My mother used to tell me that heels would ruin my posture. Or my knees. Or my back. Heels would definitely ruin something about me. And I liked the sound of that. It was like a dare, and I wanted to fly right into the face of danger. I wanted to jump off the side of cliff while wearing stilettos and chainsmoking Camels.
Heels will ruin you. Well, good.
The thing is, I was short. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be short. I was pretty sure I had a tall girl’s personality, and so I tried to goose nature, to grab a little more than what I was given. I wore four-inch heels to prom, and I felt like a towering goddess. It was like a different climate up there. I wore seven-inch glitter heels to my 32nd birthday, and I felt like: OK, this was how my body was supposed to be. I actually thought to myself: Is this what transgender people feel like when they wear clothing of the opposite sex? It was such a revelation: Like my outsides finally fit my insides.
But I’m old now, and heels have ruined my knees, or my posture, or something critical that creates creaking and sighing and crankiness. Whenever I wore heels in New York, I had to grip on to the stairwell railing with both hands like I was taking a short break from my Rascal. The agony. The terror.
I still wear heels (I still love heels), but when I see young women strutting down McKinney Avenue in wedges that look like giant cement blocks, or stilettos like skyscrapers, I think about what pain they must be in, and I wonder why they choose to endure it, as if there’s some rational reason, when I know from experience it’s merely strut and fun and bounce. And maybe glamour is all just a dare, just a dive off a cliff in stilettos: Screw y’all, I’m wearing this.
But I couldn’t stop watching women in Dallas wear heels – because they are very high, and very fancy – and I ended up with a story about how car culture and valets and parking garages influence the parade of beauty in this town. You can read it here.