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Location: Northern California

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Run a mile in my shoes

Lately I’ve been feeling frumpy. I know, I’m a mom with a two-year-old and an eight-month-old; some would say that I’m supposed to feel frumpy, that this is my frumpy time of life. I might be lulled into believing that except that recently I’ve been to two events that were deliciously mom-centric and decidedly non-frumpy: BlogHer ’05, which hosted a bevy of beautiful mommy bloggers; and the MOMS benefit, an event that blew away any beliefs I may have held that environmental activists don’t shave, don’t wear make-up, and smell strongly of patchouli. At both of these events I couldn’t take my eyes off the sexy mamas I was hanging out with. These women are my peers! I also couldn’t help but notice that no amount of tight fitting clothes, mascara, and gym-going can hide my true story; my shoes give me away.

I’ve always said that you can tell almost everything about a person by his shoes. Try it sometime. The next time you’re with a friend, check out their footwear and see if it jives with what you know about the person. Does your thirty-something male friend still wear Converse All Stars? Is it also possible that he’s a commitment phobic who not-so-secretly harbors dreams of becoming a rock star (Indie rock, of course) while he toils away at the same job he’s held for close to a decade, a job that he claims he hates? Do you have a girlfriend who swears by Italian leather and seems to always be wearing a beautiful pair of shoes, no matter what the season or the weather? For her, the cost of the shoes is no object. If you asked her, she would claim shoes are as necessary to life as food or water, possibly even more necessary than food. Don’t be fooled, shoes are the springboard to the soul. And I’m worried that my soul is a tired frumpy one.

I suppose it would make sense that if I wanted to change my image from frumpy to something else -- let’s say sexy -- I would start with my feet and work my way up. This is great in theory but reality is the shoe fits the wearer. I can’t wear sexy footwear; shoes that are dainty or cute or sized below a nine-and-a-half hurt my feet. My splayed toes, crappy arches, and budding bunions force me into the frumpy footwear category. But besides comfort, the other reason I wear frumpy shoes is that I walk a lot. Sometimes I run a lot, too. And I don’t mean at the gym, I mean at playgrounds, at malls, and sometimes at grocery stores, restaurants, rec centers, other people’s homes and parking lots, any place where it’s necessary for me to chase down a kid whose own running skills are improving daily and who always wears sensible shoes. If I was wearing sexy shoes, my toddler would have the home court advantage and that would never do.

Maybe I’m wrong to think that my shoes label me as frumpy. Maybe my shoes label me as a smart no-nonsense mom with a stunningly sensible suburban fashion sense. And now that I think about it, that’s exactly what I want my shoes to say about me. So go ahead. Judge me by my shoes and hit me with your best shot. Call me frumpy, but then be prepared to run.