Guest Post – Bern Morley’s Red Shoes

There are times when I read Bern Morley’s blog So Now What and laugh until my sides hurt even though at the same time I actually want to cry.

This time last year her mum was dying of cancer. The hospital seriously stuffed up their treatment of her mother. She complained passionately and eloquently to Anna Bligh, the Premier of Queensland and got somewhere with that. People listen to Bern. At the same time she was working 4 days a week,  blogging, studying and renovating a veritable reincarnation of the Money Pit. Bern has three children: one who has a disability, one who is (as Bern says) ‘a natural disaster on legs‘ and the other on the ‘precipice of premature womanhood‘.

In the midst of this she can wrote about depression in the same week that she described her worthy girl fight against Ronald McDonald red hair disasteers and husband shredding dry heel skin.

How does she do it? She has a laconic sense of humour and the ability to find something funny to say about the most melancholy of topics.   When she writes, she inspires others to look for the bizarre and the hilarious in the rickety train rides of our lives. Furthermore, when she writes she inspires me to write.

She loves red shoes.  The question here is whether for her red shoes are a talisman or a monkey’s paw…?

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So can a pair of shoes determine what kind of day you are going to have?  What about what kind of season you will be living through?

Bern Morley's Red WedgesI am not a hippy, so normally; I would say a definitive – NO.

Why was it then, after wearing my new, lovely red wedges that I adore, I ended up in the Emergency Department at our local hospital, not once, but twice?

Now, these aren’t expensive shoes, nor are they are brand labelled.  In fact, these imitation leather, I believe the word is synthetic upper, high wedges were purchased at Target.

They were $8.92 in one of those, had to be there at the right time, 40% off the lowest marked price clearance sales.

I had first seen these shoes about two months before and had immediately loved them.  But red shoes, I thought, were for zany people.  Ones that wore bright green spectacles and were the brightest beacon in the room at any social event.  I just straight up passed them over for a similar pair of black ones.  Same cut, same design, just black.

And I wear a lot of black.  Particularly for two reasons:  a)  It trims down the appearance of my particularly large arse and b) I spill stuff on myself.  A lot.  Black is always going to be my new black.

But then one day, for no particular reason,  I wandered into Target, and there sitting in the clearance bin, discarded along with 2 pairs of gold lame’ slip on sandals that would do Demis Roussos proud,  were my red wedges.  Size 9.  I tried them on with my black work pants.   Great news, they fit.  Extra great news, they were comfortable. Fucking excellent news:  They were less than ten bucks!  SOLD.

The very next day, I went to work wearing my new Red Shoes.  Along with black skirt, a black top and a little black cardigan.  And I loved myself sick.  Compliments flowed.  Well, I work with 3 other people, so they I guess, they leaked, rather than flowed, but they were forthcoming none the less.

Just after lunch an unknown number flashed up on my mobile.   I ignored it with some flippant remark like “If they want me bad enough, they will call me at work or stop blocking their number”.     Turns out they did want me badly.  Very badly.  My eight year old son had fallen off the monkey bars at school.  Standard schoolyard folly one would think.  Except this wasn’t standard.  Basically not much connected his elbow anymore to the rest of his arm.

So after sitting in the ER, having being told his break was “as bad as it could possibly get” and being told they couldn’t guarantee he would ever use his arm again”, I put my head down, focused on my stupid red shoes and cried into my knees.

Good news:  his operation was successful.  An overnight stay. Yet, my red high wedges had one more appearance to make during this hospital stay.  See, my dear husband, stressed to his eyeballs, went home, grabbed me a tracksuit to sleep in, but no other shoes.  So if you happened to see a dishevelled lunatic wandering around the kids ward on the Gold Coast, wearing a mismatched tracksuit with high red wedges, you would have been looking at me.

Not one week later, I got ready for work, but knew something wasn’t right.  I put on my work outfit, yep black and my red shoes, first time since the last time.    Sam was lethargic.  And hot.  And well, just scaring the living shit out of me with his pale listlessness.  I think every parent knows this particular feeling.

I still went out that morning appearing to go about my business as normal, yet inside I just knew it would be anything but.  Sam and I went directly to the ER.  See, his arm had a 5% chance of getting an infection.  Highly unlikely the doctor informed me.  Well, you know what doc, after the year I’ve just had, highly and unlikely are just two words that I have heard bandied about one too many times.

So after a full day of having Sam assessed in the ER, we were admitted.  Likely infection in the arm.  Bad if it gets in the bones apparently. Sam, eight, small, the light of my life, just lying there, whilst I looked down at those god damned red shoes again and commenced my best impression of a prayer.    The next week was not pretty.  Countless cannulas, enough antibiotics to kill a hippo and equal amount of tears to break the outback drought.

Within two months, my mother died.  My two sons ended up in hospital with various degrees of broken bones.  My own mortality was tested.  Those shoes went to the back of the closet.

So, have I worn them again?  Have I tempted fate?  You betcha.

They are shoes, not the precursor to seven shades of shit that seem to have previously accompanied them.   Of course I always knew this; it’s just hard when you associate shite times with an inanimate object.

They now are starting to look a little dog eared.  They have scuffs and the weather is getting cooler and I want to wear boots.  But they will remain in my cupboard until next summer.

Next summer which can’t be as bad as the last.  I refuse to believe that.

The Big Debate: Are handbags better than shoes?

Miss Victoria has two stunning accessories on hand

Now and again I like to think outside the shoe box. I am all in favour of being slowly seduced by leather accessories other than shoes but handbags have never done it for me. Even these handbags.

The reason is, of course, that I know very very little about handbags. I have about 4 leather Leo Monk handbags with varying amounts of crud and children’s toys at the bottom. I like them particularly because they are large enough to accomodate a pair of stilettos, my yoga gear, reading materials and my lunch. One of them will more or less go with each pair of shoes that I own.  For me the shoes are the star of the show.

So when @SeraphimSP proclaimed strenuously that handbags are better than shoes I was intrigued rather than militant. I asked her to convince me why.  Here is her presentation of the First Affirmative Constructive as debating folk would say.

Why handbags are better than shoes.

There is nothing like the throwing down of the proverbial gauntlet to make me rise to a challenge. There is a school of thought that dictates that women usually fall into one of two categories; they are either shoe or handbag women. In fairness, I will say there are those who elegantly straddle this divide in killer stilettos, with their magnificent designer clutch delicately held in their beautifully manicured hands.

I am not one of those women, though I have often wistfully wished I were.

Firstly, I have hideous looking feet. Disfigured by bunions and no arches they are not things of beauty. They are however, very useful for getting me from A to B, so please do not think me ungrateful. My feet and I have long since agreed to live in harmony with each other. I cover them up to protect them from public derision, and in return they get me where I need to go.

But like many women to whom strappy, elegant shoes are out of reach, my love lies elsewhere. I cannot say if it is because of my inability to wear beautiful footwear that was the catalyst for my love of handbags, or if it is a genetic condition passed to me by my mother who is also a lover of handbags. But there it is.

I am of the school of thought that believes handbags are better than shoes.

Firstly:

Everyone can wear them irrespective of your foot status, whether they are ones foot fetishists weep tears of unadulterated joy over, or shrink in horror at the sight of.

In addition they come in all shapes and sizes and seasons. And handbags are not worn according to the dictates of the seasons. No, a handbag can be worn proudly regardless of the inclement weather. Pouring with rain? Your strappy sandals are off the menu, but your handbag? The insanely impractical one that you are still in the throes of infatuation with? It can come out with you dangling proudly at your side, while the strappy sandals languish in their carefully labeled perspex box at home.

Handbags are aspirational objects in a way shoes aren’t. One of my not so guilty pleasures is visiting my favourite handbag website, and reading the lovingly worded descriptions of the bags I covet. I read the words “In black patent leather with rose gold turnlock signature hardware, for a feminine touch which combines function and form with glamour, giving optimal space and easy access to your valuables” and I am transported instantly to a world of glamour and beauty. If I were to read a description of a shoe on a website my immediate thoughts would be mournful at my inability to wear said shoe and an insatiable urge to click away from the site. But handbags? Well anyone can wear one.

In truth, this particular object of beauty is in my hallway right now exemplifying that if one is aspirational (and thank God Mimco does laybys) then anything is possible.

And that my friends is true, but only of handbags. Not shoes sadly.

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So, if someone offered you the gift of Christian Louboutin, right now, price no object what would you choose?

The shoes...

or the bag?

Christian Louboutin Red Satin Clutch

Guest Shoe Blog Post – What is the effect of Love? (A Cautionary Tale)

This is the effect of love: that the true lover can not be corrupted by avarice; love makes an ugly and rude person shine with all beauty, knows how to endow with nobility even one of humble birth, can even lend humility to the proud; he who loves is accustomed humbly to serve others. Oh, what a marvelous thing is love, which makes a man shine with so many virtues and which teaches everyone to abound in good customs. . . .

Love, as Andreas Capellanus noted in his handbook on love De Amore, has a transforming power – it makes the beloved lovely and the ardent lover virtuous.

Instead of a glass slipper, this beautiful girl wore soccer boots and discovered that in them a self-proclaimed knight in shining armour was really a toad.

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I love throwing things away. It’s so therapeutic. If there’s something I haven’t used for a year it gets chucked with the next seasonal cleanout.

But every year I come across these boots. And I pause.

I can’t throw these boots away. I can’t give them to St Vinny’s or pass them on to a friend. I can’t even “hide” them in the garage.

This is partly because they’re still in perfect condition. They’re comfortable and fit me well… and my wobbly bits would greatly benefit from some quality time spent in these boots.

But more so, I can’t get rid of these boots because they taught me a valuable lesson.

Five years ago I was married to a lovely man who wanted to be an actor slash writer. During the day while I was at work he would drink coffee and write scripts that starred himself. Then he did housework… before heading to the beach.

At night he attended plays, auditioned, read scripts, volunteered at theatres and galleries. I tried to see his plays regularly, but they bored me to death.

One day I noticed a sign for a twelve week challenge at my work gym. I thought it would give me something to focus on when my husband wasn’t around.

I found these boots at an Adidas outlet store, in exactly my size. I drafted an action plan and started going to the gym religiously.

Eventually I became “mates” with the guys at the gym. They asked me for suggestions with their diets and corrections for their techniques… and they invited me to play social soccer.

I’ve got no natural sporting ability, but my boots served me well. I tried hard and kicked quite a few goals using beginners luck and “show off” adrenaline. I also scored kudos through the easy bruising of my knees with the chronic purpling making me look tough.

One day, a guy I was marking said to me:

My wife isn’t home during the day, do you want to come to my place at lunch time tomorrow?

I literally ran away from him backwards across the field, stammering:

No! I’m not like that!”

I was horrified and disgusted. Disgusted that he thought I was interested in having sex with him, disgusted that he thought I’d cheat on my husband… and disgusted that HE would cheat on his wife in his own home. I just couldn’t believe that anyone could be so vile.

But I also felt flattered enough to mention it to other members of the soccer team – who vowed to “protect” me from the offending party.

The star Striker took his duty of protecting me quite seriously. He started sending emails planning our gym meeting times and offering to walk me home “safely”.

The emails got longer and became personal.

To begin with I felt I was doing nothing wrong. I reasoned that the Striker was just playing a role to assuage my loneliness. He took me to movies and footy games. He took me to all the nice restaurants and bars in town. It was like a close unconsummated friendship. I felt like a seventeen year old virgin, again.

Six months after I bought my shoes, we started having sex. I thought we were in love, and we were definitely in lust.

Not even a month after our “first time” my husband came home early and busted me at our home, in our bedroom, with the Striker. I lied and said that the Striker and I were just friends and he was just massaging my soccer bruises. Later I “confided” that the poor Striker was a virgin, debilitatingly shy around women (which rendered him impotent)… and he was most probably about to “come out” as a closet gay.

My husband asked me to change jobs, stop going to the gym, stop seeing the Striker. But I made all of the excuses in the world. I assured my husband that the Striker was no threat to our relationship.

Over the next year I told so many despicable lies that, to this day, I can hardly bear to hear myself speak. Today, even if I say in complete honesty I’m “working late” or going to a “girls only night” – it sounds like a lie to my own ears and I feel terribly guilty.

I have no idea if my husband believed my lies… but we stayed together for another year and a half, long after my “fling” had ended… leaving me broken hearted.

The Striker turned out to be a serial trophy collector, having multiple girlfriends at once – with all of them thinking they were the “only one”. His speciality was using the same love letter emails to woo the “hard to get” girls. He even ensnared my best friend and managed to keep it secret.

I stopped going to the gym and stopped wearing my soccer boots… and I found ways to stop myself from thinking or feeling.

But I still have the boots.

And every time I see them, I say out loud to myself:

Never make the same mistake twice.

It’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in life so far.

Its Raining Again (but I’m prepared) – Guest Shoe Blog Post by @NickyLavigne

Oscar Marzaroli "Golden Haired Lass" Gorbals, Glasgow 1964 coloured by STUARTHILL758

The Welly Boot Song

Wellies they are wonderful, oh wellies they are swell,

Cause they keep oot the water, an’ they keep in the smell,

An’ when yer sittin in a room, you can always tell,

When some bugger takes off his wellies.

One thing that I miss about the Northern Winters is escaping that droochit feeling – being wet through from rain being splashed up your legs and into your shoes from passing trucks and buses. Something about the Scottish weather brings out the survivalist in a person. There is only one way to stay dry in Scotland – invest in sturdy wellies & raincoats. Forget umbrellas – these invariably end up inside out, back to front and completely knackered.

Of course, the Scots being the Scots, you will commonly find them out in the rain and sub-zero temperatures in singlets and sandals.  There is, apparently, a good reason for this – to stop the gene for red hair becoming extinct.

The non scientific research found that in areas where the temperatures in summer were cooler and winter days were shorter – such as in Scotland – people with ginger hair were more likely to survive and evolve. Bad weather blamed for Scotland having ‘more people with ginger hair

Here in Australia,  people thankfully are a little bit more sensible about safeguarding their health.   Either that or the wellie boot is just appreciated for its innate ability to marry form and function – particularly when crafted in silver rubber and as worn by Nicky Lavigne

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I’m not really a fan of the rain.  I like listening to it when I’m indoors, but having to go out in the rain doesn’t excite me one bit.  Having my makeup run, my hair go frizzy and ruining a good pair of shoes or boots isn’t something I live for. However, after living in the US for eleven years, pouring rain and snowstorms are things you do have to live with.

I have to segue here for a minute to let everyone know how much I heart New York.  Empire State of Mind is played by me at least once a day, if not more.  I’ve been back to visit once since my return last April and I’m planning another before the end of this year.  I miss my friends a lot and I also miss the buzz of The City that Never Sleeps…my NY.

I was there in February.  The hottest month in Sydney and the coldest in the North East of the United States.  After living there for so many years, I’m not used to the stifling heat and was craving cold weather.  So off I went, with a half-packed suitcase.  I took the essentials, but knew I’d shop (of course).  There are a couple of pieces of wet-weather clothing, other than an umbrella, which is an accessory and actually not classified as clothing at all, that were in my suitcase because they are essential for New York.  These include a raincoat, with a hood, a pair of leggings that are a fabric that is quick drying (I wear Lululemon) because, let’s face it, no raincoat is long enough to keep one totally dry in a deluge and wearing wet pants to meet friends for coffee, isn’t fun, or sexy.  The reason you need leggings is so you can look stylish in chilly winter whilst wearing the other crucial item, which is a pair of Wellingtons/galoshes/rainboots.

Before I left, I had one pair of wellies….green Hunter boots.  I’d been eyeing silver ones for a while, so I had bought them online before I left and had them shipped to a friend’s apartment in NY.  They would be there on my arrival.  How I love technology…

They were perfect.  I was able to wear them in the snow and the slush (once the snow melted) and never ruined any of my other boots that I’d taken with me.  P

I love, love, love them.  Enough that when it does rain now, I decide what pair I’m wearing and get dressed accordingly.  In all the years I lived in NY, I tried other rainboots, but these were the most comfortable for me.  Plus, they’re made in one piece, so they don’t leak.  Hunter also makes a fleece inner lining for the colder weather (I own these also in a couple of colors).

It’s amazing how many comments I receive when I wear them.  More with the silver than the green.  They’re so simple, but oh, so stylish and I wear them with jeans, leggings, dresses or skirts and in all seasons.

Above was yesterday’s outfit and below is today’s.

If it keeps raining, I’ll wear the greenies tomorrow.

N x

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For those of you outside Sydney –  here is a photo of Nicky dressed to kill in orange boots.

Day 75 of the Shoe Challenge – On Barefaced Blogging & Instant Girl Kicks

Often I wonder whether I am the world’s worst female girl impersonator.

In the Eighties I worked for an extremely rough pub in Paisley, Hell’s Oxter*.  The manager had all his own teeth but very few of the customers did. The manager had delusions of grandeur. We had to scrub the ashtrays with bleach thrice nightly.  One night during the Staff Drink he asked me if I could try to wear more make up.   At the time, most of the time I looked like this:

except when I worked at the Oxter when I wore bright red lipstick & jet black kohl in the usual locations. Now and again I even wore high heels with my black pencil skirt and white catering issue shirt until my feet were nipping me**.

Those were the days when Proper Girls wore make up that looked like this:

or this:

Gratuitous Kylie Minogue Pic for the delectation of BearmanCartoons & my pal SF Wilson

I could never bring myself to wear pink makeup – then or now although one quiet day a co-worker gave me two Nurofen(R) brand tablets and forcibly plucked my eyebrows. They have never quite recovered.

On and off over the years, I have tried hard to do the Girl Thing, the cover girl make up, the styled hair.  In the places that I enjoy being the most – in the garden or at the beach doing the Girl Thing doesn’t cut it. In fact doing the Girl Thing is annoying.

So two things made me smile last week:

1. Google searching for the term “Instant Girl Shoes” and finding The Shoe Girl’s Blog; and

2.  Reading Jodie Ansted’s Blogging Without Make Up Day Post :

As Jodie puts it:

We all want to “look nice”, and there’s nothing wrong with glamming it up on occasion. I mean, I’d rather look at celebs in all their garb then not. Doesn’t mean I think they look less beautiful without the makeup – just that it’s appealing and a bit of fun for viewing.

But should I be SO concerned about trying to look good?

And yet – whether or not she is concerned she does look good without makeup as do many other female bloggers including (I hope) myself.

And yet – I still have this residual concern that I am just not quite good enough at being a girl. By searching for “Instant Girl Shoes” I was hoping to find that footpath towards feminity – the Holy Grail of Footwear.  It seems that it does not exist on the Internet at this time.
Furthermore if one was hoping to get advice on how to look like a girl from Google, you’ll be looking a long time:
I did manage to find an excellent pre-house departure checklist for girls who are boys who like boys to be girls (or vice versa) from VideoJug’s Fabulous Fairy Godmother:

The ultimate step to becoming a successful drag queen is to  Get Your Kicks (nothing makes your legs sexier than high heels).

Oh really, so why Fabulous Fairy Godmother did you pick such fugly shoes…

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* Any resemblance to pubs still in existence is unfortunate, unforeseen and unintentional.

** A Paisley expression to describe the feeling of standing on one’s feet for 6 or 7 hours at a time while performing some kind of menial service industry role e.g. waitressing,  working in a pub.

SPECIAL THANKS TO @levis517 who has promised to mirror blog about being a Crap Girl too.

Sex and Shoes – Guest Shoe Blog Post by Victoria Hughes aka @Firebirdasusual

For a long time many feminists have seen high heeled shoes as an instrument of torture to make women submissive and powerless.  I suspect that this largely due to famous Twentieth Century lotharios like David Bailey who expressed a preference for high heels because in them “girls can’t run away from me“.  His ex-wife Marie Helvin in her autobiography disclosed that Bailey:

insisted on stockings, and high heels: if he saw I was wearing flat shoes when he came to collect me in the evening, he’d sulk in the car until I put heels on.

But female enslavement and high heels is, I would argue, entirely context specific.  Some of us not only love to wear heels but love the effect that wearing these heels have on the men in our lives.

Someone (Anonymous) once said:

I love sex. It’s free and doesn’t require special shoes.

To Anonymous I would say:

Try the special shoes and then see what happens.

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The Sydney sky was filthy yellow and the blusters of wind blew grit into your eyes. It was the sort of day where dust whipped up to pepper bare ankles and the breeze teased flirty girls in tiny skirts.

We met quite by chance. It was Valentine’s Day.

You were hiding yourself away, not posing brazenly like the others.

When we were introduced, I was at first cautious. You were presented to me casually and mind was elsewhere, I must be honest. You were not the reason for my being there. I was never meant to see you.

You came to me. You were preppy and smart and I was to be the first to unwrap you, to release you from your confines.  I held you, studying you as I ran my fingers over your form.

You were soft.  You were beautiful. I bit my bottom lip. My pulse quickened.

I recall feeling confused, unsure as to whether or not I wanted to go further than this. Looking back, I was terrified of falling for you.

I had to steel myself. Ask myself what was the worst that could happen.

Setting you down, I slipped into you, effortlessly. You drew me into you, you felt perfect. I suddenly felt as stunning as you looked.

In that moment, I knew. It was you and I. And we were going to have some fabulous times.

I looked across the room, met my husband’s eye. He nodded. He smiled. He understood.

You have been so good to me. The murmurs of appreciation from those who see you when we’re together, the tentative touch of a curious hand, the flattering comments that have been made – all testament to your loveliness.

I keep you safe, I care for you – and in return you make me glow.

Day 74 of the Shoe Challenge – Kinky Knitting Sandals & Kylie Minogue

My husband saves up and sends me the best news headlines of the day via SMS. He is like my own personal Twitter-stream without the knowledge of emoticons.

10 year wait for allotments in Glasgow” he texted this afternoon.  I didn’t reply with my ‘oh really how odd‘ smiley face ( :P)  Rudely I don’t think that I actually replied at all. That was a mistake.

World’s biggest beaver dam found. He he” he texted not long after.

Love it, love you” I replied. Luckily that seemed to stop the news text stream from exacerbating therefrom to truly lewd proportions.

Until I got home that is. After opening the front door and stepping over and around a collection of continental quilts and  pillows and soft toys and children who seem to prefer to pretend to be in their beds than actually be in them my husband said:

I’ve found the material for tonight’s blog. How can someone get their footwear soooooooo wrong.  Has she lost the PLOT!!!!!

I was told to close my eyes. There was a rustling of paper. I was told to open my eyes.

This is what I saw:

Oor Kylie, as the Australians would say if they were Scottish, wearing what are allegedly thigh high cut out latex boots.

And so the Boot Queen topples herself from her pedestal. What a terrible pair of boots. What a huge disappointment. The only thing worse for me would be finding out that Dita Von Teese wears these to her Pilates classes:

Adidas(TM) Track Suit Pants

The thing is that Kylie is kind of a boot goddess of mine.

May I remind you  of some of Kylie’s past boot glories?  Here are some of the great pairs of boots that she has worn that I have lusted my little footwear obsessed heart out over:

Kylie in Gucci Boots:

Kyie Minogue - Gucci Boots

Kylie in bondage boots:

Kylie Minogue in Christian Laboutin Fringed Boots

Kylie in fringed Christian Laboutin suede boots:

Or these Christian Laboutin thigh boots:

And finally Kylie Minogue in Supra Fifre 120 thigh-high boots

The divine Ms M is a veritable boot connoisseur.  I cannot imagine her voluntarily choosing a pair of stripper’s latex cut-out platform boots for a video shoot in her wildest, chocolate n cheese induced nightmares.

I can see, however, that she is trying to rock the boat. Do things a little differently. See things from a slightly different angle.

So here it is Kylie – why not strap on these sandals and tie them up your gorgeous legs. I defy you to go walk more than four metres before the straps start to unravel.

These are the equivalent of Kinky Knitting Sandals – and they are yours if you can figure out how to tie the buggers so that they don’t start to unravel as soon as I start walking.  The shoe equivalent of having one’s knickers round one’s ankles and trying to dance like that is super-entertaining provided that you have had a Wee Goldie first.

Urban Soul Strappy Sandals

I

Day 73 of the Shoe Challenge – Battleship Grey Boots

There was an advert on the telly a couple of weeks ago for Rivers Womens Boots.  I am never quite sure what to make of Rivers’ footwear.  In terms of design, the Rivers team go for the functional, the unremarkable & the invisible.  Nothing wrong with all that other than it seems a bit battleship grey really.

Here is a battleship grey car.

Here is a battleship grey room:

Here is a battleship:

Battleship grey is one of those invisible colours. Grey is a colour that very seldom works in shoes which is why I don’t actually own any (although I could possibly make an exception for these which my good friend Ms Boots discovered in Sydney today:

(Incidentally, if you are in Sydney and any crazy women come up asking to photograph your shoes, they are probably working for me. Working in the unpaid sense of the word.)

In philosophy,  a grey area is a concept which one finds hard to categorise or place.

A bit like the boots shown above.

For a long time these wee ankle boots served me well.  There are two strokable suede panels which feel like that sweet spot behind cats’ ears. Serviceable and comfortable and unremarkable. Battleship grey boots.

The older that I become, the less I want to be serviceable and comfortable and unremarkable. No longer am I apologetic about my love for impractical footwear nor am I capable of bringing myself to wear comfortable ones.  This has become manifest in the fact that I no longer self-edit my shoe or boot choices.  These days I probably wouldn’t look twice at a pair of boots like these.  My eye is drawn first and immutably to the skyscraper heels. In fact the words ‘killer heels‘ now jump out at me from a page in the way that words ‘sex‘  once did when I was a teenager. Perhaps the two are now synonoymous in my mind.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Six years ago I dragged my sorry ass through my first Mother’s Day on a total of 5 hours sleep divided into 45 minute chunks. My breasts felt like steak tartare from  having the Noisy Boy attached to them for what felt like 15 hours a day. Yet my lack of sleep, sore boobs and inability to wear anything other than baggy jeans, trainers and comfy sandals didn’t bother me. Something happens to you for a short period when you become a mother.  You fall head over heels in love with your children and forget yourself.

Robin Aronson in her article “Mom Shoes: Kicking the Clog”  observes that for a long time as a mother, no one noticed her shoes:

After all, the people who mattered most couldn’t care less about what I was wearing on my feet. Every day for almost a year, my children stared intently at my face. Child-care books told me that my face was the most interesting object in their world. Not my shoes.

And yet when she finds her perfect pair of post-partum shoes – a pair of Keen brand dove grey Mary Jane clogs a shoe that she describes as having

just a little bit of something-something going on to remind me, when I glance down, that I’ve still got my own shoes to walk in. And not just to follow my kids.

In most outdoor environments, battleship  grey is almost invisible.

There are many invisible mothers out there. The one thing that my amazing mother taught me was to walk my own path in my own way. She says:

You must have your own interests, your own life, your own self. Otherwise you will wake up one day, your kids will be gone and you will be left with nothing.

So yay for walking in different shoes.

PS Lovely children and husband – for next year’s Mothers’ Day can I get a pair of these?

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Nicholas Kirkwood Winged Heels http://www.nicholaskirkwood.com/?id=27

I don’t think you can get much better than Nicholas Kirkwood’s sandals.  Particularly if those wings work…

Day 72 of the Shoe Challenge – Déjà Black Boots

Tony Bianco Leather Knee Length Boots

Isn’t it terrible when work gets in the way of writing about shoes?  The last fortnight has been fraught with the kind of diffiulties that I thought that I had left behind in 1993. Sleepless nights. The inability to eat.  Frequent explosive trips to the bathroom.

That’ll be the court case.

The main reason that I gave up court work was the responsibility of losing.  Some people can afford to lose court cases. Their names are Richard Branson and Bill Gates. The rest of the world cannot.  So when a friend came to me with an unpleasant dispute the first thing that I thought was – run, RUN FOR THE HILLS (me not him).

But I remained and I have watched the drama unfold slowly and painfully over the last six months. It is nearly at an end. Meantime, there has been little time for writing or at least writing that does not involve strict legal conventions.  Legal documents must not contain emotive language, or opinions or statements overheard while on the train.  Legal reality is short sharp and brutally edited. There is no room in the fluorenscent light of legal reality for shoe blogging.

Contemporaneously (which is a word loved by legal draftspeople) I have begun to wonder whether some of you might think  that I have taken leave of my senses.

On a Tuesday a while back, the day that I wore these boots, my good pal Tom Voirol stopped off at the office. He and his wife Sonia had queued patiently to see the Masterpieces from Paris Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in early April this year.  (My husand and I had been hoping to visit @ACTinglikeamama and the exhibition with the weans simultaneously but it was not to be).  Tom not only picked up the exhibition catalogue for me but delivered it wearing his bikers’ helmet and leathers. For a fleeting moment it was a good interlude in my working day.

Then, like many people, Tom  greeted me and my footwear simultaneously. A warm smile of recognition was extended towards my boots “Ah” he said “I think that we have met before“. Feeling like a bristly spinster aunt at a wedding I replied “Oh no, you must be talking about my Day 69 boots, my Day 23 boots or my really boring boots“.  At that point I think Tom started to complement my boss on the quality of light in our boardroom.  Deflection in this case was a Very Good Move.

The thing was that I started to doubt myself – do I have too many pairs of black boots? Are they are all the same? Am I losing the plot entirely? Are you all beginning to suffer from déjà shoe vu?

In some ways this court case has come at a point for me to reflect, to recollect, to review and perhaps (though it pains me to do so) to cull my boot collection.

But then, on the day before I appeared in court with my guts churning and my mind full of crystallised candy floss,  I received a message of solidarity and support. There is another completely mental shoe girl out there. Her name is Damana.

Today” she wrote ” I‘m doing my best to not just buy black boots. I have too many.”

I am not alone…