There are some mysteries that a man just should not try to decipher. Shoes is one of them.
I was in Samoa last week and my mum gave me a wonderful pair of shoes she’d bought in Hawaii. They were designer shoes and rather fantabulous. In other words, NOT a pair of shoes I would EVER buy myself. Why was I afforded such a rare opportunity to have such shoes?
Because “they’re too hard for me to walk in so I cant wear them. They’re too high for me,” she explained. “I just like to put them on and sit and look at how nice my feet look in them.”
This was a difficult concept for my father to grasp. “You can’t wear them? But you bought them!”
“Yes, I bought them because they were so beautiful and my legs look extra wonderful in them,” explained Mum. Again.
“But..you cant walk in them….so why would you buy them?” There was sincere bewilderment on Dad’s face.
“Because they’re beautiful shoes,” said my mum. Again. “Look at them!”
My Dad looked at their blue and green glory but failed to ‘get it’. “I don’t understand. YOU bought them. You cant wear them but you bought them?”
At that point, Mum just gave up. And ignored him.
I tried the shoes on and then me and mum sat and sighed over their loveliness. Yes, they were lovely shoes. Especially when one is wearing them while sitting down.
I happily took the shoes back to New Zealand with me. And then to Brisbane for my book launch at Griffith University. They complemented my MENA top rather nicely and a very clever makeup artist, Rachel Olsen, transformed my face so I looked nothing like me. She even gave me false eyelashes which is a HUGE deal for me because I’ve never tried them before. They were very odd to wear and I kept blinking a lot, feeling like I could shoo away flies with those lashes. (So if you thought I was winking my eye at you during the book launch….sorry. No.)
When I walked across the stage to give my speech – all the young (and restless) young women in the front rows – gave my (Mum’s) shoes admiring glances. What does that say about me that my 70+ year old mother’s shoes are waaaaay more cooler than anything in my wardrobe? Hmmm. I was very grateful for the lovely shoes because it meant nobody cared what the rest of me looked like. Or, I’m sure, paid very much attention to the words coming out of my mouth. Good designer shoes can do that for a person. (Note to self, get ridiculously priced pair of shoes for next book event so I can be less worried about my speeches.)
Only problem was, that after an hour or two of book launch stuff – I had a horrible blister on my right foot. (Must be more coconut jungle savage than the other foot – less inclined to be worthy of palagi designer shoes…) One must smile a great deal at book launches. And make engaging conversation. One cannot grimace. Mutter curse words. Or hobble along in obvious discomfort. Especially not when fashionable young Telesa readers are complimenting your shoes. I excused myself from the crowd and retreated.
To the tiny kitchen where all the food was being prepped and very nice ladies took pity on me and went to find Band Aids. I found strength in a few cupcakes and comfort in Band Aids and went forth to sign books as a (fake) fashionable author. When the launch was done, I was starving (of course) and so fabulous Brisbane friends took me to the Pancake Manor in the city. And I smiled bravely and kept walking with painful fashionable flair, winking my artificial eyelashes at everybody.
I’m happy to report that I wore those shoes for eight hours straight. (And those eyelashes.) I didn’t take the shoes off and go jungle barefoot until 2am, walking down the street in the city while my fabulous (LOUD) friends Gau, Glenda, Sisilia and Junior ( the tallest and most shamaaahzing #Simone ever) were the Von Trapp family and belting out numbers from the Sound of Music. (which is what happens when you’re drunk on too much diet Coke and pancakes)
In other words a great night. And although I very much doubt I’ll be wearing fly-chaser eyelashes and designer shoes to work in my hermit cave – I understand now why they’re alluring things to wear. Once in a while.