Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sole Satisfaction



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. "
Silence.
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.

79 comments:

  1. Ohh I have been experiencing for years this fetish the females of the human species have for footwear. Just the other day a female colleague vowed not to spend a single penny on shopping for a whole month. To which I made a "we shall see" remark. And the very next day, there she was sporting a new pair of stilettos on her profile picture along with the broadest smile possible. And hardly had I made the "I told you so" comment she countered with a "but these are only stilettos".... :-/

    By the way, you gave me a very interesting topic to work on for a research paper by mentioning a possible connection between estrogen and straps & soles. Highly probable, I tell you.

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    1. So happy to see you here Shobhit. :)
      Are you working on a research project?

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    2. Thank you so much Alka Ma'am ! :-) Actually, yes. I have been busy with my thesis work and hence haven't been too active in the blogging world. But as soon as I get some time, I never forget to read your wonderful posts. :-)

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    3. Best wishes Doc. That makes me so happy.

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  2. I totally get that. and 'women don't buy shoes, they buy feelings' , Bingo to that :). Shoe fetish, hard to let go, especially the stilettos. I am in love with them.

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    1. True, shoes are closer to heart than bags or accessories.

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  3. I don't wear heels and in fact don't know how to walk in those but otherwise, I can perfectly relate to all the emotions you have described :)

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    1. I don't wear high heels either. Not anymore.

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  4. Women need more shoes ... Period. As you say how can I wear Mojris with jeans or closed shoes with salwars ! I love shoe shopping - Its just that god has had given me the broadest feet any woman can ever have so I can just look at those smart dainty shoes and sigh !!

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    1. Sigh! Hey thanks for stopping by Ruch. Though I am wary of saying this. In my previous post, one gentleman wrote," reply only if you have intelligent arguments, don't give me thank you for stopping by etiquette." I was so amused.

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    2. And I love your response to him :-P

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    3. Ha ha...some people go on a different tangent.That too without comprehending the post.

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  5. I love shoes! I could wear heels at one point of time though not anymore :( These days, I stick to flats....I am totally obsessed with shoes and own so many pairs!
    I have really tiny feet - some of my shoes have been picked from the "kids' section" in stores - my mom wonders how many pairs I would have actually owned had my feet been of a more normal size :-)

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    1. Hi Divya, long time. Yeah, we love shoes. More than bags or other accessories.

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  6. Hahahaha I have been shoed for ages...I loveeeee shoes.And I love your write up.I can relate to your shopping experience with hubby. Now I just go with him, don't like negative energy in and around, when I am with my shoes ;). I love them so much that I wrote a poem about them sometime back. Do check it out when you get time. (Sfurti)

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    1. Thank you for reading and relating to the post Sfurti. Sometimes I get a feeling that people read the topic and leave a comment without reading the post. Hurts.
      And you post so frequently that I am unable keep pace with my reading. Will check it out. :)

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  7. Now, I'm a bit concerned. I think I do have somewhere close to the 'afore-mentioned' 15 pairs of footwear that women claim to own. See, I always knew I was in touch with my feminine side, but this is now confusing me ;)

    But having said that, I probably don't wear more than four or five pairs of them nowadays. And I usually don't spend a lot of time in shoe stores. So I suppose, I'm safe. But my shoe-craziness aside, I understand this fetish. As I mentioned on Facebook, it's similar to the feeling that we men have when it comes to gadgets or cars.

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    1. Your collection exceeds the worldwide average? Now I am curious to know more about your pretty wifey's collection.
      :)

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    2. Not yet. It is quite close though. (Too close to comfort might I add)
      As for my pretty wifey's collection, oh yes. Spot on with that one. The number of pairs she owns is definitely way north of that average. But then again, so are the number of gadgets I own. So everyone's happy :)

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  8. You amaze me with your similes. How you manage to link RaGa with heels with straps with chooran with IPL. My God! Like I always say, few can mix-n-match like you do - so humorously and without letting the main point of the article get lost in the crowd. Also shows how much you know! :)
    As for shoes, well, manna for the soul, totally!

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    1. I remember yours - it was about nose hair.
      :) Thanks Sakshi.

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    2. As dumb as one. :D Not a very nice thing to remember, but flattered nonetheless. :D

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  9. While I am amused at the way women shop and are obsessed with buying a perfect shoe, I don't care much for shoe shopping or for that matter handbags. Just give me a functional one in a neutral color and I will wear it till it breaks/tears. I know, other women are going to banish me immediately :). Your post was hilarious though. Good move, sending him to Samsung store. Works like magic with men :D.

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    1. The finger is on the pulse! Yeah, any electronic store works like magic.

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  10. Enjoyed your post. Goal congruence is the word isn't it? where neither husband not the wife is feeling left out in the shopping mall? :-D

    For me its the hand bags and I am kind of crazy about them even then i have just 4-5 of them. Only now I have started experimenting with shoes. On top of it I don't like to shop and waste money for unnecessary things. You cannot imagine the amount of guilt I feel when I buy expensive bags/shoes/dresses. My husband calls me a miser. :-D

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    1. Bang on Bhavana. I think I am more of a shoe woman than a bagwati.
      :)

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  11. Nice one Alka! Was reminded of the Nancy Sinatra song of yesteryear, 'These boots are made for walking and that's what the'll do! One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you'. Must hear it sometime:)

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    1. Frankly, haven't heard. But let me check YouTube .

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  12. I think I should ask the church to canonize me. I have given up heels and own flats only ... just a few of them, ioh wait I forgot the pista green one, and hmm the baby pink one? The blue and silver ... Oh well I transferred the shoe fetish to flats fetish. Canonization will have to wait a bit.

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    1. I love chappals too. Heels are a pain now. Pista green sounds lovely.

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  13. Hey Alka....how can I not read a post on shoes at 5.45 am in the morning? :P I am shoe person too..we were just talking abt it wknd after wknd at home and lo...this post...:-)
    Last wknd when we ventured out to the mall, hubby said, do u want to stop any wherr? I Saw a shoe store and looked at him..u shudsee the shock on his face...one more shoe? No way.....grrrrr and I am not the one who has 15 pairs :-(

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    1. Ha ha...I can so so relate to this. Loved your peach flowery footwear.

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  14. Btw, I am not a heel person...for me comfort comes first....my shoe needs to be like a mattress for me or at least like a mat :-)

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    1. Me neither. Now it is comfort over style.

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  15. Ek dhum sole stirring :))) Aim high like Imelda Marcos. Who knows you might some day get buried in a heap of shoes :)))) appreciate the patience of that poor soul who continues to be concerned about our 'soles' :)))

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    1. Ha ha..sole stirring. Chicken soup for the sole.

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  16. It's like men stocking their bar with exotic drinks from world over. Or teenagers collecting pirated downloads by TBs on their hard drives. We've all got our passions to service, don't we? :-D

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    1. Oh yes. Frankly, I am not that passionate about shoes but my friends are. This post was for them.

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  17. I have exactly 2 stilettos, one wedges, three flats...Goes and cries in the corner!!!

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    1. Six? Given your young age, that is a lot.
      You know, I don't feel confident in pencils anymore....goes and cries in the opposite corner!
      :)

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  18. Hahaha! I still do not understand - but that is OK. Someone did say, "Never try to understand a woman, just love her" :)

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    1. More power to you Suresh. You got the mantra.

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  19. "And unlike unread books or unworn silk, unworn shoes do not hurt our conscience." and "The one you bought today is similar to the one you already have?" These lines sounds so familiar, "apni apni si". Now you have given the world average, I guess a trip to shoe shop is round the corner. An insightful piece on shoe fetish.

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    1. I guess, this week-end is going to be all about shoes shopping!
      :)

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  20. Thinking to buy a pair of shoes for a long time, but somehow managing. Now I need to buy it soon :)

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    1. If there is any shoe shop association, they should thank me.
      :)

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  21. haha.... this happens when I stand near the shoe cabinet wondering what matches when my husband gets restless ...

    But I never listen to him after all only we women know what a shoe means :D

    S for Safe-Random Thoughts Naba

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    1. This reminds me of your lovely boots in a FB pic.
      :)

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  22. Couldn't stop laughing on the title. I am so like you, I carry them and wear just before entering the venue. I can't wear heels but buying shoes, I love. :)

    That was really funny!

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  23. Honestly,I have never been able to understand girls craze foe shoes.
    I have tried to understand for decades,but,failed.

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    1. Once a famous magician was asked, " is there anything you can't do?"
      And we know his answer - understanding women.
      Me thinks he shouldn't even try. Something's are impossible!
      :)

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  24. It's as different as IPLs..love it, Alka. As a man, I enjoyed reading this hatke post on your love and fetish for shoes. Ok, I admit that I love shopping and enjoy buying shoes and jeans..sports, formal..my fav remain Woodlands Shoes:)
    Cheerio
    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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    1. Woodlands is exorbitant. We women don't care much about the brand, even kohlapuris fascinate us.

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  25. Hi Alka, hugs to my soul/sole sister. I am a big shoe shopper. And I have all kinds of shoes: to wear with jeans, salwar khameez, dresses, flip flops, casual wear shoes, peep toes, wedges, shiny ones for weddings, low heeled ones for college and ofcourse my walking shoes. I can never resist shoe sales. And men will never understand this estrogen's karmic's connection with shoes.
    I loved this post of yours (as I loved all the earlier ones). I feel you must/should write your book now. High time lady.

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    1. I thought as much. I remember your pretty belles in one of your FB pics.
      Thanks for all the encouragement Rachna. Means a lot.

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  26. Oh damn, you have set off an impulse, now I have make an excuse to buy a new pair this weekend *racking brains*

    And I found someone who loves shoes as much as me, so we shall live happily ever after :P

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  27. It is not just a woman thing .. or is it ? .. well I am sure I got more than a dozen pair myself ... and no no no I am not into shoes .. i am veyr much into cricket and the ipl 7 :) he he he he he


    How are you Alka mam...

    Bikram

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    1. So good to see you back Bikram. The sun is shining again.
      I am good, thanks.
      :)

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    2. awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww really.. now that made my day :) .. i hope it keeps shining ..
      come and shine my way to Alka MAM :)

      Bikram

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  28. That was amusing! and for those who don't have husbands yet, we have brothers, fathers and sometimes even mothers complaining the space these footwears occupy and how we never throw away the ones we don't wear too often :-D.

    I like the connection between soul and sole

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    1. Yeah, it's the same with fathers and brothers. Only they don't accompany us for shopping. :) not as often as sole mates! D

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  29. Men should probably stick to 'tippaniyaan' on the performance of cricket players and let women be at peace with their soles.

    Amusing read!

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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  30. LOL!! I love your retort regarding the IPL!!!

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  31. A topic every woman and every man who has lived with his woman's shoe fetish will relate to. Shoes are the best things to have happened to womankind. The right pair of shoes uplift us, make us feel sassy and bring out the diva that's forever in hiding. No man will ever relate to the joy of finding a pair that's sexy and comfy and in that shade of green that we'd been looking for months.


    Loved this bubbly, frothy, deliciously witty eulogy to our true solemates.

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    1. Now this makes for a really happy Sunday morning.

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  32. Average is fifteen pairs you say?
    Oh my poor wifey, and I always thought she was going to overtake Imelda.

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  33. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  34. Hahahaha!!! You had me at “The one you are wearing is not comfortable?” :D

    Such fun to read your posts, Alka!

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    1. So good to see you here. Thank you dearie.

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  35. Wow this was a gem. I realized why I missed it, I was on vacation during that week. Well, my pairs are much less than what women normally have and my husband still peers into the cupboard and says "Err... tell me again why do you need another one??" :P

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    1. Ha ha. Glad that I shared it again and made you read it.
      Some readers are special.
      Thanks Seeta.

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  36. Hahaha...this is hilarious Alka! But I completely understand the feeling (not yours. but your husband's)! I am unmarried, but have been with my girl friend for long enough to understand that its impossible to understand the shoe fixation...ever! :)

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