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MAN TALK: Grim reminders of bad choices

Saturday July 14 2018

A pair of luxury brown shoes. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

A pair of luxury brown shoes. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

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I bought this pair of shoes on Amazon but when I received them after they were shipped down and finally wore them, they pinched at the sides. I was devastated. I really loved these shoes. They looked good and I felt like my life would be complete with them.

But I wasn’t about to discard them because they were the wrong size. Would you have? I see women who wobble around in the wrong pair of heels, obviously in great pain, so I figured if a woman can suffer for her shoes, who was I to whine that my shoe pinched my small toes?

So I wore them a few times but the experience was excruciating. I would sit at my desk and think, I need water but to think of walking 10 metres to the dispenser in those shoes was enough to make me decide to just die from dehydration. Then I realised that I had become one of those shady people who remove their shoes in the office.

I avoided wearing those shoes on the days I had meetings, because that meant I would have to walk in them. I also made a staggering discovery, that when you walk in tight shoes it constricts all blood to your head and I remember feeling that I couldn’t think clearly or constructively.

Evenings were the worst. I would think of nothing but to get home and kick off the bloody shoes and let my feet breathe. I once heard a woman say that the feeling of removing one’s bra the first thing they get home is liberating (I keep free-spirited company. I will tell you about my nudist friend in the next article, if my editor allows it).

I think it’s pretty much the same thing, the feeling of dying to remove your pinching shoes at the end of the day. You don’t know how important your feet are until you wear the wrong shoes.

Anyway, I said, surely these shoes are making me sadder than happy. I didn’t turn 40 to be this unhappy because of shoes and clients who take ages to pay. So I sent a picture of the evil shoes to this friend of mine who has small, girlie feet, and I said, “Boss, why don’t you buy these shoes? I think they can fit you. They will make you very happy.” But then he said that he has too many brown shoes.

I said, one more brown shoe never hurt anybody. (Ha-ha, see what I did there?) He asked how much; I told him the price. He said over his dead body. I told him I shipped these shoes in from abroad (because anything from abroad must be expensive, right?) and that they are high street shoes. He said, he’d rather walk in akalas. So I blocked him. I can’t be friends with people who don’t appreciate good shoes.


Then I took my shoes to this cobbler in a mall. I was told that they can expand your shoes by placing this wooden thing in it for a month and when they remove it, they are a size bigger. You have to understand that I was resorting to this desperate measure to try to save my shoes. So as I’m talking to this cobbler, telling him to be kind to my shoes, a gentleman I know walks into the same shop. We got catching up. He had quite some weight.

He had some white hair on his head. I hadn’t seen him in five years yet we live in the same city. I asked him how his wife and kids were because he’s one of those ones who post everything about their family online. You know, happy family men with happy wives and happy children. He said they broke up.

I said, What? Why? He said it was a long story that he would tell me over a drink one day. (Meaning: mind your own business.) He suddenly looked so gaunt and sunken cheeked and generally unhappy. And confused. Plus, there is a way sad people smell. They smell of sadness. It’s on their shirts. They shake your hand and it remains on you for a bit.

Even their hair loses that vitality; sadness dyes your hair. I felt really sorry for him. If we were ladies I would have hugged him, but we are men, we don’t show emotions - even when our shoes are pinching us.

I didn't know what to tell him. Besides he didn’t look like he wanted to talk about it. He looked like he just wanted to grab his shoes and run (lucky him, he could run in shoes that didn’t pinch).

I had the half thought to offer him my shoes as consolation but his feet looked the same size as mine. You don’t want to add a pinching shoes over a man’s marital woes.

But when he left I felt like I should have told him something to help him during this time, because what are the odds that we would meet at a cobbler after five years? There are no coincidences in life, things happen for a reason. I blew it.

Chances are he might not even read this but if he does, I want to just tell him that tomorrow will definitely be better even if it doesn’t seem so today. That is a guarantee. Not much as advice goes, but a truism I completely believe in.

Oh I got my shoes back after two weeks, if you care to know. They were better, yes, but only slightly. Plus, their shape had changed. I felt like I was wearing bread on my feet. And you know I’m all about shape. So now they are on my shoe rack, a grim reminder of a bad choice I have made this year.