“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Munroe
A short while ago my husband and I were attending a funeral. (Unfortunately we seem to be doing this far too often lately.) As is often the case at funerals, I had an epiphany about the rest of my life and how I wanted to live it. However, this epiphany was not quite what you might expect.
My husband had just pulled up to the curb, put the vehicle into park and shut off the engine. I opened my door preparing to step out when a piercing shriek split the air. “Oh my God! Oh my God!” a woman exclaimed and she seemed to be pointing in my direction.
Startled by her scream I immediately checked my leg to see if I were bleeding, but all seemed fine there. Then I quickly scanned under the tires in case my husband had inadvertently driven over some poor wayward creature. Nope, nothing there either. Then I thought that maybe she was distraught over the deceased individual and could not contain her emotions. As I considered all these possibilities she shed light on her odd behavior by adding, “I would break my neck if I wore those!”
She had been pointing at my shoes. My shoes! Apparently she had been worked into a near frenzy by a pair of very fashionable, black, open-toed high heels. It took a moment but then I realized that her reaction was not so much about the height of my heels as it was about the age of the person wearing them.
What is it about society and its attitude about aging women? The old phrase, “You’ve come a long way baby” might be true, but there’s a long road ahead particularly when it comes to society’s attitudes about suitable attire for older women.
Who made the rule that short hair should be the norm for women of a certain age? Who decided that black, grey and brown should be the color of choice? (I admit I do like black, but why shouldn’t I wear lime green, chartreuse or shocking pink if I feel inclined to do so?) And where is it written that mature women should don sensible, lace-up, support shoes whether they need them or not?
I have always loved shoes and I don’t plan to give up something I love just because some people think I’m too old. Besides, I finally get to the stage in my life where I might be able to afford the occasional pair of designer footwear, and now I’m being told that I’m too old to wear them. That’s simply not fair, so I refuse to play by some outdated, old-fashioned rules. That night I came to the realization that I had finally reached the true age of liberation; the age where I don’t really care anymore what others think about the fashions I wear.
So as long as I can squeeze my swollen bunions into my pointy-toed Donald J Pliners, I will continue to do so. And as long as my arthritic knees and aching hips can support me, I will keep wearing my prettiest shoes and my highest pair of heels! (But I just might keep a pair of flats in the car as a back-up.)