think.  Maybe Kansas City.  It was a bad winter.  A cold winter.  My mother shopped to keep us warm.  The winter clothes we’d bought in Hawaii proving ineffectual.

I loved those boots.  I became a pop singer every time I put them on.

After that, when I began exerting my will in the shoe procurement process, I made sure that I loved my shoes.  That they fired my imagination….

In the 80s I wore White Mountain clogs.  So comfortable.  Clogs change your stride.  You literally walk different in them.  Similar in process to swearing stilettos — when one wears stilettos or clogs, one learns that pivoting is great fun. You can become a runway model – 3-point pivot and turn, sashay and exit.

I love shoes.  I always have a favorite pair.

Except for now.  The last several years have not been kind to my feet.  Surgeries, breaks, orthopedic and surgical boots and now a worldwide pandemic that has kept me housebound but provided me with stimulus money to buy new shoes.  The very last thing I needed.  Honestly.  I need a roof, I need a plumber, I need a new fence.  I do not need shoes unless you call that spark of joy a favorite pair of shoes can provoke a necessity – the mood a pair of shoes creates.  Dancing down the hallway.  Striding through the first snow you’ve ever seen.  Only a few inches, but snow!  Pivoting….and who can forget the first pair of stilettos….

Ah….

Stilettos.  The queen bee of shoes.

I was in college.  They had an impossibly high heel and I was already 6 feet tall.  Not true stilettos — they had a strap, but oh were they something.  I wore those shoes out.  Then there were the lace up granny ankle boots with the hooks and eyes.  Good grief!  I forgot the lace-up purple suede granny boots of junior high.  Now those were a spectacle.  Many of my shoes are.

Shoes make me happy.  I suppose in the greater scheme of things that makes me shallow, but I’ll take happiness where I can get it.  It’s an ugly world at times and if shoes bring a smile to my face, well, then, that makes it not a problem.  So, no, I don’t have a shoe problem.  I have a closet problem.

I love shoes.

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