Walk a mile in my shoes

Shelley Blundell

As I have been writing a column for more than a year now, I feel I can trust you, my audience, enough to reveal a secret.

I am obsessed with shoes.

Well, maybe not obsessed. But I definitely pay more attention to shoes than is humanly necessary; that, I know for sure.

While some may view shoes as a mere accessory, to me, they can make or break an outfit, and sometimes one’s entire outlook on the day.

All right, I know what you’re thinking: “Gee, a woman who’s obsessed with shoes? That’s a new one – wait, no it isn’t.” It seems to be a common stereotype: Women love shoes.

But ask these women why they love shoes, and I’ll bet their answers are as different as the shoes they choose to worship.

I love shoes because my feet are possibly the one part of my body I actually am happy with. Blessed with slender feet, there are few shoes I cannot wear. Even ugly old-lady shoes seem to look OK on my feet. At least, they do to me. Plus, I am often frustrated when shopping for clothes; it is very rare that I go on a shoe-shopping excursion and come back unhappy.

Looking back over time, it would seem history has had a preoccupation with feet as well. Greek art used the foot as a means to distinguish a statue’s “gender” as women were given tiny, curved feet by sculptors, as opposed to the large and masculine feet on the male statues. As some people may know, the concept of the “Lotus Foot” was popular in Chinese culture for many centuries. Although this binding of women’s feet from an early age to cause petite and malformed development is viewed as barbaric and unnecessary by modern standards, for many Chinese people who practiced this “art,” the Lotus Foot was seen as the pinnacle of extreme feminine beauty.

While I do not advocate this concept, how many women reading this have ever worn a pair of shoes that hurt them so bad they want to cry, but the shoes make their feet/outfit/bum/calf muscles look so amazing it’s a shame not to wear them? I have. In fact, I still have scars on the top of my feet from a pair of shoes that cut my feet so badly they never recovered. But damn, did I look good!

The point is this: We all have our guilty pleasures in life. For some people, it’s a General Hospital marathon on late night TV. For others, it’s eating both Twinkies in a package. For me, that pleasure is shoes.

While this column may seem rather arbitrary, there is a reason behind it. As the country mourns yet another senseless tragedy, it feels good to share with others, especially on a topic that many people have a common interest in.

Something mundane but potentially solace-providing like shoes.

My heart truly goes out to all those affected by the Virginia Tech shootings. While most of us may never understand exactly why some people can do such horrendous things, what I do understand is that eventually, healing will begin – one step at a time.

So as college students across the country put themselves in “Hokie shoes” out of sympathy and support, I ask that you give in to your guilty pleasures occasionally, as long as they don’t harm anyone else.

Because life is too short to not indulge yourself, every once in a while.

Shelley Blundell is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].