A woman, they say, can carry a bag, but it is the shoe that carries a woman. When it comes to footwear, women are perhaps the most obsessed creatures on planet earth. Yes, we are shoe-holics suffering from acute Imelda Marcos syndrome. While men buy shoes when they need them, women buy shoes for pleasure. And this shoe fetish comes naturally to every woman and her mother. Sometimes I wonder if estrogen has some karmic connection with straps and soles. Whoever thinks I am talking rubbish, never wallowed in the misery of not finding a comfortable matching pair for that red dress.
It is not mindless, this fetish of ours. We need Mojaris for salwars, chappals for churidars, wedges for trousers, stilettos for dresses, boots for winter, flip-flops for daily use, pumps for travel, shiny thingies for weddings and ballerinas for…well, for change. All because the sole of the matter is about soul satisfaction. The entire exercise of trying several pairs, leaving the shop floor like a war zone and fretting about the size add to the feeling of satisfaction. Women don't buy shoes, they buy feelings.
Sometimes it is not about buying or owning. Even the act of window shopping can be exhilarating. How do I explain this? Let’s say, that the anticipation of the joy of buying footwear can be more joyful than the actual buying. Like the thrill of looking at a sports car. Of course you want to own it, but the mere thought of owning can be joyous. You know what I mean? It’s like a sensation as nebulous as air. You can’t see it, but you can feel it.
Needless to say, a new sexy pair makes us feel tall, poised, and confident. So even if we are a five feet nothing - in heels, we stand tall. Like Alia Bhatt, reveling in the joy of being a woman. And unlike unread books or unworn silk, unworn shoes do not hurt our conscience. Thank you. We are like this only.
As I watch those eight inch golden pencils, a feeling of sadness blankets me. A decade ago, I could handle those minarets with great elan. Today, I carry high heels in the car and wear them only when I enter a party. It can be difficult for men to grasp this, as they can pretty much wear the same shoe at eighteen, at forty and at sixty.
After deciding to hell with repenting the lost years, I move ahead to look for short heels. But each time I wander in a shoe shop, the look on my husband’s face is like Rahul Baba’s look when asked about the country's monetary policy. Or the look on my maid's face, when she is cleaning the balcony and watching pigeons indulge in weird sex. Flabbergasted. Gobsmacked. Clueless. Totally. Why?
The husband is not able to fathom what the hell his wife is thinking when she saunters in a shoe shop. Anyway, shopping for him is as much fun as watching the grass grow. Sometimes when his cup of woes runneth over, he gently asks, “The one you are wearing is not comfortable?”
That is when he gets the ‘Look’. Those who are married know what I mean. The Look essentially means – you won’t get the logic dear. Comfort has nothing to do with it.
And then, I lie dramatically, “Yeah, it hurts. Here."
On one of those rare occasions when he is really pissed, he quips, “Why don't you to wear your walking shoes while shopping.” At which point, I take a deep breath and begin - ten, nine, eight, seven.... “Darling, why don’t you check out the Samsung store. I'll join you in a bit?”
It works. Nine on ten.
Today, when when I was looking at my paltry shoe collection, the husband was watching cricket. During an ad break he casually asked, "The one you bought today is similar to the one you already have?"
Ten, nine, eight, seven.....Deep breathe.
"It is as different as IPL7 and IPL 6. "
At this point, you might want to hurl sole searching quotes like, I wept because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.
I know. But I am no monk. Okay? And I own much less than the worldwide average of fifteen pairs women own. So there.