One of the reasons I haven’t been posting much lately is that I haven’t had that many Formerly Hot moments. I’ve kind of moved through the whole shock and horror at finding myself no longer young and have settled into this new, rather happy, peaceful state of being. No drama, no trauma…just an OK-with-45 mindset that is, well, not that funny.
But once in a while, as happened today, I have a good old fashioned Formerly moment I feel compelled to share.
So as my friends know, I have a bit of a clog problem. I have maybe eight or nine pairs, including two pairs of clog boots. It’s a problem mostly because there aren’t enough days of the week to wear them and I love them so much this causes me mild to moderate distress.
I think I’m attracted to them because they manage to be both cute and orthopedic at the same time. People like me, who can no longer wear heals without cursing our big, gnarled, 45-year-old feet, can be comfy in clogs. Meanwhile, cute young 20somethings doing the retro ’70s thing have made them cool again. I’m riding this wave as long as it lasts. It’s like a solar eclipse–a rare overlap between two apparent opposites that’s briefly beautiful.
I stopped by No. 6, one of my favorite clog sources, and I saw them (pictured here, except I lusted for the dark, rich, chocolately brown). It was love at first sight–like in the movies, the background fell away and it was like me and the clogs were alone in the room. I moved tentatively toward them. We were destined to be together. I was sure of it.
The groovy blonde saleswoman, 26 or 27 tops, explained that they didn’t have them in my enormous size (41 or 42) and brought me a few similar pairs to try. I tried them all on, but determined that I wasn’t ready to have her non-refundably order them for me without actually trying the precise ones I wanted, because I’ve been burned before by ill-fitting shoes I couldn’t resist. It’s heartbreaking to sell your perfect-but-for-the-fact-that-they-deforming-your-feet clogs on eBay.
“I’m confident that a 41 will be fine,” she said. I thanked her and said would just wait until she had them in to try. “I do this all day,” she said. “You’ll be fine in the 41.” I choose to believe she wasn’t pushing, but that she truly wanted me to be united with my true loves. But still, I held off, and asked her to call me when they came in again.
She shrugged, and there was something in her resignation–this middle-aged lady doesn’t know what’s good for her, fashion-wise and she chooses not to heed my excellent advice so I’m going to move on to someone in whose life I can make a real difference–that prompted what came next: I felt an uprising of older person’s Tourettes, words coming up out of my mouth seemingly without my control.
“I mean, my feet used to be a regular ten, until I had my children and now it’s like, a real problem to find shoes in my size….” I blathered on about how one foot is bigger than the other, how pregnancy screws with your feet and, like, the bones spread out, and yoga doesn’t help either, and on and on in this, honey, let me tell you kind of tone. I think a part of me wanted her to know that once, a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was just like her–someone who didn’t mind if my feet hurt, as long as they looked good. Someone who would put fashion before function. Someone who, well, wasn’t old. Or old-er. Or as old as I am. Which is to say, not that old!
When I finally stopped talking, I saw that my diatribe had the opposite effect. I went from potential clog buyer to weird lady who thinks fabulous, young, skinny fashionable people care about her podiatric problems!
“Wow,” she said. “That sucks.”
“Um, yeah, kinda,” I said, before showing myself out.
I told my friend Andie about this exchange and she likened it to talking to pregnant women about what it’s like to be a parent–they cannot fathom that anything will ever change. They will be exactly as they are forever, except with the adorable accessory of an infant, who will also never get older and pimply and difficult. This woman has no idea that she will ever be my age, no longer able to wear a trash bag with an obi and look fabulous, with feet issues that one earns after pounding the pavement for decades and all of that.
Well, I do hope for her sake she gets to be my age someday, because–footwear limitations notwithstanding–it beats the alternative.
Photo from No. 6, which really is an amazing store.