Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend wear

Today, for the first time in a long time, when I got dressed in the morning I put on something other than jeans.

Being what's known as a curvy girl (although apparently in online datingland that is a euphemism for overweight, so I can't call myself that in a profile), jeans and I don't get along well.  Companies have been trying for years to make jeans that satisfy my kind.  Levi's is the most recent to try to tackle this. Well, they tried a year ago.  Has anyone seen any news of it since? These efforts always fail.  

They're also not that comfortable.  Heavy, rough cotton?  I never, ever travel in jeans -- who wants to sit on an airplane for hours with those heavy seams pressing on you?

What am I to do on weekends, when I refuse to wear pants I'd have to dry clean?  Skirts and dresses end up being too dressy (unless it's really warm and liberated legs are appropriate).  And are not necessarily appropriate to wear when you want to put your feet up.  Khakis are just jeans of a different color.

I've been sick in bed all week, so when I haven't been casual and wearing jeans I'm wearing ... let's call it loungewear. While it's far more comfortable than denim, it's not particularly esteem-building.

But, today, partially in the spirit of hiddur mitzvah, beautifying the mitzvah, I put on nice pants because it's Shabbat.  And, because of these nice pants, which are fairly long and which I would trip over in flat shoes, for the first time in over week I put on shoes with higher heels.

And suddenly ... I felt better.  Healthier.  I felt like myself.

A while ago, I dated a guy who was a lot larger than me.  This was unusual because I tend to be drawn to the shorter types, guys I can see eye-to-eye with.

So he was unusual.  He was an Other.  And, since he was an Other, I was the other Other.  And in that affirming Otherness (oh, go read Hegel already) I suddenly found myself wanting to wear particularly feminine clothes, especially high heels.

I don't normally wear much of a heel because I have been inclined to wear comfortable shoes. I love to walk, either quickly or for long distances or both, which you can't do in heels. During the period when I was playing hockey, every Monday I needed to be nice to my sore body, so that was another day I didn't wear heels.  And my knees were always hurting, and heels made it worse. So there was no reason to own them.

Now, of course, we have the trend of platform heels.  I love it.  The illusion of high heels without having to work as hard.

It was liberating to try out this new side of myself.  Zappos, as always, was my best friend.  A better friend than the guy, of course, but I kept the red patent leather platform heels.  With them, I discovered that required hip-swinging motion that is apparently so alluring in women who wear heels.  It's a requirement because you have to use your whole body to generate momentum because the soles of your feet are not on the ground.  I also learned how not to fall down the stairs -- again, a hip-swinging motion in order to ensure the heel clears the step you're stepping off of.  Kind of like a flutter kick in swimming.

I still haven't worn them outside.  Really, who am I kidding: I have bought their value in Dr. Scholl's gel inserts and still can't walk more than a few feet on hard surfaces with them.

Since then, partly do to the exigencies of pants length, I've purchased more reasonable heels, heels I can walk in, heels that don't require me to think about walking.

I know heels for women have been compared to Chinese foot-binding.  Both create a triangular foot shape; both reduce the length of a footstep and cause our steps to be mincing, thus increasing our vulnerability.

But in that moment this morning, of putting on clothes that were more comfortable and draped better than weekend jeans, of putting on heels and standing tall, I definitely felt more like myself. Call me regressive, but I do like to stand tall when I can also walk well.  My legs are pretty long; my stride is not terribly shortened.

Perhaps I'll just start wearing heels with jeans.

Monday update: I put the red patent leather platform heels on with my jeans.  It's the worse of both worlds: uncomfortable and immobilizing.  The height is fabulous: I'm four inches taller, and I love the perspective.  But they represent exactly why I used to not wear heels: with my mincing steps I don't feel like myself; I don't feel pretty or grounded or mobile.  These may end up being my indoor shoes, dress-up play shoes, like house slippers only sexier.  Good for getting things off high shelves.