I don’t like shoes. There, I admitted it. Actually, I have nothing against shoes per se- they excuse me from the tedium of having to get a pedicure more than once a year, and I can’t imagine going to Coles without them (that floor gets so chilly in the dairy aisle!). More correctly, perhaps I should have said that I’m not into shoes. I don’t get shoes. For the life of me I can’t understand how other women become so worked up about the damn things- loopy about Louboutins, manic over Manolos, cuckoo for Choo.
This was first brought home to me years ago when I went out for drinks with a (quite literally) well-heeled friend. She insisted we find a seat at the bar rather than standing, then curled her legs around her in a way that might have seemed girlish and fetching if she hadn’t confessed later that she did so for a reason. Forget diamonds on the soles of her shoes- this woman wanted everyone to notice her trademark red Prada slash instead. “But they’re just, you know, shoes,” I told her, nonplussed, and she looked at me as if I’d spat on her mother.
It gets worse. I’m not into bags either. I’m not into makeup. I’m not- deep breath- into clothes. An online friend visiting my home town of Melbourne once asked me where she should shop. “Shop?” I queried. “Dresses,” she replied. “Something for the races, and something strappy and elegant for summer, and also maybe a leather jacket and some new wedges.” I was, again, nonplussed. If she’d asked for great Turkish bread or artisan chocolate or fabulous books, I was her girl. Heck, I could have helped her if the wedges she was dreaming of were the type that came with sour cream, but as it was it was like asking the Pope to recommend a gay bar.
I didn’t dare tell her that my own wardrobe consisted pretty much of jeans, white t-shirts, presents from my sister and a nice line in polar fleece. If tracksuits suddenly come into fashion as the last word in after-five wear I’ll be set, but until then it’s fair to say that I’m not a shopper.
It’s not- I hope- that I’m unfeminine. I’ve never, ever been a girly-girl, but I have a thing for gorgeous underwear, a penchant for rings and pearls and silver necklaces, a deep secret desire to one day be mistaken on the street for Angelina Jolie (which, admittedly, is unlikely, given you hardly ever see her in polar fleece).
I love looking at spreads of Oscars frocks and Derby day fashions on the field, but the whole thing is more confounding to me than nuclear physics. Actually, physics- both nuclear and garden variety- is a breeze compared to the agonies of accessorising, the mysteries of trans-seasonal wear and what the heck the point of those teensy little shrug things is anyway. I am a professional woman in my early (enough) forties who has to admit that she doesn’t truly know how to put an outfit together. I have a PhD in neuropsychology, but I cannot layer. This is a big admission. Living where I do, the latter would have been more useful.