Worse – Almost — Than Trying on Swim Suits by Sharon O’Donnell
I’m a creature of habit. I get used to wearing certain things (jeans, comfortable shoes that aren’t particularly stylish, and shirts that you just let hang rather than tuck in). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that my practical side is winning over my adventurous one in too many aspects of my life. There was a time last month, that my husband and I had planned to meet one of my college friends and her husband at a nightclub to dance to a popular local band. The band didn’t start playing until 10:30. By 7:00 that night, I’d lost all desire to go dancing even though I’d been looking forward to it: it was cold outside, I was tired, I’d already scratched my dry eyes and had smeared my mascara that I’d have to reapply. I didn’t feel like going. Neither did my husband. So we ended up staying home.
Being a creature of habit sometimes needs some shaking up. I had seen women wearing those long boots over their jeans and even with dresses, and I loved the way they looked. But on me?? I couldn’t see it. Yet, this week I found myself in a local store trying on various kinds of boots in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone a bit and try a new look. I tried on five pair of boots, not sure what color I’d want — black or brown — or the style. I did know I wanted some heel. I rarely wear anything with heels because 1. I’m already 5 feet 10 and 2. heels make my feet hurt, especially the bunion on my left foot that I’d bought special but clunky shoes for at a shoe specialty store. I reasoned that if I wore the boots, it would not be in one of those situations — like teaching writing — in which I’d have to be on my feet a lot. It’d probably be more of a social occasion — if indeed my husband and I could ever make it out somewhere. And so I wanted heels. Not the tall really skinny kind, but the medium thick heeled ones; I want to change things up again but I am still sane enough to know that those tall skinny heels would be recipe for disaster in more than one way — think falling down in front of others or aggravating back problems.
But there were some styles of boots I could not even get my foot in! I was too embarrassed to ask a salesperson, so I’d just put those back in the box and move on to another pair. I don’t think my foot is shaped quite right or something because it doesn’t bend where it should when trying on some of these boots. Then there were those that zipped all the way up the sides. Sure, I could get those on — no problem — but getting them zipped back up when I got to my calves was another story. Note to self – ride the exercise bike to lose an inch or two in my legs. Another thing to add to my list of things I needed to do. I felt like one of the women in Cinderella, desperately trying to fit my foot into the beautiful shoes. After I failed to zip them up, I’d glance quickly around to make sure nobody had been watching my failed attempts. Who wears these things anyway??? My experience was oddly similar to my memories of trying on swim suits — back before I’d settled on one with a skirt and said to heck with it. I hadn’t known trying on boots would be this detrimental to my self-esteem. Boots are the new swimsuits. Damn.
I did finally find a pair that fit and was comfortable — relatively comfortable anyway. And it looked okay but not quite the young women I’d seen looking so fashionable and sexy in their long, tall boots. With my jeans stuffed into the top of the boots, I looked more like my late 1960s heart throb Bobby Sherman when he played the role of Jeremy Bolt on the TV show Here Come the Brides. He was a lumberjack, and I kind of had a lumberjack look. If I put on a plaid shirt and put an ax over my shoulder, it would make a pretty good Halloween costume. I must have stood looking in the mirror at the boots for about 20 minutes, turning this way and that, trying to decide whether or not to spend the money. I liked the brown ones better, but I wear more black, so black would be more practical. Then the sales lady said she bought a pair of brown ones just like those last year, and she loved them. She might have been telling me that just to get me out of the store. I don’t know. But it worked. I bought the boots — the brown ones. At least I could get them on and off, which had become, sadly, my main criterion for selecting boots. When I told the sales person I felt strange in the boots, she assured me that it was only because I had to get used to it if I hadn’t worn boots with tucked in pants before. The whole creature of habit thing haunting me again.
The boots are still in the box in my car because I expect I’ll wind up taking them back. Even though they were on sale for $49 (usually $100), I don’t feel like I’ll wear them enough to justify the cost. I wanted boots but not the lumberjack effect. I’d love to hear from you ladies who wear the long boots and the styles you wear them with — tights with dresses? Dress pants?? I just don’t know.