Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Feet

At my former place of employment - a more corporate environment where I spent half my week in meetings with clients - my wardrobe consisted mostly of high-waisted skirts and sky-high heels, typically with rounded toes.

The former exaggerated the length of my legs in proportion to my body, and the latter exaggerated the utter tininess of my feet.

As I am wont to say when a shoe salesperson looks at me incredulously: "I got little midget feet."

I wear a ladies' size 6-1/2, which, given that I am 5'-8" tall, means my feet are woefully undersized for my height. This creates all sorts of problems, such as the tendency to lose my balance while standing perfectly still.

Now, dear reader, do not believe that I exacerbated my balance issues by wearing stilettos. Au contraire: I had to concentrate more on locomotion, and so tended rather to be more successful at walking than otherwise.

Now, I spend at least one day each week wearing steel-toed boots. I had looked at myself in the mirror while wearing them, of course, but until today, it had not struck me that they give me the appearance of having "normal" feet, or, at least, feet that are more proportional to my height.

I don't think I like this.

As Sir Francis Bacon put it, "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."

My personal appearance has always played on this idea, although I did not come across the quote that exemplifies the theory until earlier this year. I like to set off my relatively slender frame with enormous handbags and to overwhelm my somewhat delicate features with outsized sunglasses. Then, of course, there are the previously mentioned methods of exaggerating my already uncommon proportions.

At least I know something that the casual observer does not: my boots are too big.

In order to shove my foot into a Wellington-style boot, I had to buy a pair much larger than I would normally wear. In addition to the tiny foot, attached to long legs that reside at the bottom of a truncated trunk, the arch of my foot is extraordinarily high, and has an instep to accompany that trait.

So my high arches required the boot shaft to be of larger diameter than a men's size 5 (approximately equivalent to a ladies' size 6-1/2). I wear a men's size 6. And thick socks.

And I sigh over the apparent return of my feet to a seemingly normal dimension.

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