31 July 2009
Last month I read a NYT article that declared that if you are going to the Barneys New York shoe department and wear "either a size 5 or a size 10, the world is your oyster; virtually any shoe will be glowing and untouched before you, like a mythical elf treasure in World of Warcraft." Preaching to the choir. Finally thankful for my shoe size. Growing up, my shoe size went along with my grade level. My first recognition of this was in the sixth grade. While other girls were still shopping in the girls section, I had made my way up to the womens' racks with a size 6. And it went on this way. In the seventh grade, size 7. Eighth grade, size 8. Ninth grade, size 9. I remember wishing beyond hope that it would stop there. I just did not want to enter into double digit territory. My mother told me it was okay because I was tall. But then I went to summer camp between 7th and 8th grade and met a girl my height. She was a 5. All hope was abandoned. I settled into the 10-ish range.
The only good thing about wearing a size ten was that none of my friends wore the same size, which meant no sharing. Other than that, I felt like I was banished to the end of the universe whenever shoe shopping. For all you 'regular' size women, you may not have noticed that all the 10+ sizes are always situated on the outside aisle or in dark corners. And it is just not my internal craziness running wild. Anytime I would tell another woman my size, I would get this look of pity or a sharp gasp, as if saying - My dear, I am so sorry you were cursed with banana boat feet. But this was much nicer than the flat out "eew" that I sometimes got.
By college, I referred to my size in EU and UK measurements. I thought I could blend; EU were all double digits and UK knocked me down to singles. The really strange thing is that I am not tied to the number attached to my clothes. I could care less and if you looked inside my closet you would swear that it was shared by four or five different people. But at the end of the day, I had major issues about my big feet. It seems that asking a woman her shoe size is like asking her age...the bigger the number the more resistance.
So how does Paris fit into all of this? No, I've never met her. One day I walked into a Chanel boutique in Las Vegas. I wandered into the shoe section and started chatting with the salesgirl. She was gushing about how their boutique had this one shoe and it was the only store in the city. Okay, let's try it on. What size do you wear? Once again because of my issues, I had gotten into the habit of prefacing my answer with - I have big feet, I wear a size...41 or 42. She quickly responded back with - You know Paris Hilton wears an 11 so don't worry about it.
It is not that I found comfort imagining Paris clomping around with her big feet. It was more of how this total stranger (commission check or not) told me not to worry about my big feet. No cringing. For years, I second guessed every pointy toe shoe that crossed my path. I had avoided white shoes, thinking they would only make them look bigger; purposely stayed away from flats, thinking they would only make them look longer. For some reason, I left my shoe size insecurities on the floor of Chanel. Sounds more dramatic saying it like that, right?
It is human nature that when we find out that someone (especially a "celebrity") has the same secret/issue as us, we feel some kind of connection. You know that if you had webbed toes and then you found out that Gisele had them too, you would be like Z.O.M.G. me too! And then tell everyone who had anything to say about you and your webbed toes - Oh yeah, well guess who else has webbed toes? However, in my case Paris is not the best representative to use,
Tyra Banks, Lauren Ambrose, Asia Argento, Ciara, Cindy Crawford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jenna Elfman, Katie Holmes, Jerry Hall, Shalom Harlow, Teri Hatcher, Elizabeth Jagger, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Jemma Kidd, Heidi Klum, Lucy Lawless, Ananda Lewis, Eva Mendes, Mandy Moore, Beth Ostrosky, Laura Prepon, Francesca "Frankie" Rayder, Krysten Ritter, Lela Rochon, Monica Seles, Stephanie Seymour, Maria Sharapova, LeeLee Sobieski, Martha Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor , Liv Tyler, Gabrielle Union, Meredith Vieira, Sigourney Weaver, Serena Williams
Audrey Hepburn , Nicky Hilton, Oprah Winfrey
Nona Gaye, Steffi Graf, Famke Janssen, Evangeline Lilly, Missi Pyle, Meg Ryan, Uma Thurman, Venus Williams, Kate Winslet
Gabrielle Reece, Wendy Williams, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
Kristanna Loken, Elle MacPherson, Michelle Wie