“Heels are a sh…

“Heels are a short girl’s best friend.”

At the end of my senior year in high school, I attended my ex’s graduation after he attended mine, and among the many wise things that his father said to me, I remember the following quip extremely accurately.  The entire audience stood as each soon-to-be graduate walked down the aisle individually towards his or her seat on the stage, and one girl in 5-inch stilettos made her way towards us rather clumsily.  It wasn’t a surprise that she was walking clumsily, according to him, because not only was she wearing 5-inch heels but she was also at least 5’11”.  “Tall girls don’t need to wear heels, so on occasions when they feel like they should be wearing them, they don’t have the necessary grace that heels require.  Whether that’s a blessing or a curse, you decide,” he told me with a slight smirk, pointing down at my 4 or 5-inch tan pumps.

My mom has always told me to adorn heels whenever possible: graduations, interviews, Sunday mass, auditions, performances, work, dates, weddings, you name it.  According to her, tall girls “have an upper edge” on short girls, such as myself, when it comes to first impressions.  I may be “cute,” “sweet,” or “charming,” but does my height detract from my ability to command respect from my peers and seniors?  It most definitely shouldn’t.

Yes, your first visual impression of me is that I am petite, perhaps “cute.”  But if you were to give me two minutes to make my case, in words, during what my dad calls a “1-1 VIP opportunity,” I would like to think that I would most certainly command your respect.  This is not to say that I won’t make any mistakes (because believe me, I’m prone to making a fool of myself), but I definitely will change any preconceived notions you might have made based on my small stature.  My education and life experiences of 18 years, although not that extensive yet, have taught me to be at least decently articulate.

All of this aside, your physical appearance DOES matter significantly.  This is not shallow of me to say because fact: it is very, very difficult to change another person’s inherent tendency to pass judgment right off the bat.  You cannot take the “higher moral ground” and claim that a lot of people don’t first judge a person by his or her appearance because some people, in fact a LOT of people, do and can’t help it.  And sorry to say, but the admissions director of your dream college or your future employer may be one of those people!  Thus, in the completely unfair albeit very common chance that I will be judged by an interlocutor as soon as our eyes meet (maybe even before that moment), I do not want to have to dig myself out of a hole without having said a word.  Especially since I can actually avoid starting from sub-zero with only a little preparation, i.e. 5-inch platforms and a touch of eyeliner.

So…I wear heels.  A lot.  I was wearing them a few seconds ago.  Do you want to know the secret advantage to wearing heels and working at a desk?  (You can take them off at your desk and no one can actually see you doing so.)  Yet each night when I examine the carnage (blisters), I don’t have any regrets, and I’ve already explained why. 😉

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2 Replies to ““Heels are a sh…”

  1. I used to wear heels almost every day in high school, but after moving to a city where the cobblestone makes heels a daily near-death experience, I’ve gotten out of the habit. When my mom asked about my fashion change, I told her, “I honestly can’t bring myself to care anymore.” Over the past four years, I’ve gone from laboring over my look to being much more content when I look in a mirror. Do you think this new-found complacency is a blessing or a curse? While my mom insists that there’s a virtue to women who make an effort to look nice, I’ve found myself much happier with my body when I don’t feel compelled to dress-to-impress. I see both sides of the issue, and I’m curious what you think.

    1. Veronica, thank you so much for your comment!!! It’s so great to hear from you. I remember that you always used to wear heels in high school, and I admired you for being able to do so in the first place yet at the time, didn’t really think about why you did so. It seems that your mom and my mom share the same perspective, and to some extent, you and I both agree. You used the phrase “laboring over my look,” and honestly, it doesn’t make much sense for you to have been investing so much energy in something that you had grown to become ambivalent about. It’s definitely a blessing that you’ve grown to become more confident in your natural skin since changing your fashion, but I don’t know if I would have gone so far as to make what really is a lifestyle change based on the logistical inconvenience of wearing heels in the streets of Boston. If I couldn’t possibly do heels, then I’d probably try to compensate in some other way, maybe by spending a few extra minutes each day looking at my outfit and hairstyle with a more critical eye or by brushing up on a cool story I can tell to the next friend I’d encounter. The crux of my response is basically that I see how the extra effort in tailoring physical appearance can be logistically impossible or simply exhausting, but the lifestyle of putting thought into visual impressions shouldn’t be abandoned and, in fact, can be modified on an individual basis. Hope you are having a great summer!

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