Reaching for the cosmopolitan skies

Charlotte: I have the most terrible fear of heights!
Carrie: Well, I don’t; you’ve seen my shoes.

– Sex & the City –

Sometimes I hate listening to the radio, especially when I channel-surf and all six stations on the program panel are filled with incessant chatter, whether from commercials or the mindless banter. These days I only really listen out for the traffic reports, news, and RHB commercials and time capsules on MixFM because I proofread them before they’re recorded and I have to make sure they get them right. In between all that I range from channel-surfing to turning off the radio completely when it all gets too irritating.

As I was going from station to station this morning, I paused at FlyFM’s Pagi Show — which is one of the segments I can’t stand, primarily because Nadia sounds as if she has a clothespin on her nose and her mouth is stapled at the corners and she can’t open it enough to speak — just in time to hear either Ben or Fabes (couldn’t tell the difference) say, “Do women wear heels to make themselves as tall as their men?”

Right off the bat I can say there isn’t a single woman I know who wears heels simply to elevate herself to the height of her man. She may wear them so that she at least reaches his shoulder and won’t be mistaken for his toddler daughter, but not to deliberately dwarf him. Then one of the deejays — Ben or Fabes — said that women would not wear heels to make themselves as tall as or taller than their men because they like to look up to them — physically, not in a hero-worship manner — an action which gives them a sense of security.

I’m not sure how true that is though, at least as far as I’m concerned anyway. In all my born days I’ve come in contact with men who ranged from being able to prop their chins up on my head, to making me feel extremely uncomfortable and somewhat violated because they didn’t have to look too far down to peek at the girls, and the level of security did not vary much between the heights. In fact, the closest I’ve ever come to feeling ‘secure’ with a man stood at eye level when I was in heels, and it had absolutely nothing to do with his height.

There’s no denying that in recent years, women have spurred themselves on to greater heights — literally — and made themselves traipse out in shoes of alarming heights, regardless of how much pain and discomfort their feet are in. The Sex & the City phenomenon did nothing to quash that trend either; if anything fans aspired to be their own Carrie Bradshaws and invested in higher and outrageously-priced stilettos. As I was already in heels, I picked up on the latter feature, although contrary to popular belief, I really don’t have that many pairs of designer shoes, and I’ve always tried to make sure my shoes are comfortable.

After spending the last ten years in heels, I know that I wear them because I consider myself short at 5’4″, and I know that pretty shoes look prettier in feet that can carry them off without tripping — and also because whatever calf muscles I built from ballet, gymnastics and track-and-field work that didn’t go soft were well-maintained in my shoes. Apparently it’s a habit that I need to break, and even urban myths and an admission from the woman herself aren’t justification enough to spend about 15 hours a day, five days a week, in four inches. My mother has threatened me with broken ankles and a damaged spine, but I’ve only been able to bring myself to spend the weekends (nights out notwithstanding) in flats.

Maybe one day, twenty years in the making, I will reduce myself to 1.5 inches. Until then, I will comfort myself in the fact that this has never happened to me:

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