High Heels

The doctor told me to wear flat shoes. Then she added that the orthotics recommended would only work in tackies or men’s shoes.

I gasped in horror.Related image

I mean sure, the ball of my left foot is agonisingly painful: a combination of having two digits longer than my ‘big’ toe and (and here’s the crunch – quite literally) wearing heels. Now the former condition proved quite successful in my ballet days – I always joked that being able to stand on three toes meant I was better ‘earthed’ than other dancers. (Having thighs better suited to sprinting, than leaping into the arms of fragile male dancers also contributed to my low centre of gravity, but that’s a whole other story); and I subscribe to the Coco Chanel school of beauty which requires one to keep one’s heels, head and standards high.  So how was I going to cope?

Now, unlike Victoria Beckham (or was it Theresa May?) who laments the ability to concentrate without heels, I can of course think in flats, but being a person of somewhat abridged height, I find heels give me that little bit of flair and ensure that  I feel invincible: as Shakepeare put it, ‘Though she be but little she is fierce’ and a little extra height makes me Dragon Woman.  And yeah yeah Daenerys goes kaalvoet, but we mere mortals need more of a boost.  Let’s face it, people walk differently in heels: I’m not speaking about teenagers teetering pigeon-toed in 10 cm heels like drunken storks. (One must practise, darlings!) I’m talking about that kick-ass class that only a woman in strappy sandals radiates. Manolo Blahnik says a woman in high heels ‘sways to a different tempo’ – well of course he would – he wants us to haul out our bloated credit cards and indulge in more extravagance … and we do so happily.

Mind you, I confess an elderly, fellow English teacher once called me into his class and, pointing at my shoes, declared witheringly, ‘Those are stilettos.’ Then he showed me the door – so his students grasped both what he meant and his opinion of the wearer … so I suppose you would be correct in assuming I probably deserve to have sore feet in my fifties. But like Ginger Rogers I do everything in high heels.

Image result for ginger rogers did everything fred astaire did backwards and in high heels

My husband and I visited Europe two years ago and if you’ve walked the streets of Paris and traversed the subways, you will know that such tourism is a bit of a route march. I strode those ways in heeled boots in the wake of my 6-ft-1 husband’s long strides. Sadly, my footwear purchased from Chez Chinese back in RSA, couldn’t keep up and I shed a heel during one of our ambles so I spent an amusing hour in a random bland Slovenian mall, trying on shoes. And bought a gorgeous pair of heeled boots again. I know – clearly I don’t learn. But I looked fabulous in the photographs.

On reflection, however, that extravagant flouting of sensible tourist garb may have led to my present orthopedic  problems. And I suppose striding across the acres of airport terminals on business trips in my tres elegant corporate attire, not to mention years of teaching in heels have given me Shrek-feet …

So I determined to wear flats and pumps to school because, damnit the power of my personality could handle it! I submitted my flouncing fashion to practicality and went for (heaven-forbid) the ‘sensible’ shoe. I’m embarrassed to say that Green Cross was mentioned more than Aldo. And within a week I was depressed as well as sore.

Now I have returned to my ‘suffer for beauty’ ways, not because I want to be beautiful so much as I need the lift – literally. I had shloomfed around in my pretty flat sandals like an old vrou in house slippers. I know that my authority and drive do not come from what is encompassing my odd shaped tootsies, but hell I hated being lowly. So today I wore my high heels (they’re only 2″) and the world was … well … at my feet.

When I am old and really crippled I’ll buy an elegant cane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Read to know; not right to know.

Image result for the right to know celebrity privacyAuthorship:

The ‘unmasking’ of author Elena Ferrante’s, who has been writing under a nom de plume since 1991 begs the question of the ‘whether the public has a ‘right to know’ as the journalist who set about discovering her identity claims, and calls into question the cult of the celebrity as well.

I write autobiographically and I use my own name and those of my family members liberally. That is my choice. I’d love to say that I have stretched the truth about what goes on inside our home, but seriously you couldn’t make this stuff up. It does restrict me as a writer somewhat because I have to remember I have a public persona at school and one doesn’t want to reveal too much dirty laundry, especially the teenage boys’, but knowing my name doesn’t mean my audience owns me or has a right to pry into my mail.

I invite the reader into the bedlam that exists around us for the vicarious enjoyment of other war-torn parents not quite coping with the tumult of raising a family, in order to make others look anew at their lives and think, ‘Thank God I am not as bad as Colleen.’ I don’t mind if unknowns ‘know me,’ (It’s hard to hide when you drive a large, noticeable bus around town with 4 ?/2 redheads) but I am certainly not inviting Joe and Julie Public and their awful kids to picnic on our lawn (It’s full of prickly weeds and windblown pollen from the neighbour’s tree, which is guaranteed to irritate your allergies anyway).

I do not have the talent to create worlds and characters as a creator of fiction might. Elena Ferrante does. I do not have the desire to keep my name unknown. Elena Ferrante does. That is surely her right. If you buy her books and enter her world, you have not bought her. Your relationship is with her characters only. While you may be intrigued by the mystery behind her anonymity you do not own her or her personal story, because her personal story is not what she is selling. The public does not have a right to know.

I’m reading Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare at the moment. If I have learnt anything from it, along with my years of English teaching, it is that we don’t know much about old Willem Wikkelspies. Personally I think Marlowe wrote all that stuff, but that’s another story, which serves only to irritate Shakespeare’s purists who can’t prove he did because we don’t know anything about him. The art must speak for itself whoever wrote it and it does. That is what has made his work so durable. The characters tell the human story no matter who put quill to paper.

Actors and even reality television entertainers are entitled to privacy. They participate in a film or programme and after that we do not own them. We pay to watch a film, not to know that Brad Pitt may or may not have been drunk on a plane or that some emaciated Survivor star is bonking an Idols finalist. Unlike the royals who frankly are owned by their nations (yet still are entitled to tan topless in the peace of their homes), celebrities are private citizens. I don’t want to know the details of Kim Kardashian’s ordeal during a robbery, despite having been invited into her onscreen world (and gracefully declining). In fact that robbery is perhaps an extreme result of some folk thinking they even have a right to the possessions of famous people. Not even the trashy Osbournes want you to or let you see everything.

This is not about censoring the right to know what our governments are doing or the l’art pour l’art view, because for me, all art clearly comes out of and is part of a moral and historical framework. But, unless a novel is written by a criminal who is profiteering from his crime or a politician who should be spending the time in office serving the people not selling books to them, I say we should leave the jolly author alone!

However, you are welcome to send me money and flowers. Then I’ll show you my new toenail polish if you like. The girls say it’s ‘a bit bright, you know!’