A Heeled Rant

We’re not all blessed with the aptitude for curving our feet into the artificial S pose, the talent of balancing the tips of our heels onto a slither of a wedge. It’s not every young woman’s calling, yet the majority of us respond to society’s appeal for the long, lustrous sexy legs attained by the elevated shoe.

I can’t walk in heels… I just can’t. Save for the times I’m slightly inebriated, which for some reason whisks with it the magical capability of maintaining the composure of my usually testy feet. Or if the shoe features a thick wedge and a front platform. But for the most part, I’m the waddling penguin who seems to have grabbed a pair of shoes from her mother’s closet.

So when a male friend commented that, someday, I’d have to learn to love the heel (“That’s what all women wear in the workplace”) my eyes rolled upwards and I let out a heavy, disheartened sigh.

Really, where does a man who never faces the challenge of pulling the pencil skirt over ‘child bearing hips’ and who, last time I checked, saunters comfortably into work, feet clad in the one inch, thick, large heels that don’t even count as heels, possibly begin to think he has a say in what type of shoe a woman should wear? When did society decide pain is beauty and that foot binding is cruel but heel wearing is acceptable, required? Why is it that I am expected to don heels on a night out and soak pained feet in a bath of warm water the morning after?

And why is it that I still wish I could pull off the four-inch pumps laying in my closet because I happen to love the look they leave me with?

I hold the 1500s responsible – the barely five-foot, 14-year-old Catherine de Medici, to be precise. To compensate for her lack in height (and apparently self- esteem), little Medici fashioned a pair of heels for her wedding day, in an attempt to temporarily grow two inches. (I would be perfectly comfortable, mind you, if heels had stopped at the two-inch mark. Now those I can strut about in.) Medici’s heels revolutionized generations of women’s shoe closets to come, from the iconic Marilyn Monroe’s The Seven Year Itch stilettos to Gaga’s modern shoes-gone-art.

Regardless of what my male friend believes; I’ll forever be the employee in the cute flats, hidden among the wedge enhanced, 5’8 women of my workplace. But every once in a while, I’ll also be the one waddling along, giving into society’s pressure to curve up on the balancing act we call ‘wearing high heels.’ Just look for the penguin with the sexy long legs. TC mark


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  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I commiserate with you.  It’s hard finding a heel that fits a size 12 comfortably.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I commiserate with you.  It’s hard finding a heel that fits a size 12 comfortably.   

  • Meh

    It frustrates me that so many articles on TC start out so promising and then end abruptly without developing the topic into something meaningful. I realize that this was titled a “rant” but I was looking for an anecdote or two, or an insight of some sort. The premise of this article is something many women can relate to, but while the Medici tale was a nice inclusion – and a good teaser for the blurb – the end of the article left me disappointed and wanting more.

    • skylar

      I get this feeling ALL THE TIME on here… starts off so good, and you’re really feelin it… then it just like, ends. Abrupt endings can have purpose but I feel like most of the time on here they don’t. I’m sorry to post negativity on this article because it is not unique to this writer, but it does get disappointing time after time.

  • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

    Emma I completely agree with you.  The only time I would ever wear high heels is when I’m being paid $100/hour to walk across some businessman’s back.

  • Vera

    put on some docs and curb stomp those bitches who demand heels. 

  • Quinnmoreland

    I really enjoyed this article! Thank you so much for standing up for those of us who cower when occasions that are deemed ‘high heel appropriate’ arise!

  • Christyn

    This post + advertisement for heels at the top of the page = irony

    ps: Very relatable sentiment. Would have loved to see some elaboration, but it’s your article to do with as you please! 

  • http://imlikecocaine.wordpress.com/ Ana

    finally, an article like this has been written. my angst has been expressed and it’s being shared. thank you!

  • Kate

    I love this rant. I’m 5’11 without heels yet still feel slightly weird and unfeminine wearing flats all the time. So I’ll go to a wedding or a night out in heels and be the 6’2 giant who is taller than my boyfriend. I can’t walk in them either!

    • http://twitter.com/tashny Tashny Sukumaran

      want to give me some inches thar? /jealous pout

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1392661917 Olivia Tiberio

      5’10” here. I used to feel self-conscious about wearing high heels because I end up towering over my boyfriend (and everybody else), but I’ve actually grown to like it a lot, especially in a bar/party setting. I enjoy being tall enough to be intimidating. 

  • Maeby Funke

    I love heels. At 5’5″ I’m considered quite tall for a woman in my country, so I don’t get a lot of chances to wear them, especially since I have a fondness for heels that are four inches and above…

  • Allison

    I’m 5’2″ and I wear heels almost everyday. I’m a dancer so it’s not hard for me to wear them at all, and I love them.   Also, 10 points for not giving us girls who DO like to wear heels any crap. I like that you understand they’re awesome for some, and not for others.

  • oy

    Repeat after me: Keep a variety of heels* in the office. Wear cute flats to get to work and when going to lunch.

    That said, when I started office work I used to think like you about my commitment to flats. Then I realized professional clothing just doesn’t look as nice without some elevation on my short and hip-y frame. I’m still not quite up for walking smoothly outside in regular heels, but in my carpeted office its fine.

    The crazy thing about heels is that I think they’re slightly addicting?
    As in, the more you wear them the more you’ll want to wear them. And turns out wooden or cork wedges and platforms are amazing and surprisingly comfortable and easy to walk in. 80/20% makes some good gateway hidden-heels. 

    * preferably Dr. Scholl’s heel insoles with hot looking Cole Haan Nike Air pumps. No one has to know.

    • m bell

      cole haan is amazing. i get the pumps for always the sandals for summer and the boots for winter…and then put those insoles in. 

  • sara

    ugh. i can’t handle a girl who whines about heels. get over it. it’s not that bad. just do it.

    • skylar

      but why?

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      “Not that bad” if you like having a damaged Achilles tendon, I guess.

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    I’m tall, I have nice legs, and I’d rather cut them off than wear heels out in NYC. I did it ONE night and after spending an evening being the 6’3″ elephant in the room, I think I’ll stick to footwear that keeps me on the ground floor from here on out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathon-Ferrari/100001319787228 Jonathon Ferrari

    “Flats are for quitters” – Jack D. from 30 Rock

  • http://brittannytaylor.com Brittanny

    I like wearing heels but I rarely do because I have leg length discrepancy. My left leg is 2 centimeters longer than my right. Doesn’t sound like much but I had surgery when I was 12 to prevent my left leg from growing any longer and now at 28 my doctors want to break my right leg and stretch it to match my left. I rather not go through the pain and money associated with that so I’ll just stay the way I am. I can’t wear a lift in my heels so I go without and end up limping (I limp when I walk anyway but it is more noticeable when I wear heels).

    People love to comment that I can’t walk in heels or ask if I’m hurting. No, I can walk in heels and I am not in pain. Recently I was asked why I was “schlepping around” by an acquaintance (while wearing flip flops mind you). I have been made fun of to my face about having one leg longer than the other by a coworker who later had to be told by another associate that it upset me.

    I like heels but I rather go without the stares and the comments that go along with it.

  • http://twitter.com/hereticaneue Heretica Neue

    I’m with you. I hate wearing heels and only do so when I have to. Otherwise, I’m in cute, comfy flats. :)

  • Anonymous

    Not only does it make your legs longer, it also makes a the butt more shapely and lifted.  I think your chest sticks out too, your boobs get bigger.

    I’m generalizing here, but a woman wearing heels sticks out to me because it was evolutionary designed that way right? A big firm booty and a big chest is a sign of fertility.  That’s what makes it attractive?

    Woman.  Your heels don’t make you look hot.  It just makes you look FERTILE!  O__O?

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