2666936030_37b0d1deb8 Today I fell. Not in love, or off the wagon, or even short of inflated expectations. I just plain fell, off my platform shoes, right in the middle of Park Avenue at 33rd street. (Those pictured above are not my shoes. But GOD are they beautiful.)

I was shooshing across the street, trying to make it into work in time for a meeting, and suddenly–splat!–I was splayed face down in the crosswalk, a tear in the knee of my Joe’s Jeans and looking up at the concerned stares of several of my fellow Gotham denizens (who are unfairly stereotyped as rude and uncaring.) As I hoisted my petard off the pavement, a woman hovered above me to help if I needed it. I was fine, but embarrassed.

I felt I had to make a joke about my stupid shoes, three-inch black Kork-ease wedges that are comfortable, if potentially lethal on the wrong feet. It doesn’t take a genius to intuit that walking in those shoes (walking, after all, being the main purpose of your feet) might be, well, somewhat hazardous. They are high, they are unyielding, and they dangle tenuously from the feet by wide strips of dead cow. There are more ways to fall than there are to take a surefooted stride forward. But boy, are they cute.

“Serves me right for trying to be fashionable,” I said sheepishly. “I should just stick to sneakers.” She raised her eyebrows and pointed to her feet. She was wearing what looked to be basic plain black Easy Spirit-style walking shoe-sneaker hybrid, the lace up kind that were designed for mall walkers, the still active young-at-heart types who wanted a sneaker that didn’t look like a sneaker.

This wasn’t so much a Formery Hot moment because I fell. I used to fall all the time when I was younger, because I wore stupid shoes way more often back then. It’s really a wonder I’m not in a wheelchair.

It’s a Formerly Hot moment because I’m older, wiser, smarter and more knowlegable, and so can articulate all the reasons why my shoes are stupid. And yet I still wear them!

One could argue that the woman in the orthopedic sneakers, who was roughly my age, is the Formerly Hot woman. I would say no. She’s a woman who is likely assimilating the experience she has accrued over the years (perhaps she tore a ligament or incurred another shoe-related injury) into her current wardrobe. Maybe she keeps heels under her desk, but to actually walk, she wears heinous but practical perambulators. I’m the Formerly who knows better but still chooses stupid.

My stupid shoes are like an abusive boyfriend I should have outgrown by now. I keep going back to them, even after a pattern of bad experiences. They make me fall, but they are so, so sorry after that (plus I am so attracted to them ) so I give them another chance. And for awhile, it’s magical. And then the same thing happens again. I may eventually wise up to a particular pair, but you can bet I’ll buy more stupid shoes in the future. When I’m in the store, looking at that foot-high mirror, I think, maybe it’ll be different this time. Someone is going to have to call Oprah. Clearly it can happen to women like me.

It never is any different. In all other areas of life, Formerlies tend to grow out of youthful idiocy. The allure of the bad boy wears off and we tend to marry the nice guy who deserved our attention all along. We opt for a manageable balance of work and home, rather than the all-night career-building madness we engage in in our 20s. If we had substance abuse problems, odds are, by now, we’ve gotten a grip one way or another, or aren’t around to talk about it.

Except when it comes to shoes. What is that about? Maybe it’s the denial of death thing I wrote about before. Or maybe it’s just that they’re so cute.


photo by Sacheverelle CC