Thursday, 30 September 2010
Life’s little ironies; don’t you just love ‘em? When I was young, I was alleged to have thrown the mother of all tantrums when taken to get new shoes. Look at me now, ma! Pan to: disturbingly large footwear collection.
According to family lore, I would be teased ruthlessly by my sisters; made to eat their peas while my mother’s back was turned and I wouldn’t as much as flinch - not a whine, not a whimper, not a twitch. Come retrieve thy paltry poker face Lady GaGa. I’ll have none of it!
Somehow this stoicism didn’t quite translate when hitting up Long Island’s Start Rite in the seventies. I would throw myself prostrate on the floor like Maria Callas in a rendition of Tosca as my mortified mother attempted to retrieve my flailing body. Tears, nashed teeth and pulled hair later, I would succumb to the ignominy of having my feet tampered with by a stranger with a “Hi, can I help you?” badge.
Proceedings reached a perilous crescendo when I hurled a winter boot at my unwitting aunt who deigned to call such instruments of torture ‘pretty’. Melodramatic, moi? Indeed. Some things don’t change. But alas those which do leave us to wonder why life can be oh so cruel.
Since maturing (and acquiring a borderline unhealthy obsession with heels), I’ve had to cope with watching my foot grow to an ungainly size eight, thus putting a halt to my ill-shod gallop. Take my recent brush with a pair of almond-toed, vintage-wedged Dries Van Noten courts – hyphenates to make one hyperventilate. Money in my pocket (for once) and a smile on my face, I presented my shoe like Prince Charming to a comely sales assistant. “We don’t have your size,” she grimaced. “O.K.” I replied. “Could I order them in please?” I enquired hopefully. “Sorry, we never got them in that size to begin with...and won’t.”
Gutted. In a split second I assessed my options. I could throw myself onto the soft pile carpet and sing a refrain of ‘Vedi, Ecco, Vedi’, fling said shoe at my unsuspecting victim, or exit stage left. I took the escalator. Bottom lip aquiver I thought to myself “This kind of thing wouldn’t have happened in Start Rite!” Then again, methinks the Belgians sort of knew their market. Fate thou art a fickle mistress.