Newsflash: I am neither an angel of mercy nor a bargain basement prostitute.
I just thought I’d get that right out there for everyone to see off the bat. Now I’ll proceed to explain why I feel it important for the general public to know this about me: shoes.
Last weekend was a frustrating one for me. The Manolosphere was blacked out by server troubles, the temperature rose some thirty or so degrees literally overnight, and my sandals chose that moment to die an irreversible death, leaving me with a choice of fleece-lined clogs or mid-calf boots to wear.
Now it’s a grim confession for a Manolosphere writer to admit such a tiny collection of footwear. It’s also damn uncomfortable to go out in ninety-odd degree weather in fleece-lined shoes. I bit the bullet and informed Mr. Twistie that we were on a Mission From God to find me a pair of sandals.
Mr. Twistie has been known to quake in his shoes at such a pronouncement. Why? Because my feet are notoriously difficult to fit coupled with the fact that my sense of style is extremely particular. My arch is ridiculously high, and my sense of balance is…well…I’ve been known to fall off my heels in flats.
Nevertheless, Mr. Twistie knows an implacable Twistie when he sees one and dutifully drove me to a large mall. Said mall contains approximately eighty-five gazillion shoe stores, give or take a couple. It also contains three – count ’em, three – department stores. I trudged through every single one of them in a desperate search for a pair of flat sandals I could stick on my feet right then and there and wear home. You’d think with that many sources there would be a fighting chance of finding one damn pair of shoes I liked that fit.
You would, apparently, be wrong.
Okay, I admit I didn’t try out the ‘sensible’ shoe store. It’s not even (forgive me, Manolo!) that I have a problem with wearing Birkenstocks. I’ve done it before, and I’ll no doubt do it again. They fit. I don’t fall off them. They last for freaking ever. It’s just that for once in my life, I wanted a pair of at least marginally fashionable sandals. Just once. Is that really so much to ask?
I started out at Payless Shoes. This is not because of high quality or even their generally very low prices. It was because I’ve seen them stock reasonable looking shoes in wide sizes before, so it struck me as a good place to start looking. I headed for the row with my size and began the hunt, fairly certain I could at least find a pair of sandals I could wear while looking for a sturdier pair to last me longer.
There was one, single pair of shoes in my size. They were hot pink metallic patent leather platform stiletto hooker sandals. Let us count the ways in which these are Not Twistie Shoes. We begin with ‘pink’ and end with ‘hooker.’ The only two words from that list I wanted in my footwear were ‘hot sandals.’
Still, that was one store. There was an entire mall full of shoes just waiting for someone to buy them. Besides, while Payless carries wide widths, they don’t exactly specialize in them. Perhaps they were just low on stock that day. Nothing daunted, I headed for a store that had a lovely selection of attractive flat sandals in real leather colors. Some had pretty beadwork, others decorative stitching that caught my Ren-Fairy eye. Some were simple while others were elaborate. The thing they all had in common was that they looked like something I wanted on my feet.
Wiping away the unladylike drool from my chin, I proceeded in and took a closer look. Good materials, decent workmanship, reasonable prices…I was in Shoe Heaven! Then I asked the fateful question: do you carry wide widths?
The girl looked at me as though I’d just asked for permission to park my spaceship on the premises. She then informed me that, no, she was sorry to be unable to help me, but her store didn’t carry wide shoes at all.
The next store was worse. The shoes – while less inspirational than in the previous one – were quite nice. The saleswoman was not. She didn’t just look confused, but outright disgusted to have been asked a simple question about the sizes available. She then sneeringly directed me to the ‘sensible’ shoe store.
On and on it went. Store after store, I got one of the above reactions. There was either polite befuddlement or outright contempt that I might think I had any right to put something pretty on my disgusting fat feet.
My last ditch effort was Sears. Their shoe section had nobody to ask for assistance or other sizes. It had gone self serve. There were helpful signs all around the department informing me that more styles and sizes were available at their website. Great. That didn’t help me when I was searching high and low all over the department looking for a pair of shoes I could try on AND WEAR HOME IN THE SCORCHING HEAT INSTEAD OF THE DAMN CLOGS.
After some minutes of diligent searching, I found one, single pair of wide width shoes in the whole of the Sears shoe department. They were a pair of sensible white bucks clearly meant for someone in the medical profession. I’m glad they recognized that, say, a nurse who stands on her feet all day might need shoes for work, and that they might even need a wide width. I’m in favor of that. I, however, am not a nurse. Even if I were one, I would still need something to wear on my feet in my off hours. And when I need sandals, I really don’t need bucks.
Oh, and some of us need a bit more from a shoe than simple width. I, for example, need to know that my freakishly high arch will fit into a shoe before I buy it. Purchasing shoes over the internet is simply not a practical option for some of us, aside from the fact that sometimes you just need a shoe immediately because you don’t have anything functional and appropriate to the season.
So, stiletto hooker shoes or angel of mercy white bucks. I wound up swinging through a Target on the way home. No, they didn’t have wide shoes, either, but we had a gift card and I found a pair of kind of cute sandals that weren’t all that uncomfortable to wear for less than twenty dollars. They will have to do for me until I find someplace where I can get a pair of sandals that actually fits and that I actually like.
In fact, if they just came in my actual size, I’d be content with the sandals I bought.