Last Tuesday, Larry and I drove to Brunswick for a doctor’s appointment. Despite the fact that the calendar says Spring is here, the temperatures were nippy and the wind blustery. We were nearly to the car when a blast of icy wind stopped us cold. We decided we’d better run back in for coats—just in case. Arriving a tad early for the appointment, we parked on a side street downtown and settled in to wait. Larry pulled out his ubiquitous novel and started to read.
The clock in the car said 11:50. Lunchtime.
To my left a lady emerged from an office and headed across the street toward Hannah’s Café. She wore a coat, which she gripped against the wind, leaning into the powerful blasts to keep her balance. Her high heels were working against her progress. By the time she crossed the street, she was limping. She disappeared into the café but soon returned carrying a bag. The return trip on those stilted heels appeared even more painful.
I sat and watched as several professional women made the same trip. Apparently Hannah’s Café serves superb lunches, good enough to entice those poor women across that broad street in such bad weather. Clothes proclaim whether a woman is professional or not. Suits, dresses, skirts, slacks, etc, along with those impossible shoes tell the tale.
“Larry, look at that poor woman struggling across the street in her high heels,” I said, nudging him to pull his attention away from Clive Cussler for a minute.
We watched her struggle for a few minutes, more with her high heels than with the wind.
“Why would any woman torture herself like that?” he asked.
“Well, because society tells us from birth that high heels are sexy and make us look beautiful,” I said. “However, if these women could sit in this car and watch themselves, I’m fairly sure they’d agree that more practical shoes would be better, at least for today.”
He went back to his book, and my mind went galloping away with this idea of society’s demands on us. Men wear ties and complain about them. I see men tugging at them, constantly adjusting, and pulling them off at first opportunity. Several professional men I know keep ties in their pockets for emergencies.
And then, ladies, let us consider for a minute that tortuous garment--the panty hose. I use that word on purpose. It means twisting, meandering, convoluted, and I can assure you that after you wear a pair of panty hose all day, they have twisted and meandered away from their original morning position. The first school system I worked for required ladies to wear panty hose and heels. That rule didn’t last very long. Women teachers were threatening to sue. Panty hose are itchy, one size certainly doesn’t fit all, and I’m not even sure that any size fits any body. Perhaps my height is the problem, but I’ve never really found panty hose that fit me right. I am nearly 6’ tall, far taller than the average woman. That created a problem with heels for me, too, back when I wanted to wear them. Even in flats, I towered above everyone else; why on earth would I want to don a pair of high heels, even if walking in them were comfortable?
If we listen to the dictates of society about our fashions, chances are pretty good that we’ll be miserable. Look at women’s dress clothes, for example. They are made for looks, not for comfort. In the wintertime, we freeze or wear heavy coats. In the summer, well, never mind—there’s no such thing as comfort in Georgia in the summertime. But I hear people complaining all the time about dressing up. Does any one actually like dress clothes?
My whole life I’ve been told that wisdom comes with age, and I really think that in this case, it’s true. Older people dress for comfort. We’ve learned to do so through years of torture. Too bad we couldn’t learn before we ruined our feet.