Party shoes

December 11, 2012

Last Saturday evening, I was on an escalator going up from the Harvard Square T-Stop (subway and bus station), and the passengers on the stairs directly above me were a young couple.  The woman seemed to have on a pretty black party skirt — light sheer-ish fabric with a velvety band and a flounce to the hem.  So I was surprised when I noticed her shoes.  They looked to me like black shearling moccasins, and they certainly had a flat sole.  I thought, “Well, those look warm and comfy, can one really get away with wearing such footwear with a party outfit nowadays?  Is that a style?”  After all, Uggs have become more than ubiquitous.

So we all rise up from the station and exit onto the little plaza, and I’m heading to cross Mass. Ave. and the pair ahead of me stops right in front of me at a cylindrical structure on the plaza, and before I pass by, the young woman is putting down a pair of bright red very high-heeled satiny pumps on the brick paving and changing out of her flats.  As I passed by, I told her I had been admiring her black shoes, too.

I will say here that her changing into her party shoes relieved my mind of its need to try to understand her footwear choice, because the red shoes squared better with my sense of her sense of fashion and her style.

Red shoes have an interesting history or set of associations.  Popes wear them, I think, they’re in the Wizard of Oz story, there’s a fairy tale about ones that make the wearer dance, I suspect Robert Graves talks about them in The White Goddess but I actually don’t remember — something like red boots on the sacrificial king, I want to say.

So in that context, for me, watching a young man support his date (?) as she changed her shoes on a Saturday night, in public but somehow a little protected within the hubbub in Harvard Square, was very sweet.  I hope they had a good time, wherever they were going.


8 Responses to “Party shoes”

  1. I like thoughts like this, and when people write about them. Small observations that seem to somehow confirm that the world is rotating on its axis in the appropriate manner. I have them all the time and I can’t possibly share them with people because people don’t talk about them. I have begun to suspect that most of the human race goes through life either not noticing things or simply oblivious to the concept of awareness of the world around us.

    It’s common in some places for women to wear tennis shoes to and from work but have dressy shoes at work, thus you see this sort of thing more often. It tells me that women are often more cognizant of how they look to others than how they feel about the comfort of their attire. It seems to me to be as silly as watching a female gorilla constantly wearing a big leaf on her head whenever male gorillas are around. On the one hand it makes sense if the leaf attracts males, but it gets ridiculous when females start competing to have the best leaf possible. An artifice which had a purpose but has taken on a life of its own over time.

    Soon the males won’t approach a female who does not have a leaf on her head and nature and evolution are turned on their head forever. The first female gorilla to have long hair then becomes the ideal sexually alluring type.

    This battle for attention goes on and on till nobody can remember why it started or even tell if it does any good. Life is interesting, if puzzling sometimes.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I had a friend back in the 1980s, when, I think, women started doing that tennis-shoes-to-work thing, who vehemently opposed the practice on aesthetic grounds — she thought such shoes, especially running shoes, made women’s feet look like “little chunks.” I told her, cobblestones are rough on heels (I was walking up Beacon Hill to a law firm).

      I’m going to have to work on my head leaf — that may explain why I’m not attracting any male gorillas. Although while I was editing this post, Fred came to my door with the pair of shearling slippers I had ordered (my current pair has a hole) and an offer to go to the museum.

      • Even the Christian Bible says that women with long dangly hair things on their head are wanton and dangerous. You really should get yourself a couple of really good leaves.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I am chuckling.

        I am also thinking how on Sunday, I was buying my sister a birthday present, and she had been mentioning pierced ears and I was looking at dangly ones and couldn’t see her in them, so Jeannette then asked me what my sister is like. On the basis of what I said, Jeanette then made a pair of simple earrings, silver with one white pearl. And later, before I left the store, Jeanette insisted on giving my hair a trim. No hair leaves, though, but maybe a necklace of jet with pyrite, interspersed with a little silver, counts? (My sister doesn’t buy me birthday gifts, and our birthdays are on successive days, so it’s really noticeable. I’ve learned to buy myself a gift if I feel the need for one.)

      • See, we’ve gone beyond hair leaves and brought in necklaces and earrings to the battle. It’s just so damned easy to forget it all started with hair leaves 🙂

      • Diana Moses Says:

        You think it was a banana leaf?

      • Well, banana leaves have their utilitarian appeal, but personally I think the fern leaves are more delicate and give one a look of refinement. Also, the fern frond stalks are soft enough to make a weave which can be ever so elegant.

  2. Philomena Muinzer Says:

    And best association of all is the terrific film The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and starring Moira Shearer, which was an influence bethind Darren Aronovsky’s recent dance film Black Swan.

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