It’s finally sandal season and I have what a comedian I saw the other night calls a “suicide toe.” That is, one toe that’s longer than all the others just waiting to jump off the edge of the sandal and end it all. I was born with it, and my mom has it too: My second toe is noticeably longer even than my big toe, which she told me was a sign of genius. I believed her. That’s how much of a genius I am.
The suicide toe is the least of my feet’s problems. I have a fungal nail, which is much better than it was thanks to multiple rounds of liver-destroying drugs (totally worth it! or so I thought in my 20s when pedicures were top-of-the-list important) and gnarled, nasty hammertoes that look like tree roots, which my mom thinks might be genetic (she has them too). But we all know how much credence to give my mom’s opinion on toe-related issues.
I think they’re from years of trying to fit my ginormous feet into too small shoes. Size 10 is an awful thing to be when you’re in the 6th grade, and no amount of “that means you’re going to grow up to be tall and lovely” makes up for it when your girlfriends are wearing sixes and you look like you’re on water skis. As I got older and admitted to wearing a 10, there were shoes that were small 10s, and many shoe companies don’t make 11s. There was no way I was forgoing a pair of cute shoes just because they maimed me. Please. I had my priorities. That’s what sedan chairs were for.
I didn’t figure on what would happen to my feet when I became a Formerly. Unlike my shock and confusion about the relatively sudden onset of wrinkles and saggy body parts–which I should have seen coming if nothing else from the fact that, oh, I don’t know, it happens to EVERYONE–this I truly cannot blame on my own blindness to the inevitability of aging.
My feet have grown at least a size, a size and a half. I am now somewhere between an 11 and an 11 and a half. I can only guess that this is due to having carried twins, walked a lot all these years and dutifully spread my toes out during yoga class as I was told so I would feel “rooted to the Earth.” Fat lot of good that did me.
It doesn’t matter why. It only matters that now I must begin to shop for shoes where transvestites shop for shoes, and none of the two transvestites I’ve ever known were interested in discrete cute black ballet flats, although perhaps I’ve not done enough research. Red patent leather platform stripper shoes are really not in this season, and I’m already wearing mens’ sneakers and sandals.
I went into Steve Madden down near my house the other day and tried on a pair of plain black flats, and when the 11 proved too small, the well-meaning sales dude recommended I go to this “special” store in the West 30s that serves women with teeny tiny feet, and those of us with gigantaur feet.
This is unacceptable. I may be a Formerly, but I will not have my shopping realm circumscribed thusly. How would you feel if you lived in the fashion capitol of the universe (sorry, Paris, but you can kiss my Mad-hattan ass!) and had to shop at a store for mutants in the West 30s, or wear stripper shoes?
I’m just happy it’s summer. I can wear open toed shoes–and let me apologize in advance to all of you who have to look at my feet–so my suicide toe can dangle off the front and threaten to jump. Maybe by fall there will be a trend in the transvestite community for pretty, low-key shoes and all my favorite shoe designers will hop on to cash in on that demographic. I’ll still have to go to a special store, but they’ll think I’m the most convincing male-to-female ever. I hope.