Design should never say, “Look at me.” It should always say, “Look at this.”
– David Craib
So me and some of the guys were standing around the loading dock the other day, taking a break from work and the sun, when a woman walked past and our conversation stopped.
She was professionally dressed. All business.
But she was wearing the highest-heeled shoes I have ever seen this side of a Kiss concert.
(They were really, really high.)
The fact that a person could walk reasonably well in such footwear was a testament to both innate agility and strong ankles.
After she turned the corner, I asked Tommy, “Is that the style now?”
He shrugged and I sort of shrugged back because we are both men and, as card-carrying members of our gender, we freely admit we don’t understand women and their shoes.
Smarter people than me have tried to figure it out.
Psychology Today magazine reported that researchers around the world are reviewing the fascination women have for footwear. They have done things like look for deeper meaning in the old fairy tale Cinderella and how its female heroine prevails through her connection to a magic slipper.
They have noted a study undertaken at Wroclaw University in Poland, which suggested that women like wearing heels because it makes them feel both taller (i.e., more powerful) and slimmer.
But why do women have so many shoes?
Well, the researchers are shrugging like guys on a loading dock.
A 2007 survey found the average woman has 19 pair in her closet, although she probably only wears four of those on a regular basis.
The average man has what … five?
It is a gender gap that has often prompted me to ask my wife, “Why do you have so many shoes?”
She answers, “Why do you have so many ball caps?”
OK, good point.
The answer is I have no idea about the caps, just like I have no idea about women’s shoes.
Now I am not inexperienced in this realm. One of the two dozen jobs I had in college was as a salesman in a women’s shoe store. I was not successful in this endeavor as it involved both patience and tact, two things denied me at birth.
Once I had fitted a woman for a style she liked and asked if she could walk around to see how they felt.
“You left the shoehorn in,” she said sharply.
“Added support,” I smirked.
Another time a woman lumbered up with a pair of pumps and said she would “like these in 5.”
“I bet you would,” I thought to myself. But when I went back to the storeroom I got them in 8s, having learned it often saves time to get people what they need instead of what they want.
Because what women seem to want are shoes.
A guy with 112 baseball caps would know.