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To shoe or not to shoe...

Ahh, sweet summer time. I can put the aggravation of shoes behind me for three long, lazy months.

Footwear initiates copious complexities that my closet, both metaphorical and literal, cannot accommodate. In ancient days, dusty sandals made the right statement for every occasion, whether watching lions eat Christians in the coliseum, or listening to Nero play while Rome burned. Modern times, however, require specialized ped-wear for every imagined activity. And I often find myself committing the transgression of strolling in my jogging shoes.

My shoe rack bends under the weight of too many choices: tennis shoes for walking, tennis shoes for running, tennis shoes for aerobics (notably, I don't own tennis shoes for tennis); casual, work, dressy, semi-formal and formal heels; white, brown, blue, black, green, yellow and pink sandals; white church shoes, and winter-white church shoes (the invention of some Yankee, to pick the pockets of Junior Leaguers after labor day); dressed-up flip flops, dressed-down flip flops; pool shoes, river rafting sandals, gardening clogs; thigh-high boots, knee-high boots, calf-high boots, ankle-high boots, hiking boots, and so forth, in every color, to match every outfit.

Thanks, Nike. While housing shoes causes me some angst, and choosing shoes, that meet the requirements of any given situation, triggers some worry, questioning my husband, "Do these shoes look okay with this outfit," always raises tensions in my marriage.

He endures profuse shoe changes, watching me grow and shrink in height, occasionally simultaneously, for comparison sake, in an effort to elicit something stronger from him than, "Yeah, sure honey." And even though I know he will never guess the right answer, because, as all women secretly admit, there isn't one, I insist that I need his honest opinion.

He gives it to me, and I eliminate that pair from the process.

Then, he glances into his own sparse wardrobe and realizes he owns only three sets of shoes, and resolves to return balance to our inequitable relationship; not by purchasing more for him, but by telling me if I owned less, we'd be enjoying dessert by now.

But, not so, because he cannot locate a missing mate, which he desires to don to dinner; thus bringing me to an additional problem with shoes: Finding them. The average person probably spends five minutes each day looking for a pair of shoes. That's over 30 hours per year. In one lifetime, lasting 70 years, a person spends more than 2,100 hours searching her house, yard and car for footwear. Throw in hunting for children's and spouse's shoes, and that's an astronomical minimum of 6,300 hours, per earthly existence, wasted; probably looking for that one shoe that ended up single on the street, or clinging by laces to a power line, gawked at by passersby, who wonder how someone goes out fully shod and returns home with one bare foot.

This reminds me of a final argument against shoes. They sometimes embarrass me. Case in point: A couple of glasses of wine into a recent wedding reception, I decided I had on my dancing shoes and performed moves that would put Seinfeld's Elaine to shame. Other guests watched with envy.

Later that night, I propped up my impressive boogie tootsies, only to see what everyone else saw. One foot wore a black paten leather pump, and the other sported a blue one. My ego felt black and blue, too.

So, consider me thrilled to enjoy freedom from compulsory shoe wearing for awhile.

Kick off your shoes America, and don't worry where they land until Labor Day.



Web posted on Thursday, June 2, 2005











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