Do you sell oxygen with these? The joy of high heels

After two years of agonizing pain, making every step exhausting, I have a new hip.

Time for high heels!

In the past few weeks, in an unprecedented spree, I’ve bought two pairs, one of which my husband urged me to do, one of them so high I asked the befuddled sales associate if they came with oxygen. The altitude…

I was never much ofย  a high heels sort of girl.

It wasn’t because I’m a feminist.

It’s because I’m a journalist, lived downtown alone in large cities for many years and have often traveled solo in some funky places — i.e. I wore flats so I could walk long distances and run fast, safely, when necessary.

Yes, a stiletto heel makes a nice weapon, but I never wanted any miscreant to get that close in the first place.

When you work as a news reporter, every day offers some fresh new hell interesting challenge as you’re sent off to cover whatever the editor thinks important, and in all kinds of weather. It’s not a job for gals whose wardrobes restrict them physically, or whose idea of outdoor activity — as American humorist Fran Lebowitz once joked — is stepping from the taxi into the restaurant.

Stories I’ve covered included:

— a bloody car wreck where everyone died in a head-on collision with a city bus. This meant running up a wet, snowy and muddy hill to reach the site

— racing to beat the press pack across a convention center hall to reach the Prime Minister after a speech

— squatting on the wet, slippery, bucking deck of an America’s Cup boat to interview crew members

— heading into the midtown Manhattan offices of a shady “baby nurse” firm for a quote, fully expecting to be yelled at, possibly hit, and needing to sprint back to safety

You get the idea.

Not only do serious reporters need to run/squat/climb things, we need to beat the competition.ย  Not that anyone really working it would show up in Louboutins, but knowing I could book it was comforting. On several occasions — back when the earth was cooling (the 1980s), before the Internet and cellphones — I had to locate, commandeer and race to the nearest pay phone before anyone else in the press pack.

(Watch a few 1940s movies to see what I’m talking about.)

It was no time for heels.

The week I got re-married, last September, a tad anxious as most brides are, I did what tends to soothe me at times of stress — buy shoes. I treated myself to my first-ever, full-price pair of Manolo Blahniks, burgundy sling-backs to wear with my (non-white) wedding dress.

Damned if I was going to head back into matrimony in boring old flats. Nope, this was a day for gorgeous, sexy heels. One of my favorite photos of that day is my Dad and the minister, each steadying me, as I slip into them before gliding down the aisle.

I was blond then!

Here’s a recent blog post featured on Freshly Pressed, about whether you can be a feminist and wear high heels.
How many of you dig high heels?

30 thoughts on “Do you sell oxygen with these? The joy of high heels

  1. Wouldn’t be caught dead in them. The last time I wore anything with a heel was when I was in choir and had black “character” shoes with a lower heel. I’ve never found any shoes that had a higher heel than those that fit, but they’re so bad for you I’d never even consider it now. Shoes say a lot about you. I’m a Birkenstock girl (an Earth shoe graduate). If I had money I’d just buy new Birkenstocks.

    1. They are indeed a signifier! I have a pair of great summer sandals with a Birkenstockian sole and I live in them. The minister who married us wore them and it made me like him immediately…

      I now do a fair bit of public speaking and events (for Malled) and I like to be able to dress up. I live in such casual clothes normally that it’s a special treat to get gussied, not a daily obligation.

  2. There’s nothing quite like dressing up with a pair of spiky heeled shoes (nor the agony after a couple of hours standing around in them, or dancing!!!). I can’t throw them away – especially the stepping’ out booties – but I’ve noticed the heels are getting flatter as the years go by!

      1. i didn’t know that, but can see how it would – our long suffering feet get way too much exercise of the downward sort!

        i didn’t tell you how much I enjoyed your headline – made me laugh.

  3. I dearly love this post. You remarried in September? I remarried in October. I bought heather grey heels for occasion, the highest altitude I’ve climbed in years. My feet hurt the entire day. My husband and I danced in my friend’s backyard while someone sang “At Last.” My heels got stuck in the mud and we just sort of clung to each other and swayed. It was the most fantastic day.

    “Do you sell oxygen with these?” Hilarious!

    1. It was a good year to re-marry!

      One of my favorite images of my wedding day — which totally sums me up — is walking from the church vestry back to the entrance for my processional. It’s a church on an island in a park so as we walk through the grass I’m barefoot, dangling my Manolos from one hand. That’s me in every way….barefoot in the grass, sexy cool shoes.

  4. This is a great post! I love high heels. Stiletto, wedges, boots, all but the triple platforms. In my mind I’m a 6′ tall amazon, the heels get me halfway there. Almost. But, I also love my Birkenstocks.

  5. You’re absolutely right, though: Sometimes nothing but a pair of killer heels will do. I’m in flats almost all the time and have some fabulous sparkly flat sandals, but every now and then…

  6. Bleecker Street Thyme

    Having recently purchased a pair of 160cm high louboutins, I am eternally thankful that I have zero dear of heights. I wrote my own ode to my favorite shoes here:

    Life in flats may be practical (after all, kids run fast, sidewalks have cracks, and men don’t love to carry their girlfriends home at the end of the night!) but I’ll always be a heels gal.

  7. Denise

    There’s nothing quite like a sleek high heel to feel powerful and confident in the office setting. I mean strut into the boss’s office and ask for a raise and get it confidence. It’s great! But I’ve had to stop wearing the heels because getting to/from the office is quite the challenge on foot not to mention the exercise walk I try to accomplish during my lunch hour. And so, I’m one of ‘those’ ladies – it’s commuter’s sneakers for me because I love my feet and hope to use them for a long long time. I do stash a pair of “sensible heels” in a drawer in my office desk but I have to admit they rarely come out. Flats are just too practicle and keep me from having to change shoes 4 times a workday, because, lets face it – that’s just too much work!

  8. pcpb

    I used to enjoy wearing heels, but I haven’t worn them for years – I can’t stand the pain and no longer care about looking or feeling sexy. How sad is that?! Maybe it’s time I bought a pair of silly shoes to wear for fun – I need to lighten up a bit…

    On the subject of wearing flats for practical reasons, it always amuses me to see “action” women in TV and film action dramas teetering about in the spindliest of high heels! In real life you ain’t gonna outrun the bad guys wearing high-heeled sandals ๐Ÿ˜† .

  9. I love heels, but I always explain to people when they ask me why I don’t wear them more often….”Heels are meant for eating. That includes door to door service and a majority of an event spent sitting.”

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