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Books for Everyone!

Late-November 2017

Black November


“Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”


There is no way to describe “shoe love” to a man. The emotional transport truly does defy definition. Please do not attempt to explain this possessed state to any male in your life. You’ll be wasting breath that will be better used for ooh-ing and aah-ing over memories — yes, memories — of shoes gone by.

A hauntingly lovely Scottish folk song lilted through my love-lorn mind last night while I was browzing various websites for shoes. I felt like a female looking for a lost love — somewhere in the mists of time . . .


Black is the color of my true love’s hair, the first line of the song goes. I hear the tune in shades of burgundy and forest green suede this time of year. If life is but a dream at times, then so is a comfortable, beautiful pair of shoes. I’ve returned at least 4 pairs in October alone to their online vendors.


Dear Husband is the real victim here, I realize that truth. He quietly carts the taped-up boxes to the UPS store. I offer my reviews of indignation to the online hucksters. One true confession told the tale of me feeling like Cinderella’s ugly step-sister, trying to fit my size 6-1/2 foot into a size 7-1/2 shoe. This theme is a frequent one from women informing e-tailers about the infuriation of the phalanges of their foot.

It may be a conspiracy against women, this rough, rude treatment of their feet. I think, however, there is no attempt at foot binding or other repressive customs of the past where the “gentler” sex is concerned.


There exist online innumerable shoe reviews with rich and ripely righteous disgust. They create a Black November lament, filled with songs of muted sobs of love, and the all-too-womanly whiffs of co-dependency about the soles of love; the warning to the Uninitiated about the pain of shoe love; the letting go of a love that could never be; the loss of a love that might have been; the sad sad hopeless love.


If only, if only . . . .


Ah!


Can ye not weep for the lusted-after love, the lost love, the waiting for the love to come around again, the love that never fit right, the love that is so irrational that you blame your foot for not fitting into the not-so-tender-not-so-leather trap, the love that causes trepidation, and, aarghh, the love that hurts!

If you can stand the pain, these shoes are the ones for you!


Cute, cute, cute! But . . . if you are not a fan of toe cleavage this is not the shoe for you.


These shoes are sooooo cute. The heel is not too high . . . Love the suede. Really love these shoes but I have to send them back. Weren't available in my size, ordered a size smaller which usually works . . . but I just felt like I was squished in and it ruined the whole look. Maybe this shoe will come around again. I'll keep an eye out, meanwhile had to return.


Very pretty shoe, but they cut me at the toes! Had to return them.


These are so cute, I just could not keep them on my feet so I had to return them.


Love the stability of the sole and the arch support. I also love the leather, it looks and feels like it will keep its shape and last forever. Still, my little toes felt squished, and I only have a medium-size foot. There was little or no hope to make more room for them unless I took the shoes to a cobbler. I really wanted to keep them - but back they go.


(I find it hilarious that the moniker for these clogs that almost kill is the Hasbeen Swedish Husband!)


These clogs are hellish. Cute as a button, but if you have just slightly wide feet, you will think you are dying. I tried them out with thin socks around the house two or three times. Unbearable. . . I am pretty sure the footbed is also awful - maybe okay for younger feet than mine (which are not terribly old, but old enough to be a little particular) . . . They are adorable though.


These clogs run VERY VERY SMALL. . . . I struggled with them for a few months and then a friend borrowed them and marveled at how perfectly they fit her. I let her keep them. . . . Be warned. These are tiny shoes!

Yes, indeedy, women can be accused of being gluttons for punishment! I think it’s more a matter of hope that springs so eternal for the Faithful Shoe Lovers. Surely, the shoes will reward us, in time, for our persistence in trying to conform the flesh of the little piggies to those steel-trap doors clapped on our feet. Surely . . .


Like Penelope, we wait, and wait, and wait. One day will bring the arrival of Odysseus, that butter soft leather pump with an almond toe and a 3-1/2-inch heel that does not cause us to wobble like an egg or waddle like a duck or wail like a baby. Surely, surely, that ship will come in . . .


Maybe in the spring!?


I have therefore promised (Dear Husband) that I will not attempt to buy any more footwear until spring of next year: 2018. It’s my 2017 New Year’s Resolution during Black November. On Halloween I did buy a pair of slip-on loafer-type shoes, on discount, that are taking forever to get here. They are probably, hah, on a slow boat from China!


I did, however, find a pair of boots online while researching the materials for this essay. The category, shoes, does not include “boots” so I think that I can ethically pull the trigger and roll the dice on this pair of above-the-ankle boots with a stacked block heel. The “underfoot support” is said to be “incredible”!


You see, I try to control the Shoe Love. I am not Imelda Marcos with the 1000s of pairs in her closet. Recently, I performed an inventory of the eighteen boxes of shoes (flats, heels, sneakers, booties) that were purchased pre- to early-to-mid-Great Recession. Some companies are no longer in business. Some companies are laughably still in business. Some companies have sold out to the Chinese dragon. And some companies will never be what they once were.


It’s enough to cause a grown woman to cry.

Being a romantic soul and a canny optimist, I know that the footwear market will re-bound in the USA. The experiences of forcing my feet into the “fused leather” of the rejected shoes of the past year will be a distant memory. Perhaps those souvenirs will not be as distant for Dear Daughter who not only forced her feet into a pair of fused leather heels, but forced herself to wear those shoes for an entire day on the job, along with taking the bus to and from the workplace. A doctor’s visit was not necessary, but I can see where business is booming for the orthopedic physician and surgeon!

The love of shoes might be part of the DNA of a female. For me, it goes back to my grammar school days. There were not many footwear choices, even in public school, but I do recall having to forego one of the funner options (that look perfectly hideous today): those white go-go boots that slid only onto non-muscular (stick-straight) calves. I was able to fit my athletic calves into a zip-up pair of brown-leather Western-style riding boots with big buckles on the front. And I felt very much “myself”, wearing those “unusual” boots with an ivory lace a-line dress. I guess you could say I roped-in my fashion look at the age of twelve.


By fourteen, my female peers were wearing “stockings” — pantyhose had not yet begun its suffocating hold on the future of liberated women. One of the most loving statements that Dear Daughter ever delivered to me (when she was a young teen) was: “Mom, ditch the hose.”

And so I did. I even tossed out my thigh-highs. Dear Husband retrieved them from the garbage to use for supporting the limbs of young trees: The hose protected the bark. Perhaps the same benevolence applied to my young legs!


It was not easy, however, for me to ditch the hose. An entire psychology surrounded the passage of adult-me back to my girlhood. It was a blissful journey, and yet I must avow that the messages that I’d been taught way back then about the wearing of stockings — those messages had been foolish and, ahem, inaccurate. Maybe instead of burning bras, the Boomer Women ought to have burned those synthetic pantyhose! Keeping those fish-net things from sagging to the ground was a life-time achievement during class-time. And they itched!


My coming of age overlapped the days of “hose” and “garter belts,” which were on their way out by the time that I was teenager. My mother, with proper Victorian sensibility, banned the thought of stockings for me to wear for my 8th grade graduation ceremony. I didn’t mind. In fact, I felt grateful and relieved to not be joining the group of giggly girls bragging they’d not only “shaved their legs” but they were “wearing stockings!” and “lipstick!”

On that night of nights when I was the Valedictorian, white cotton ankle socks with ruffles and ivory patent leather Mary Janes were my fashionable footwear. And I must say that this fashion choice really did set off the black-and-blues on my right knee that I’d accrued from a skate-boarding accident just a few days before the Class Day ceremony (my white gown covered up the scrapes & bruises on Graduation Night).


Being such an amiable friend, I’d agreed to trade my wonderfully smooth-riding, store-bought skateboard with that of a pall-y, a gal who had made her own skateboard: a short, painted plank of wood with roller skates attached. Her name was Esther and I skateboarded better!

About 2/3 of the way down the newly-paved asphalt hill, one, or two, or maybe even three, of the wheels came off. I fell gracefully. It was, I was told, an elegant three-point flight-landing on the asphalt.


From that time on, I have not traded much of anything with any female whose toys, boys, shoes, clothes, or associates are inferior to mine. Actually, I don’t trade much at all, not in, not up, not down. Trading in a car has its rewards, but I’m more of self-starter.

The self-starters in this nation are in vital need to start and re-start the retail world of shoes, for women, and probably for men too. I’m not going to name any names, because I do not want to pick on any brand in particular, and because any one brand has become as wretched as any other. But the following summary is my “trip report” of last night as I moseyed through the “shoe stores” online (because brick-and-mortar department stores are in the mortuary, not because of online sales but because of their arrogance and stupidity).


First went to XXXX. Which has become ZZZ Brick and Mortar online. The Ooh-La-La Brand Shoes are now in the Luxury Section. And still not worth buying. You can’t trust any shoes under $200, but any shoes over that amount are a risky buy. The price and quality of leather have little correlation nowadays. Unless you are in grand Louboutin Land, and my Egyptian feet won’t get me there!

I wanted to find a pair of clogs - opened back-ones. Hopeless. When clogs run NARROW, you run away. Feet don’t fail me now!


Then I went to ShoeLove. Nothing found but I did rediscover a manufacturer of luxury-brand purses which has hit hard times. I went to their web site. And their new fall line of purses is only in “luxury department stores” — like TrulyFancyDonna !!! Right. That brick-and-mortar is soon to be owned by Walmart or Amazon.


The purses are still gorgeous, $300 +. Probably lousy leather.

I looked online at their perfumes because evidently in the early to mid-1990s this company ruled the avant-garde perfume market (news to me!). There was an EDT for Men from 1992 that has been discontinued, but it gets wonderful reviews. Sporty spicy floral before the fruit juices in the bottle were devised for pre-teens.


I bought a bottle for $40 which is about 1/2 of listed retail price.


It appears that there are tons of products online being clearanced from warehouses. Making room for better items? As usual, I am a scent-hound. But the shoe world is in a world of pain. Not hurt, pain!!!

It was enough to cause this woman to close the laptop and tune into NHL Center Ice. The Sharks lost, 3-1 to the Bruins. But the Maple Leafs won 6-0 against the Canadiens. Maple Leaf Marleau, and his hot stick, had an assist. I am sure his shoes fit that winner!