A Woman and Her Shoes
Marilyn Monroe has been credited with having said that when a girl has the right shoes, she can conquer the world.
How much truth is to be found in that observation may be debatable, but it would seem that most women do indeed love their shoes. Some go so far as to turn their attraction into an obsession. We have heard of women whose collection actually exceeds three thousand pairs of shoes!
Some women have such a collection of shoes that, the closets being over-full, their collection of shoes covers the entire floor of their bedrooms, wall to wall, allowing only room for a narrow pathway from the hall to the bed and another to the bathroom. The closet is full of shoes. Beneath the bed, piles of now mixed and unsorted shoes find themselves piled and jammed together; pumps, sandals, sports shoes and extremely high heels that the woman knows she’ll never wear in public because she’s afraid of heights.
And as with everything in the clothing lines, styles change. Not too long ago, extremely high soles, as well as heels, dominated. Now a bit passé, many households still proudly possess a number of these, perhaps never again to be worn, but too nice to throw out. Besides, a true collector never discards a part of her collection.
Imelda Marcos was more famous for her collection of lovely shoes than for any other achievement she may have carried out during her lifetime and often claimed she did not own nearly so many as what been said of her.
And if it weren’t for that single glass slipper, where would Cinderella have ended up?
For many, it’s very difficult to understand why so many women place so much importance on their shoes. Psychologists have debated this thorny question for years and still today, a complete understanding of this love affair has never quite been realized.
Women, in general, love their shoes. Men, of course, often feel the same way about their shoes, but few have been notable for having a collection rivaling those of many women. Women too have a greater variety and selection of shoe styles and types. There are ballet slippers, clogs, wedges, boots, straps and no straps, lace-up shoes as well as flats, platforms, open toes and closed toes. they have low heels and a series of steps up to extremely high spike heels. Women’s shoes come in all colors and are made from every imaginable material. Cinderella had shoes made of glass while Dorothy had ruby red or silver, depending on which version we like most. According to history, this shoe-fetish thingie is not recent. Long before the advent of high heels, women have seen shoes as objects of desire, some would even go so far as to accuse them of being shoe-crazy.
A peek into industrial history assures us that even in bad economies, shoe sales do better than almost any other item of apparel. Having the right pair of desired shoes brings solace to a woman after a difficult day at the office or in whatever workplace, or even in the home where she—contrary to the accusations of thousands of husbands—does not have time to sit around and watch Maury. She washes and dries and folds the clothing, tends to the cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, vacuums the floors, makes certain the beds are made—no one wants to go to bed in a rumpled unmade bed at night). And of course, she has to take care of her shoe collection.
Some believe shoes are actually a mood-altering form of pleasure that creates a reaction in the brain. Being able to find and buy a new pair of shoes can actually stimulate pleasure centers in the brain, and much more safely than other forms of brain-altering products, many of which are illegal.
Often men consider walking sticks an item worthy of collection, while for women, shoes find themselves in the collectible category. And just as a male feels a thrill course through his body when he spots a unique walking stick or a rare stamp for his collection, a woman feels that same “rush” when she lays eyes on a coveted pair of shoes, a pair just a bit different from any she’s ever had before.
In addition to being collectible, shoes, for many women, are a statement of their position in the world. The right shoes tell others that this is a woman who is going places, albeit on uncomfortably tight high-heels. Even those who don’t quite realize what it is about this woman, see that there is something of a royal look about her, a haughty look than nothing can erase.
It is estimated that out of the some forty billion dollars spent each and every year for shoes, women’s shoes alone account for some sixty percent of that amount. The other forty percent goes for all other shoes, men, boys, and girls.
Men, generally, choose a shoe that fits well and will be comfortable. Women on the other hand, often buy shoes for their beauty alone. In their minds size and comfort are must less important. While men too are often impressed by designer names, women are true believers. When a shoe comes from Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin or Jean-Paul Gaultier (men, one and all), a woman’s heart melts.
Although these designers are males, and historically, shoemaking has been a man’s métier, passing from father to son, or in the case of Charles Laughton, from father-in-law to son-in-law. Most would agree that making shoes and boots the old-fashioned way with leather and hammer and nails was a man’s work and they made shoes for men. In those days, men worked, while the woman remained in the house. They not only lacked good shoes but had no opportunity to see and develop an obsession for shoes.
Ah, but no longer! With these and other highly popular designers hard at work, almost every woman can have plenty of desirable shoes in her wardrobe, and if she hasn’t, she’ll know where to get them, and more.