There I was last week, minding my own business in a Winners store, when suddenly I heard the siren song of the shoe section. I wasn’t looking for shoes… really! And yet finding that for once they had a great selection in my size, I just had to try them on! And you have to understand that, since the ottoman incident, I’ve only been able to wear these comfy shoes, pictured. First the flip flops, and then more recently graduating to the slip-ons. The swelling has now died down enough that at least I can try nice shoes on, if not actually wear them yet. (Yes, I know… definitely a first-world problem.)
My husband seems to think I have too many shoes, but is that possible, really? And don’t I need shoes for every mood and occasion? You’ll notice that when something I like actually fits (which is rare), I usually buy it in two colours! Some of my favourites that I wear for work or for events are:
What is it about finding and wearing nice boots or shoes that makes me feel so good? For it’s really about how they make me feel — confident and well-presented — not how they look to anyone else. (Even if right now I can’t wear them!) And if I got them at a bargain, so much the better!
Thinking about this had me re-watching one of my favourite book-to-film adaptations, In Her Shoes. The movie, scripted by Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich), is based on the book by the same name by Jennifer Weiner. I love Weiner’s books, which are filled with realistic characters and dialogue as she explores women’s lives.
In Her Shoes looks at two sisters who were motherless from a young age and who both suffer from self-esteem issues. Toni Collette plays elder sister Rose, who is a smart successful lawyer but sees herself as fat and unattractive. (Collette gained 25 pounds for the role.) Cameron Diaz plays Maggie, a party-girl who relies on her good looks to get her through life, having always felt stupid due to her struggle with reading. The movie (and the book) explore(s) the bonds of sisterhood and the different roles family members play in traumatic past events, as well as the limits of forgiveness, after Maggie does something seemingly unforgivable to get back at Rose.
The actors are skillfully directed by Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, LA Confidential) to emotionally realistic performances, where they are not afraid to look ugly in the throes of strong emotion. Shirley MacLaine delivers an understated turn as the sisters’ emotionally constrained long-lost grandmother. This is a women-centric movie, with the male characters serving mainly to point the women towards recognizing their own self-worth, mending their relationships, and coming to understand what it is to be “in her shoes”. (Not quite Manic Pixie Dream Guy, but more Quiet Insightful Support Person, particularly Mark Feuerstein as the man who admires Rose.)
To me, the movie is more a drama than a comedy, although there are certainly a lot of funny moments in it. Particularly cute and funny are the scenes at the grandmother’s retirement community, where all the extras are actually played by the elderly residents! And priceless are the scenes where the sisters are mimicking the way that their step-mother Sydelle brags about her daughter, “My Marcia”. I do really love this movie, which always leaves me with a good feeling at the end.
What does this have to do with shoes? Well, the sisters share a love for beautiful (and very high-heeled) shoes, with Rose’s closet providing a centrepiece for many of the early scenes. (Of course, I could never balance my body or my cheque book if I wore any of these!)
Maggie [looking at Rose’s collection of high heels]: “Shoes like these should not be locked in a closet! They should be living a life of scandal, and passion, and getting screwed in an alleyway by a billionaire while his frigid wife waits in the limo thinking that he just went back into the bar to get his cellphone. These are cute too.”
Rose: “Please tell me you just made that up.”
Maggie: “Look, if you’re not going to wear them… don’t buy them! Leave them for someone who’s going to get something out of them.”
Rose: “I get something out of them! When I feel bad I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good… food just makes me fatter… shoes always fit.”
So, back to my shopping trip… I persevered with trying on the shoes, despite the “pain and suffering” of cramming a not-quite-healed toe into tight boots. I cleared out my shoe rack of the really worn out boots, to make way for the new… and this is what I bought. I love the black boots with the studs (although will the Vancouver rain get in over the low sides?). And the beige boots are really comfortable. The runners are actually men’s shoes, but they fit really well and look great with jeans. Frivolous? Yes. But they make me feel good and I can’t wait until I can actually wear them!