Friday, 6 July 2007

Horse Shoes

I am going to a birthday celebration next weekend. It’s a dinner in a smart hotel, and I need to scrub up a bit for it. I have a rather glitzy dress which hasn’t seen the light of day for about a year, and which offers the perfect blend of sleek sophistication (for when I arrive) and party animal (for when I leave). The problem is that the shoes I bought to go with the dress have been reduced to twisted, mummified corpses at the bottom of the wardrobe. I am going to have to find a replacement pair, and that means going shoe shopping this weekend.
Now, I love going shopping for clothes, especially if it follows a boozy lunch with a good friend, and involves swaying in and out of dinky boutiques, stifling giggles and daring each other to try on totally unsuitable stuff (tops that reveal upper arms, peasant-style dresses, anything lime green).
But no amount of alcohol can numb the despair and humiliation of shoe shopping. I often feel like I belong to a completely different species when it comes to the topic of shoes. Many of my friends get a bigger sexual thrill from ogling shoes than they do from ogling their husbands (but then looking at some of the husbands, it’s hardly surprising). Shoes have become a byword for wild-eyed womanly lust. Buying shoes apparently represents the orgasmic fusion of female desire, submission and subsequent guilt.
I read once that the reason women supposedly lust after fancy footwear is because shoes are an accessible piece of glamour for all women, regardless of their body size. So, no matter how large you might be, or how much weight you put on, shoes will always fit.
Well, I’m sorry, but that is a load of sh....oes. I am the unhappy owner of wide feet. When I was pregnant they were even wider. So wide that flip-flops seemed like a reasonable option in February.
Years of sitting in shoe shops trying to cram my robot feet into tiny strips of satin or leather have left me feeling like one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters. I might be able to go to the ball, but if I want to dance or do anything other than sit on a stool and annoy the bar staff, I will be forced to wear sensible shoes.
Shoe manufacturers seem to be convinced that anyone with wide feet must be over seventy and devoted to beige. I never knew there were so many shades of beige, but wide-fitting shoes encompass the whole beige spectrum. They can range from a delicate, pale ‘support stocking’, through to ‘corn plaster’, and all the way to a rich, dark ‘ear wax’. The excitement of buying a foxy, sparkly red dress diminishes rather rapidly when the options for accompanying footwear all involve neutral colours, comfortable one inch heels, and large buckles for easy fastening. Not exactly ‘f**k-me’ shoes – more ‘sit me down with a nice cup of tea’ shoes.
Before I decide to unleash my inner pensioner, I am going to unleash this Friday’s Drunk Mummy Cheap Fizz. It’s an Australian sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and was chosen purely on the basis of its cork – or its lack of cork.
I am a huge fan of the screw-top wine bottle, since the disappointment of a bitter-tasting corked wine is enough to reduce me to tears. This Deakin Estate Brut (Oddbins £6.99) has a cap like a beer bottle, and why not? It is impossible to force a cork back into a bottle of sparkly stuff (and who would want to anyway?), so the metal cap seems like a perfectly sensible idea.
Admittedly if you tried to ‘pop’ the top off in true party buffoon style, you might get severe lacerations to the eye, but then I have always thought such displays of forced exuberance to be a complete waste of good fizz. The celebrations at the end of a Grand Prix race usually have me tutting like a tight-lipped maiden aunt.
The idea of forcing a cork back into a bottle is an uncomfortable reminder of the hellish task that lies ahead of me tomorrow. I think I need another glass of this rough-and-ready Aussie fizz to cope with the prospect. It is quite yeasty, and creamy, but with a good crisp finish - just what I need!
I have noticed that some shops are starting to do ranges of shoes to fit wider feet, so I know that I am not alone in my splay-footed splendour. These collections are usually called something euphemistic like ‘comfort range,’ ‘eezee-fit’ or ‘heifer hooves’ but at least they do colours other than beige, so maybe there is a chance I might buy a gorgeous and vertiginous pair of heels to go with my party dress. On the other hand, perhaps I should just stick with flip-flops, and then I won’t have to worry about falling over at the end of the evening.

27 comments:

lady macleod said...

not "sensible shoes". Never! you know... you can have a last made to fit you, and have your shoes made to fit. Once the initial expense of the last is out of the way, it's not so very expensive, way less than those visits to the psychiatrist you're going to need if you start wearing eek! "sensible shoes" with your slinky f***me dress! horrors!

you go, shop, drink, shop some more!

Motheratlarge said...

Brilliant posting!! I have very long (size eight) feet and so can relate all too well to stories of shoe-buying difficulties. When splurging on new shoes supposedly equates to the heights of womanly attainment, it can be frustrating to be looking at flatties or flip-flops.

Mya said...

You can get quite glamourous flip flops these days, you know.

Flippers might be worth a try too -they're quite wide - but possibly not the chic understatement you're seeking, and a tad tricky after a few drinks. Just avoid anything with velcro - trust me.

Mya x

expatmum said...

Although I have slim to normal width feet - after too many years in point shoes, and not enough care in the 80's, they are disgusting. Here I am in 85 degree weather and I can't wear strappy shoes. Not even flip flops!! I'm walking around in ballet flats, which although fashionable, - are bloody hot!

@themill said...

My sister's feet are almost square and she can usually find fab shoes in Schuh.
Great blog

Omega Mum said...

I think 'ear wax' has got huge potential. What about a whole cosmetics range to match the shoes? Then you could move seamlessly (well, in your case with slight shuffle owing to Zimmer frame catching on a rug fringe) into a baby clothes range in the shades every mother really needs - poo and sick.

Stay at home dad said...

If you ever feel the need to put your profile in the small ads, I'd get someone else to write it DM!

Mr Farty said...

F*** me shoes are NSFW - unless you're a stripper or that.

Good luck with the shoe shopping; if you need some advice, I'm soooo not your man.

jenny said...

You had me cracking up and crying at the same time! I have big feet, and since I was 10, have worn size 10 shoes. When I was younger, I just moseyed on over to wearing boys sneakers (I was a tomboy) but by the time I got to college, I couldnt find any f**k me shoes in my size. Plus I inherited my Dad's nice large calves so I also cant wear any zip-up boots.

Stick with birkenstocks. It's all I wear these days and it fits the 'down to earth' look I've been doing.

The Good Woman said...

Re the cork issue. Far and away the most impressive de-corking I've seen was sabrage. The sabre was (memorably) swung by the octogenarian matrich of a wine farm in Franschoek, South Africa and the cork emerged so effortlessly that I was left in awe of her sabre-wielding prowess. Now, I'm trying to remember if her shoes were beige....

rilly super said...

drunkmummy, I suppose there is always the option, in extremis, of resorting to the kind of specialist supplier depicted in the film 'kinky boots'...

DJ Kirkby said...

Please would you reccomend a nice Champers which I could clebrate my 40th with? It will be a happy celebratory drink not a commiseratory (is that a word?), one...

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

I sympathise -- I too have wide feet plus a high instep and finding comfortable shows is a nightmare, and I don't care about fashion...

Have you tries Crocs? No good for a glitzy party I know, but for casual every day use they're great, and they come in bright colours. (There are some cheap knockoffs around too..) http://www.crocs.com/home.jsp

Jen said...

LOL, oh, you have my empathies for sure. I wear a US size seven, but after having a baby, my feet also spread out. I've given up wearing fancy shoes, and wear Chuck Taylor high tops instead. They do make them in gold and silver sparkly fabrics *grin*

beta mum said...

When I was a teenager I was desperate for t-strap shoes, and persuaded my mother to buy me some. But my feet, size 3 and wide, looked like pigs' trotters once they splayed out inside the shoes.
I'm more of a size 4 these days, and have a leaning towards Birkenstocks and comfort more than glamour and heels.
Such is the tedium of my social life...

Jill said...

Wow...I had no idea shoe shopping could be as traumatic as bathing suit shopping. :-( :-( :-( Then again I don't own high heels except on pair of high heeled sandals I use for work & more or less live in tennies or flip flops...

Nunhead Mum of One said...

My feet splurge too! i'm pathalogically addicted to my trainers which I'm guessing isn't doing me much good. I rarely get a chance to wear my snazzy shoes (as pictured!!!) but when I do they make me feel so good.

Clearly, when I take them off I'm left with two throbbing plates of meat that have a mottled hue, no blood within them and slight chafing. But it's worth it to be beautiful! Men just don't have this problem do they?

debio said...

Shoe shopping - my favourite pastime. But usually frustrating cos I don't think any shoes fit anybody - and were they likely to then size 'not in stock'. Husband bought me the most fabulous pair of LV's last Christmas - love them so much, only worn them twice, use them to decorate bedroom.

Mopsa said...

Tones of beige description is fab - I have always hated beige shoes, always as much as men in grey shoes - particularly those accompanied by white towelling socks. I have a great pair of scarlet sequinned silk flip flops - great for garden parties so you dont catch your high heels in the turf and find yourself toppling into a man in grey shoes.... urgh. For a link to some great red stilettoes, see the link here: http://mopsa.blogspot.com/2007/06/meme-game.html

DJ Kirkby said...

Heifer hooves... I love it! Me too and I am still stuck in these damn crocs at the mo...tried to wear trainers today, lasted all of 5 minutes, before my toe nail started threatening to part with my body...sigh.

dulwichmum said...

Darling Drunk Mummy,

Get yourself some disco dancing Crocs, apparently you can buy "jibbitz" that are diamonds and pearls to dress them up. Poor you, I like the suggestion of having some specially made - that sounds very glam. I am sorry this is such a lame comment, but I have laughed so long at your post, I have completely forgotten my smart comment.

EmmaK said...

I love shoes very much. I love buying very sexy high heels glittery, feathery, patent, etc. Of course, I cannot walk in them and just end up wearing them in bed, I mean for sex games, not just to sleep in. Good luck in your search for the perfect shoe!

Drunk Mummy said...

lady macleod - having a last made for your own feet seems like the stuff of royalty! I suppose I could have the last made, and even if I couldn't afford to have the shoes made from it, I could use it as a door-stop.

mother at large - it is annoying being sidelined as the rest of the female world squeals with delight!

mya - ha! Ilove the idea of flippers! I will take your advice about the velcro (although it does look rather comfy!).

expat mum - you have my sympathy, as I have very sweaty feet too (as if the width wasn't problem enough).

@themill - thanks for the tip. Your sister has my sympathy. My feet are not quite square - more robot-foot-shaped.

omega mum - there's a business idea for Frances! These really would be 'lifestyle' statements!

SAHD - what can you possibly mean? What is wrong with:
'Drooling woman (40+) with wide feet seeks wine lover for mutual copious consumption. Must have own vineyard.'

Mr Farty - you are right. I would not be safe for anything in high heels!

jenny - I'm with you on the calves! My formative years were spent playing netball, and I still have the calf muscles to prove it. Zip-up boots remain an even more distant fantasy than f**k me shoes!

good woman - now that's what I call a party trick. Who needs flashy shoes when you can do that?

rilly - you have a point there, but thigh-high laced-up patent leather might get a bit sweaty when I am doing my party performance of 'Dancing Queen'.

dj kirkby - well happy birthday to you!
I tend to buy more sparkling wine now, but my favourite champagne has always been Taittinger (£26.99 Oddbins)which has a delicate biscuity taste. It isn't to everyone's taste though, whereas I find that everyone seems to like the more fruity Veuve Clicquot.(£32.99 Oddbins).
Just make sure you save me a bit!

Peter - I seem to be the only person in the western world who doesn't own a pair of Crocs. Maybe I should just give in and go with the flow.
Re the Good Woman's comment about sabrage in South Africa, haven't you had a go at this? I seem to recall reading an article you wrote about this very thing. It looks like a lot of fun (if you can spare a few fingers, that is).

jen - Sparkly high tops - they sound rather cool!
Splayed feet seem to be yet another example of the carnage wreaked upon our poor bodies after childbirth!

beta mum - what teeny tiny feet you have! At least you have the option of buying a larger size and stuffing the ends with newspaper. Loved the story of the t-bar shoes!

jill - my blood has run cold reading your comment. My current cossie is a greying piece of saggy lycra. I don't think I can face shopping for a replacement!

Nunhead mum of one - looking at your trademark pic, I can confirm that those shoes are worth the agony - and at least you can get them on your feet!

debio - I love the idea of using your shoes to decorate your bedroom! I can't see mine fulfilling the same task, somehow.

mopsa - towelling socks and grey shoes - mmmm! I couldn't connect on the link, so I will just have to imagine the fab red stilettos.

dj kirkby - ouch! You are going to have to get that sorted (or taped up). I feel your pain!

Dulwich Mum - jibbitz? what a great name. Disco-dancing crocs sound like the way to go!

emmak - you wear your shoes in bed? I have been known to wear bed socks, but I don't suppose its quite the same thing.
I have played 'Hunt the Slipper' before - is that the sort of game you mean?

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Hi DM -- yes, I did spend a morning sabreing bottles -- see http://www.winelabels.org/artchamp.htm

Thing is tho', a sabre isn't necessary. You don't cut off theneck, all it needs is a firm tap and the glass shears of its own accord, and you can use any edge, such as a table knife, or even (as I did) the rim of the foot of a wine glass.

Drunk Mummy said...

That doesn't sound all that easy Peter, although it does look like fun!
I feel that I ought to add a 'Don't Try This At Home' warning!

Rudin said...

Great stuff but my feet is only seven and I got so beautiful shoes for me at CouponAlbum site.

lin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.