Sunday, September 25, 2005


Sending out many happy birthday wishes today for Douglas Hoffman and Kate Rothwell. They're probably not fraternal twins who were separated at birth, but we could start the rumor anyway.

I've been trying to skip birthdays since the sixth or seventh time I turned 29, but the clan is determined to keep adding up my bark rings. The fact that they haul out the abacus to do so is only to annoy me. On the industry side, it's getting a bit better. Only about half the writers I presently know missed Earth shoes, mood rings, Love's Baby Soft, and the Hollies. Two of my editors are almost finished puberty (another quit publishing to go to college.)

I like being older. It gives you the nerve to do things, like finally dumping Le Wardrobe. Before we moved the last time, the Salvation Army got everything but my emergency outfit for weddings and funerals. Aside from the double duty suit, my wardrobe is down to maybe two dozen loose-fitting Tshirts, sweaters, leggings and jeans. I have jackets down to three: leather, field, and denim, and shoes down to six: two pair of moccasins and one pair of sneakers (none of which match my purse, aka the next thing that's going to Goodwill. My idea of Nirvana is carrying a wallet, my keys, and a Chapstick.)

I have no idea what is in fashion anymore. I don't watch TV. I'm still recovering from the emotional scars left by reading Christian chick-lit. I avoid the malls, and when I have to go, I stay in the bookstores. The perfumed-flap ads make it impossible for me to read the glossy rag mags without getting a rash or an instant headache. Researching fashion and hanging out with some professional models at a shoot a few years ago cured me of any post-adolescent desire to be fashionable. I'd have to read reviews all day to puke that much.

This is not to knock the fashion slaves out there. I admire well-dressed, well-groomed, made-up folks. You have to, you can't make fun of them. They get mad and use those superglued-on fingernails on you. That unreal perfect prettiness thing they have going does take a lot of work. Plus it helps me. Some of them look so alien I don't have to bother inventing another new species for the SF novels.

I did finally see a pair of those shoes chick-lit authors are always raving about in their novels. We had to go down to one of the big malls to pick up a special-order switch for the oven, and walked past one of these snotty-looking display windows for a store I can't afford to shop in. I glanced in the window, saw a discreet little sign that read Manolo Blahnik, and eyed the shoes displayed next to it.

I admit, I didn't go in to have a closer look. They had a bouncer, and I was laughing too hard. But want to know how retarded these Manolo Blahnik shoes look?

Okay, take a pair of extremely pointy-toed cowboy boots, put them through a wood chipper, then spackle on tacky turquoise and brown suede whirls and nail on a 1/4" wide X 4" tall heel with a skid pad the size of a squashed licorice jelly bean someone took a bite out of. Congratulations, you're Manolo Blahnik. (And women actually wear these things? In public? Assuming they do, how do they get their feet in? By amputating toes? I'd be hard-pressed to cram a lizard's head in there. Is this guy Chinese?)

They don't put price stickers on these shoes -- I think you have to make an appointment to even breathe the air surrounding them -- but I came home and looked up the price on the internet: $725.00 for the ones I saw in the window. Unbelievable. Women actually pay that. For $725.00, I could buy 72 pair of moccasins, or 40 pair of sneakers. I'd be shoed for life.

Oscar Wilde said "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Now I understand why.


  1. Anonymous12:49 AM

    Heh. I have you beat. 3 pairs of shoes. 1 pair tennies, 1 pair Earth Shoe sandals (says so on the soles), 1 pair black Naturalizers that I wear when I'm attempting to look professional. Everything else, other than pro-con garb, is 100% cotton comfy stuff. I went a good 2 years without ever buttoning a button that wasn't on the waistband of my jeans. Then I got published and actually bought blouses. I have four with buttons, I think. The rest are pullover.

    But don't forget scrunchies. I cannot live without scrunchies.

    Long live the scrunchie!!

  2. Be ready for some competition. Guys are getting into the act. My sister dated this one guy who had more shoes than she did. And the ties!

    Me? For shoes, DSW (a discount shoe place.) Ties? Some nice ones on sale for $5-15 each.

    What's a 'scrunchie'?

  3. Joel, I think it's an elastic (wide, ruffled, many colors) hair holder thingie. (As a woman, I know this is supposed to be genetically fused to me, but I'm defective)

    ROTFL, Sheila. When I was in Latvia last year, the female shoe fashion rage was long, pointed, skinny shoes. I thought they looked like clown shoes (something like a six inch very narrow pointy toe that extended beyond where the foot could be compressed to fit into the shoe). Since European fashion leads us by a year or so (in my observation), they should be showing up in stores for the masses here.

  4. Anonymous9:16 AM

    I'd never heard of Manolo Blahnik before, so I did a quick Google search. Your description of them is perfect! I recognized them immediately, from your words alone.

  5. I've never understood the shoe thing. Why do some people place so much importance on shoes? I just don't get it. They're not something I look at, except when they're more than usually goofy.

    The whole long-pointy-toe thing has shown up in Vancouver in a big way. It's more than usually goofy.

    I just don't get it.

  6. I love scrunchies! But I got my hair chopped into a pretty short bob last week, so I don't have to tie it back now! Just wash and dry, that's it! Woohoo!

  7. Did you see that tupperware is going into the hazardous footware business? I read an article about it that didn't mention burping once.

    Hard to imagine that in 20 years people are going to be getting nostalgic about their tupperware shows--harder to imagine they're going to still be prancing around in those things.

  8. I'm still recovering from the emotional scars left by reading Christian chick-lit.

    You could do a whole blog on that one, I'll bet.

    I found the shoe fetishism in Sex and the City to be humorous. As for real life, I'm delighted to say that my wife and I still dress like grad students most of the time. Karen gets her nice clothes (the stuff she wears to work) from Eddie Bauer and Ann Taylor -- perhaps not haute couture, but I don't need to get a second mortgage to pay for her wardrobe, thank heavens, and she looks pretty damned fine to me.

    Thanks for the happy b-day wish!

  9. Shoes, huh? A pair of hikers, a pair of crosstrainers, sport sandals, decent sandals, dress sandals, and two pairs of dress shoes (rarely worn). We've had several weddings (not me and my hubby PERSONALLY, you understand...) in the last couple of years, necessitating the advent of dress shoe choices. Unfortunately, I think that means I have most of you beat... :( (and I do SO not have a shoe fetish.)

  10. I'm not going to reveal how many pairs of shoes are in my closet. It would set off a wave of eye-rolling, I'm sure. I'm a shoe slut. Shoes and purses. I can't help myself. However, they are all comfy--no stilettos for me--and they were all on sale. I can't imagine spending $700 for ONE pair of shoes. What a waste. Those same people spend $400 on a pair of blue jeans. Jeans! WHY?!

  11. No, Val. I had at least two 3.0 cube boxes of running shoes in my last move. You, so don't have me beat. I have a pair of sport sandals (slip ons, perfect for the house in Bahrain when I was there last year, and I walk the dog in them now), a couple pair of dress shoes (NATO shoes, I called them--don't wear them now), low quarters, combat boots, and hiking boots to accompany the shoe store full of Asics Gel-Nimbus and left over New Balance I still possess. If it isn't a pair of athletic shoes or boots, I have no interest. (Cowboy boots are home in Texas as well as several other pair of casual shoes--I never have to bring additional shoes when I go home).

  12. PS like my twin said...thanks for the birthday wishes.

  13. Christian ... chick ... lit???


    I've never really understood the whole "fashion" thing at all. I mean, I like to look nice, but I could never keep up with what's "in style" each season. Nor do I give a rat's ass.

    By preference, I'll shop in thrift stores or places like Target, where I can usually find the sort of thing I like. (*cough*blackandflowy*cough*) Sometimes something in a mall chain will catch my eye, usually things that are dark and flowy, but often they're too bloody expensive.

    I don't mind browsing around a mall, but I find often the stench of perfume is far too much, and I end up with a migraine. >_<

  14. I think I have everyone beat. Two pair of shoes. One pair of expensive New Balance shoes that actually fit my weirdly-shaped feet. And one pair of black shoes for church. That's it.

    Clothes--jeans and T-shirts. Sweatshirts when it gets cold. A few dresses for church. One jacket. One zipup sweatshirt. That's my entire wardrobe.

    I'm not a fashion person, but I would like to replace my current wardrobe with updated stuff simply because mine is wearing out. lol


  15. It was a running joke with me and my best friend (a clothing designer) that I wouldn't know fashion if it bit me. Looking back on that time, I'm pretty sure some of the clothes she made me wear did bite. (wg) ;-)

  16. I have you beat on the shoes, too. I own two pairs. Both are running shoes, one pair used for yard work, the other for being presentable in public. If somebody gets married or dies, I'm going to have to buy a pair of something.

    The pair won't be Manolo Blanicks. Or Ferragamos, or whatever.

  17. Since my current favorite footwear are made out of cushiony rubber and look like a cross between rubber clogs and something Mickey Mouse would wear -- you know where I fall on the "To Manalo or not to Manalo" list. *g*

    I live for comfort and love that I live and work in the Keys where people always ask how I like my Crocs instead of pointing and laughing at my feet. :-)

  18. I think I own maybe ten pairs of shoes. I do admit, i like boots. I really like boots...something about the way I can stomp around in them...

    but all ten pairs of shoes & boots I own? I think I spent less than $300 on ALL of them. I'd much rather spend my money on my real fetishes... books and jewelry. ;)

    So when we read your next sci book and there's an alien character with eybrows winging up into their scalp, lips a surreal color of chartreuse, orange and white hair that sticks up in fifty cazillion directions, instead of trying to picture something from star wars, should we just turn on E!?

  19. Anonymous7:38 PM

    I don't like carrying a purse, either. If you are still searching for the right wallet, may I suggest the Jimi?

    I bought one last year, and I adore it. Everything I really need fits in it. And it always fits in my pocket. Plus it's translucent, so I don't have to take my driver's license out every time someone needs to see it.

    Cell phone in one pocket, Jimi in the other, and I'm good to go!

  20. Oh, Paul reminded my of my favorite overpriced shoe story. We have this upscale faux village shopping mall near our house. There's a Gucci store in it. We went in and were followed around by a clerk with his nose stuck in the air. I was amused that he obviously thought we rifraff might steal something. The $179 rubber flip flops, maybe?


  21. uh... i'm a purse tramp... no way i could give up my purses... granted, i shop for five months before i find one i like and i never spend more than $50 on one. right now i have a kate spade knock off that looks dead on like the real thing and it only cost $17 but no way i could give up my purse~although that jimi wallet could make a heck of a lot more room INSIDE my purse...

  22. Anonymous5:28 AM

    utilitarian big stompy boots suitable for crossing apocalyptic wastelands, club dance floors, and urban jungle.

    Heels? never worn em.

    Gimme black boots with maybe a buckle or two and I'm content.

    I spend way too much time on my feet to make heels practical. I had a male roomate who could, however, truck around in em like no one's business. He tried to teach me. it failed.

  23. awww, c'mon. Shoes are TOTALLY cool!!!

    i lurv shoes...but i lurv going barefoot more. i'm so conflicted. lol

    seriously, though, i have an obsession with shoes. i'm not rabid over manolo's or anything designer; but i do have a varied collection.

    chunky platforms and boots (2.5" or taller heel), Chinatown slippers, crosstrainers, loafers, flip-flops.

    my shoe obsession fits in with my need for The Perfect Purse and socks of all colors and sizes.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.