Around here, Sunday mornings are for re-living the past. Not in a Shirley Maclaine past-life kind of way, where we talk about cleaning King Henry’s chamber pots or being a samurai who hated sushi. No, we’re talking about Flashback Sunday, when we dig into the archives and pull random newspaper columns or posts from the distant past, back when the followers of this blog could all fit at our breakfast table. And did each morning before school. (Warning: This week’s Flashback includes strong graphic elements, such as the accompanying image of my actual legs in high heels…)In preparation for October’s “Walk in My Heels” event, in which men wear high heels to show support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, my wife talked me into going with her to a fancy shoe store to look for size-12 heels. As I expected, it wasn’t long before women were falling all over me.
That’s because they were all trying on high heeled shoes, some of which were so towering that a special negotiator had to be called in to talk them down. These women apparently loved high heels so much that, once they discovered they couldn’t afford them, chose to end it all by unstrapping their Stilettos and leaping headfirst into the bargain table.
I observed all of this knowing full well that if the heel were on the other foot, men, given a choice, would rather have themselves hobbled. The reason is simple: Men are physically incapable of walking in high heels without looking like a poodle balancing on its hind legs for a piece of cheese. We just don’t possess that special gene that women have, which allows them to stride down the street in high heels with leggy confidence. And let’s face it. Even if we did have it, chances are we’d still walk — with leggy confidence — directly into a post.
I am now going to reveal something about myself that could mean the end of my career. Or, at the very least, the end of my wife’s willingness to share a closet with me. You see, in order to prepare for writing this —
I dressed a poodle in high heels.
No. I tried wearing a pair of my wife’s high heels. And let me just clarify that it did not include any type of accessorizing, unless you count the scarf, which was used to stop my nose from bleeding after I tripped headfirst into the coffee table. For obvious reasons, no one was home when I attempted this, which is to say that I risked my life for this column. One minute, I was making my way along the wall toward an arm of the couch (and feeling pretty good about the way my calves looked). The next minute, WHAM! My ankles were touching the floor and I was trying to remember the number for 9-1-1.
Don’t judge me. I was a journalist in high heels putting himself in harm’s way in order to bring you the truth. God only knows what would’ve happened if the dog hadn’t broken my fall.
The irony in all this is that men were actually the first to wear high heeled shoes. That’s right. An Egyptian inventor devised them as a way for butchers to elevate themselves off the messy stall floors. This practice of wearing heels lasted approximately 11 minutes, after which the chief butcher to the Pharaoh awarded the inventor his very own pyramid chamber, which he was immediately sealed into.
Eventually, high heeled shoes resurfaced again in the 1600s, when the French used them as a way to elevate themselves above anyone who wasn’t French. Ha! Just kidding! They didn’t need special shoes for that. However, fashion-minded women in France did hobble around on 40-inch heels, often using long sticks to balance themselves. This helped established Paris as THE fashion Mecca, and more importantly to travelers, as a place where crowded streets could be cleared easily using a single bowling ball.
Just like a pair of Stiletto heels, there is a point to all this, which is that men should be extremely thankful for all the sacrifices women make in order to look and feel more attractive for the men in their lives.
Especially since they can do it without breaking the coffee table.
(Ned is a syndicated humor columnist for News Media Corporation. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)