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Angry Feet (Don't Wanna Be A Player No More)

I'll be the first to admit it:  I buy shoes the same way I used to date in the '90's.

In the '90's, after Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I had broken up for the second time, I started dating for the first time since 1982.  I was attracted to the same qualities in men then that I tend to be attracted to in shoes now:  Cute, unsupportive, and ultimately harmful to my well-being.  Back then, I'd date a good-looking brother who could talk a good game and look good on my arm at events, even if he was unsupportive of me and harmful to my psyche.  I dated guys who looked good but weren't good for me.  And I kept repeating the cycle, like some kind of psycho player.

I also used to wear killer shoes back then, and I mean killer -- high-heeled pumps and my favorite, pointed-toe slingback heels, my drug of choice.  I wore killer shoes so much that I had a doctor tell me I had to stop wearing heels every day or risk damaging the tendons in my calves.  I was prescribed flats.  It was an ugly time in my life.  Literally.

Fast forward to today, and I've settled down with BMNB, who has all the qualities I should be able to find together in a shoe but can't:  Cute, supportive, and comfortable.  Somehow, comfort and cuteness are mutually exclusive in women's shoes.  But now I'm older, and my feet are angry, angry at me specifically, because I keep wearing shoes that are the equivalent of my '90's dating criteria -- cute, unsupportive, and ultimately harmful to my well-being.  The pinched toe box of pointed-toe shoes has done damage to my feet, and to add to the mix, I now have plantar fasciitis, which means I shouldn't wear flats or any shoe that doesn't have a substantial arch support.  I wear shoes that are so cute and painful that I can barely make it from the parking lot to my office building without limping.  I keep a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of flats -- which I shouldn't wear -- at the office and wear the cute shoes only to meetings. I dare not walk far in the cute shoes.  But damn, they sure do look good.

And my feet are angry and in pain.  What's a shoe girl to do?

Well, my middle sister, who is also a shoe fiend with plantar fasciitis, told me that my choices pretty much come down to  Clark's.  My doctor, who laughed at me when I told her I was having foot pain at the same time she saw that I was wearing a pair of brown suede -- you guessed it -- pointed-toe slingback heels, told me, "I pretty much gave up on wearing cute shoes a long time ago."  When I looked down at her shoes, a pair of black Clark's Mary Jane flats, I pretty much agreed.  Ugh.

Today, after looking at Clark's, Hush Puppies, Softt pumps and Bjorn clogs, I broke down and bought the shoe equivalent of an ugly but good man -- a pair of Aerosoles with a stubby heel and a rounded toe box.  They look like Minnie Mouse's shoes.  They're not sexy, and they know it.  I know it, too. Ugh.

But just like I stopped running through cute men who weren't good for me, perhaps I need to stop running through cute shoes that aren't good for me.  When it comes to shoes, to borrow a turn of phrase from the late Big Pun, I don't wanna be a player no more.  It's more important to have shoes that are comfortable and supportive, even if they aren't cute, then to continue to harm my feet with numerous cute shoes that hurt.  I'm not going to lie, though -- I did throw in a pair of tan snakeskin Circa Joan and David pointed-toe kitten-heel slingbacks that were on sale.  They didn't hurt.  Yet.

I'm still looking for the shoe equivalent of BMNB -- cute, supportive, and comfortable.  I don't think I'm going to find it, though.


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