The other day, just for fun, Betty and I popped our heads into a shoestore around 14th Street – not the DSW, the other one. I had envied Tom’s shoes that night at Yale, and all of my own shoes are very very scrappy-looking indeed, which is fine for daily wear, but I’ve always believed one should have at least one pair of shoes good enough for church.
I found a sharp pair of Kenneth Coles – square toe, visible stitching – and was told first that they were men’s shoes. When I didn’t scare so easily, the clerk told me they only started at men’s size 7 which is at least a women’s size 8.
[sigh] I’m a women’s 7 & 1/2, max, usually a 7. [/sigh]
So I went to the women’s section of Kenneth Cole – just for shits & giggles, since I knew what I’d find – and found all these… scrawny shoes. Thin little ballet slipper shoes with thin soles or thin heels or both. It made me sad. There wasn’t enough shoe to any of them. I miss the era of unisex, urban shoes.
But, still optimistic, I went online and checked that shoe behemoth zappos.com. Women’s shoes : Oxfords revealed about 15 pairs, not all of which were actually Oxfords. I tried Men’s : Oxfords and found plenty, but nearly all of them started, like Ken Cole’s, at size 7. The ones that didn’t were either extraordinarily expensive or looked a little too much like the shoes an out-of-touch mom might buy her teenage son for his confirmation – or a funeral. And even he’d have the good sense to not like them.
At long last I gave in and checked ebay, where I bid on (and won) a pair of stand issue, unisex, black DMs. For $5.50. I bid and won another, slighly different pair, for $9. That will hold me for a couple of years, no doubt – the shoes I wear most often I bought before I met Betty. (We’re celebrating our 8th anniversary this April.)
And crossdressers wonder why I don’t like to talk about shoes. For me, shoe shopping is often a hostile universe, where my requests are so often met with comments like “these only have a small heel” or “but it’s not much pink.” As a kid, I wanted the round-toed sneakers the boys wore, not those pointy tennies girls were supposed to wear. Ah, to un-dainty my dainty feet. At least Betty & I got to laugh over the fact that if I ever transitioned, my feet would be my “tell.” Ironically, I grew up thinking I had very large feet, because – c’mon, you can guess this one – I had older brothers who convinced me I did. When I was 25 or so, I actually said, “I know I have big feet” to a shoe salesman, who then asked how tall I was. When I answered (5’6″) he looked at me like I was from another planet. “Those are small feet, for your height,” he said simply.