This started out to be a piece called “Why High Heels Should be Banned,” but titles are tricky and it’s important to get a good one. So I thought about what I really wanted to address with this post. And while I would sort-of like high heels to be banned, I decided that even more than that, I wanted to complain. And if it serves as a cautionary tale to anyone to not wear high heels that would be a bonus. Actually, if anyone other than me reads this it will be a bonus.
So, I’d like to start by saying that ageing sucks. But, given the alternative I’ve had to refine that sentiment, because ageing does not suck as much as death, in the vast majority of instances. So what I actually mean is that many of the changes that happen to our bodies as we age suck. And the funny thing is, you think you know about getting old. But there are all these little things that start happening that no one ever mentions. Until now. So, here are some under-reported problems of ageing:
Everyone knows your eyesight gets worse. Especially close up vision. We all know about “cheaters” (The glasses, not the rotten spouses. If you know firsthand about them, sorry. But I digress.) What I didn’t realize is that you also need more light to see as you age. I first noticed this while driving at night. And I was so clueless about it being an effect of ageing I actually took my car in to the shop and told them there was something wrong with my car’s headlights. The mechanic said, “Oh we’ll just re-aim them. Sometimes headlights need to be adjusted after a while.” And I thought, “Good. That’s sorted.” But when I picked up the car the young mechanic seemed puzzled when he told me there was nothing wrong with the lights.
And where do I start with hair? My friend LuAnn, who is an amazing writer (that’s amazing in a good way) wrote a brilliant essay on ageing and hair, so if I’ve stolen any of this from her I apologize, but it’s not on purpose. It’s because another of the many delights of ageing is that your memory gets faulty. Ok, with that said, grey hair wasn’t ever an issue for me. I always knew it was my destiny. Both my grandmas had gorgeous white hair, and I found my first grey strand at age eighteen. Yes, that’s right, eighteen. How would you like to be a freshman in college and find that? It might or might not have driven me to drink. But by now I have accepted that grey roots are my lot in life (cause I haven’t completely resigned myself to grey hair, yet). What I didn’t realize is that grey hair is insane, and even color can’t cover that crazy. It boinks up randomly, defying the laws of gravity. (Think of the Albert Einstein posters. He wasn’t a careless groomer, that’s just how grey hair behaves.)
Another thing I didn’t realize about ageing hair, or rather one’s hair as one ages, because hair itself is dead. (Don’t think about that too much, or it becomes a bit disturbing.) Anyway, what I didn’t know was that my hair would get thin. Even my eyebrow and eyelash hairs. Really God? Really? Eyebrows? I spent so much time and energy in my teens and 20’s trying to restrain my eyebrows. Now I’m painting them in because they have become so sparse and light. Or have migrated to my chin.
And as if that wasn’t enough, now my toes have betrayed me. (Yes, I’m finally getting to that.) Or maybe I betrayed my feet by wearing pointy-toed high heels when I was young and foolish(er). Honestly, I know those kind of shoes make women’s legs and butts look better. I understand that. And believe me, my legs and butt can use all the help they can get. That’s why I propose heels be made illegal, so no one has an unfair advantage. I mean, let’s face it, a boycott would never work. Most women would break the ban to temporarily impress some loser guy she didn’t even know in exchange for years of debilitating foot pain. Totally worth it, right? It makes no sense. We have:
-Super-models and singers falling off their shoes on stage
-You and I twisting ankles, tearing ligaments and not able to keep up with our male counterparts who stride obliviously on in flat-footed comfort
-Business women, and others who have to get stuff done, pack and carry around extra shoes they can actually walk in.
-Women over 35 or 40 hobbling around on ruined feet, with toes twisted and malformed and Achilles tendons shortened to the point where they can no longer wear flat shoes comfortably either
-Global climate change (ok, maybe that’s not the fault of high heels, but I always like to add it to lists of things that upset me)
-Women on tv news and talk shows, sitting with their stilt-shoes, talking about equality, when they can’t even walk down the block or run from a fire.
And what about all those dumb women in horror films who can’t escape the sensible-shoe-wearing hatchet murderers? I suspect one day anthropologists will dig up evidence of our society and honestly not understand what was going with all the bathroom debates and Kardashians and reality tv shows. And they will wonder what type of society tortures its female population by forcing their feet into these pointy, stilted devices.
Anyway, back to my traitorous toes. I don’t have gross, thick, yellow toenails – yet; still looking forward to that. But recently the second and third toes on my right foot are starting to act like annoying, middle school girls. They are staying as far away each other as possible and instead making bffs with the toes on the opposite sides. Besides looking weird and twisted it also hurts. So, I looked on the internet, asked friends, bought 13 different types of foot and/or toe pads at the drug store and finally asked my doctor about it when I was in for a totally unrelated reason. She knew exactly what to do. Make an appointment with the podiatrist.
When I got there, the first thing he told me he wouldn’t judge me for wearing flip-flops. I was a little bit put off by this, because I was wearing good flip-flops, the ones with a little arch and lots of cushion. I seriously considered giving him my rant on high heels, but decided to hold off for now. After all, he might be charging by the hour. So, after a brief examination he concurred with google. I had the beginnings of hammer toes. His treatment consisted of giving me a type of toe/foot cushion that wasn’t carried by the drug store, and told me I would eventually, probably need surgery. But not until the balloon payment on his yacht was due. Ok, maybe I made up that last part. So, I went home with my new toe/foot pad and it helped, sort of. Then the following week I got his bill for $17,541.23, or something like that. Because the health insurance industry in America is the devil.
But that’s another rant for another day.