Friday, August 26, 2011
The Lady and the Boots
It is said that you can tell a lot about a person from the clothes that they wear. I used to think this was very true until, one day, my eyes were opened up by an encounter with the Lady and the Boots.
I was in my late teens, studying at University and working at a Major Department Store selling Ladies Shoes. I'm sure that is where my obsession and appreciation for footwear really took off. My employers were quite savvy with the staff discounts too because it seemed that all my pay would go right back into the store, while my wardrobe overflowed with a collection that even Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw would have been envious of.
The Ladies Shoes department was vast, one of the largest in the world. It was a mini country, its landscape dotted with mountains of leather, suede, peeptoes, wedges, platforms, stilettos, boots, espadrilles, slingbacks and court shoes. There was shimmer and shine amongst the razzle and dazzle.
In the hierarchy of the Department, the least popular section to work in was the comfort area (affectionately known as 'Granny Land'). This is where I started off my training, assisting the lovely senior citizens in selecting safe, non-slip comfortable footwear to accomodate their orthotics, bunions, swollen ankles and other such delights. On occasion I would have to help some of these dearies slip on a stocking when they couldn't bend to do it themselves.
Happily I was soon promoted to the Mecca of all footwear (insert 'Hallelujah' chorus of Heavenly Angels) The International Designers section. Swoon, swoon and double swoon. The heels were high and nasty. The satin and the bling was blinding. These shoes were works of art with a price tag to match. The Designer shoes were the ones the Working Women would come in and lovingly stroke during their lunch break. Their eyes would leer seductively as they whispered longingly 'One day, you will be mine...'
One quiet midweek afternoon I was dusting the Calvin Kleins when a lovely little lady walked in to the department. She was in her late 50's, early 60's with short cropped hair, wearing a red checked shirt, jeans and dusty suede lace up work boots. She kind of looked like she belonged on a farm picking berries. I half expected her to ask for directions to the comfort section or the toilet, she was not like the brash, flashy type of customer who would often frequent the Designer section. Clicking their bedazzled fingers, those customers would send us back and forth trying on every strappy sandal their eyes espied. I'd developed quite a talent navigating my way around the department with a Leaning Tower of Pisa-esque arrangement of boxes, not dropping a single one on the head of a Diva (as tempting as that might have been). I put away my duster and greeted her. She had the loveliest smile. The Lady made her way to a table of Sergio Rossi's. They were the sleekest, sexiest range in our department. She picked up a shiny leather knee high boot and a killer patent black leather stiletto and gleefully asked if we had them in a 7. I went out the back and brought out the sizes for her, studying her as she tried them on. Her joy was infectious. I recognized the same joy I would feel when trying on a sexy pair of shoes. She tenderly stroked the leather, caressing it against her calf. She marvelled at the shape of the heel, following its sharp lines with her fingers. She pulled the zip up and down, listening to its high-pitched metallic melody.
"I love them, I'll take them!" she exclaimed as she pulled out her credit card for the $1500 purchase.
Walking to the counter she divulged that it had been over 9 months since she'd worn heels.
"Are they for a special occassion?" I asked, as I lovingly wrapped her package.
"The special occassion is Me. I work hard and I deserve it. I'm on an oil rig 9 months a year, nowhere to go, not spending a cent. When I'm back on land I like to treat myself to something special and feel like a woman again. My kids are all grown up and settled, the only person I have to please is myself".
I'll never forget that Lady. She inspired me that day and I think of her often.
Everytime I feel scruffy or stuck in a mummy-rut, I think back to the Sergio Rossi's and reach for my sexiest perfume, underwear, accessories and/or shoes and feel the Sultry Siren come alive again.
And just like that Lady, as long as the Shoe still fits, I'll Wear it.
What's your little indulgence that brings the Sultry Siren back out in you?
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