Some women say po-TAY-to, some women say po-TAH-to, some women say to-MAY-to, some women say to-MAH-to, but all women say, “the black slingback Ferragamo heels in size eight, please.”
It happens to all women, but it happens to us at different times. I think it happened to my mother when she was in elementary school. She was only allowed to get one pair of shoes for the entire school year and she decided on a pair of red ones. In light of the fact that red is a rather limiting color, my grandmother tried to talk Mom out of her purchase, but she would have none of it. Not surprisingly, Mom pretty much loathed her red shoes by the end of the year.
Now, my mother’s closet is a testament to the feminine love of footwear. I couldn’t begin to estimate the number of pairs that comprise her legion, but I do know that they span and nearly overtake two closets. The shoes range from well-worn and loved pairs, to pairs in pristine condition to pairs unused and nestled in the box of the store from whence they came.
Mom’s physical and psychological inability to pass a shoe store is a long running joke in our family. Even Baby Belle 1 gets in on the act with her consistent and gleeful declarations of, “Bon Bon, you just have too many shoes!”
In light of my shoe worshipping genes, it is particularly shocking that my love of shoes didn’t evolve until later in life. Let me be specific, the wonder that is footwear didn’t fully reveal itself to me until 2002 as I stood amidst the Fred Segal shoe sale on Melrose Drive in Los Angeles, California. Oh, the shoes! There wasn’t one practical pair among the bunch and that was a point in time where less practical was most appealing. I would have worn spike heels to a garden party back in that day and age.
Of course, I’m still a flip-flop girl at heart, but I promise you that I have so many pairs that there aren’t enough days in the summer to wear them all...which is why I wear them year round. I can’t pass a flip-flop display in a store.
Although the shoe gene was somewhat diluted in me, it passed on to my Baby Belles in full strength. When Baby Belle 1 was 2 years old, my mother took her to the mall to ride the carousel. When they were leaving, they walked by the Nine West Store and the little monkey pulled on her Bon Bon’s hand to go inside.
Baby Belle 1 had a fine time sitting on the floor and trying on shoes and Lord knew that her Bon Bon was more than happy to indulge a budding adoration of footwear, but it eventually became time to go. Unfortunately, Baby Belle 1 did not take kindly to the news that it was time to move on. It was at that point when my precious angel did her stop, drop and roll. Yes, the stop, drop and roll (or S.D.R. for short) is great for a fire and bad for a toddler temper tantrum. Poor Bon Bon had to drag her grandchild kicking and screaming from the store. Some would say that payback is a bitch...not me, per se, just "some."
I couldn’t have believed it possible, but Baby Belle 2 might even surpass her Bon Bon in the shoe department. Even when she was an itty bitty baby Belle and she couldn’t even crawl, she would somehow get a hold of shoes to play with and—on more than one occasion—snuggle. Lord she would pitch a fit if you tried to take her snuggle shoes away from her.
When Baby Belle 2 began toddling around, she became the rogue shoe thief. She indiscriminately donned her daddy’s, mama’s and sister’s shoes. If one left a pair of shoes lying around, one cast their ownership rights to the wind and that was that, thankyouverymuch.
Then, Baby Belle 2 discovered the pretend dress-up shoes. For some unknown reason, Baby Belle 1 was never all that into the play dress-up stuff. Yeah, she’d don a Disney Princess gown here and there, but I can promise you that her feet were most likely bare underneath the fluffs and ruffles. Of course, if I’m being honest, Baby Belle 1 is a bit clumsy like her mother and her avoidance of heels likely comes from a deeply ingrained survival instinct.
Anyway, the plastic dress-up shoes were stored somewhere within the dark recesses of the playroom and were long forgotten until Baby Belle 2 suddenly started clicking and clapping around the house in them one day. Apparently, we had a whole mess of left shoes, but Baby Belle 2 was doggedly determined to wear them regardless. After a mad search, we finally found a right shoe amongst the pack and, from that point on, the love affair blossomed.
The very second that Baby Belle 2 gets in the house, she takes of the shoes that she was wearing and slips on her pink plastic high heels. The child walks in the high heels better than most grown women. She even wears them while gardening on the weekends.
Naturally, when Baby Belle 2’s 3rd birthday rolled around last weekend, the kid cleaned up in the shoe department. She got lavender shoes with feathers and silver heels. She got red heels with blue ribbons. She got more pink heels with feathers. It was insane.
Now, I’m sure that some of you are thinking, “What in the world? A child can’t possibly need that many dress-up shoes! She’ll never even wear them all!”
I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, Baby Belle 2 has been doing her level best to wear every single shoe given to her. On many occasions, she has been spotted about the house with a different shoe on each foot. She has also been spotted about the house with shoes on her feet and on her hands. It’s also not uncommon to see her pushing her pink plastic shopping cart full of shoes about the house so she can change up “mid pretend shopping trip.”
How bad is it? The night of Baby Belle 2’s birthday, I was snuggling her in bed. She looked adorable in her little purple Tinkerbell jammies as she drifted off to sleep from the post-cupcake sugar crash. Somewhat pooped myself, I began to drift as well...until I felt as though I was hit in my right cheek by a meat mallet.
I shot straight up wondering what in the hell happened and whether or not I was bleeding from the eye. I looked down and the answer was sprawled before me. One of my darling dear’s favorite sleeping positions involves propping her feet up on her mama’s head. I’ve gotten used to it, but on that fateful night, Baby Belle 2 somehow managed to get in bed with her purple high heels and one of those hard plastic heels was unwittingly deployed against my cheek.
Yes, they say we suffer for fashion, but damn.