Cinderella gets a new pair of shoes


Growing up in a family of height-endowed people, I decided early on that I wanted to grow to be at least 5-feet, 10-inches tall to maintain familial standing, so to speak. My cousin Laura hit 6-feet, so it wasn't an unreasonable aspiration, biologically anyway. By the time I started junior high, my height prospects were bright. I was taller than most of the boys in my class, and I wore size 9 ½ shoes. Feet of that magnitude on an 11-year-old girl held a promise of height-riches untold. I still recall the tragic day in high school when I realized most of the boys were my height or taller, and more than a few girls had caught up or surpassed my once-superior tallness. This is it, I admitted to myself. I've topped out at a paltry 5-feet, 8-inches. I've got these stupid clown feet (size 10 ½ by then) that I'll have to cope with for the rest of my life, and all I have to show for them is 5-feet, 8-inches of height. The gods of genetics obviously hated me. This fact was made doubly evident any time I went shoe shopping. Back then — in the dark ages when girls were expected to be girly and the clothing industry treated females of robust size as style outcasts — women's shoes (the cool women's shoes, that is) were found up to a size 10. That's it. And only if you were lucky. After that shoes jumped to a size 11, but these were the hideous shoes that looked best suited to correct a growth defect, or to drain me instantly of my youth and any possible sex appeal like a great sucking vortex of frumpy house frau-ishness. Thus it was my pedal flippers were too ginormous to fit into the cool-girl shoes and so freakishly sized they didn't even rate an ugly shoe to fit them —neither Cinderella nor a mean stepsister. Awkward. It's things like this that scar for life a female person who grew up in the last era of mandatory girly-girlishness. Well, that and trying to cram your feet into too-small shoes until you give up and move on to the men's shoe section. Guys don't understand my problem unless I explain that it would be like a taller-than-average guy wearing a size 6 ½ shoe. It's hard to feel entirely manly, I explain, if you have delicate feet that are so petite, in fact, that you have to shop in the women's or kids' department for footwear. Go ahead and pump your chest up to brag to your buddies about that over a beer some day, I say. I'll come by later with an ego detector and some Super Glue to find and reattach your male pride. That said, my baby brother had no problem with having feet a meager half-size larger than mine once he grew to his full adult stature — sister's feet are, after all, manly, so he was still in good standing with the heman set. In fact, neither of us batted an eye when my mid-life adventures in the land of over-40 included relaxing arches that stretched me that half-size larger to a full women's 11, equalling his men's 10. Whatever, I might not be cool, but I'm totally OK with being able to share shoes with Baby Brother. He has good taste and buys the expensive brands. It occurred to me the other day, as I slipped into a hand-meover pair of Baby Brother's shoes which didn't accommodate his high arches, that I will one day in the near future have cause to rejoice at the size of my feet. During this era in which the fashion industry, long my unloved adversary, has caught up to my comfortable (aka, less than feminine), outdoors-chick style, Baby Brother will cross that 40s milestone. His handsome, high arches will soon respond to the strain of this excessive age by relaxing their way right out of all those lovely, expensive hikers, waders and tennis shoes. And this Cinderella will totally score a whole new shoe wardrobe. (Maybe those gods do love me after all at http://viewnorth40. Com.)


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