At a recent event I heard someone ask, “Is she here?” And another woman’s answer, “Yes, that tall woman in small shoes!” Yeah, it was about yours truly. For about as long as I can remember women would always comment about my footwear. Not my feet, mind you, just shoes. Whenever I find myself in a shoe store looking for something or just browsing, a female clerk is practically sure to point out a different shelf which has more height-appropriate sizes. “Oh, are you looking for something for your child?” Or even better: “We don’t have this model in your size”. That without my enquiring, while I was definitely holding the pair in my size. Sometimes I let it slide, other times I get a bit angry. Item one, is shoe or gloves or clothes size always in direct ratio to height and weight? Item two, it is allowed to be ANY size in ANYTHING. My Granny taught me this wonderful wisdom: one cannot saw off an inch, one cannot glue on an inch. Be content with what you have. Naturally one can modify certain things. For instance if one eats healthy and moves a lot one may lose some weight or grow some muscles. Hair color can be changed; the grey can be dyed out. Today one gets nose jobs and corrects the eye-lids, not to mention all the rather scary plastic surgery procedures many movie stars have done in the futile attempt to capture and preserve that non-existent ephemeral phenomenon, the Eternal Youth. Don’t you sometimes wonder what they might look like if they didn’t go under the knife? Ah well, one has to be a genius like Maggie Smith to be comfortable in her skin at any age. “You have rather small feet for your height”, a neighbor commented yesterday. I never know what and if to answer. Is this an unforgivable offense? A crime? It is definitely NOT the attribute that defines me, and yet my students would also comment on that.

Running around with a list of errands I happened to overhear a conversation. A woman was speaking loudly on her cell oblivious to her surroundings. “So I looked at those gloves and realized I picked up yours by mistake… Sure I know, they are too big for me… OF COURSE you have bigger hands than I do… No, I don’t mean that… OF COURSE I am your friend! Hello? Hello?” She caught my glance and said ruefully, “She hung up on me! What’s wrong with having small hands?” Then her eye slid down and she made an inevitable comment, “You have small feet, and that’s OK! Or is it just your shoes that create the illusion?” Well that’s certainly a novel idea. Why don’t we all buy small shoes and try to hobble around in them to create illusions. Actually this is totally unfair. We can wear oversize or too tight clothes without too much discomfort. Why can’t we do the same about shoes?! Oh no, try to put on shoes a size too small and it’s pure agony. I remember a scene from some comedy movie. In it, the lady puts on dainty shoes and suffers manfully. Once they settle down to watch a show she surreptitiously kicks them off, wiggles her toes, tears streaming down her face as the overture is played. Her boyfriend, thinking that she is overwhelmed by the beautiful music, leans to her and whispers tenderly, “Honey, I love you even more for those tears!”

No magic on earth can make one’s feet smaller and one’s heart bigger.


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