from on high

I like to be comfortable. I’m flexible and my clothes need to move with me. I prefer to have bare feet indoors and I routinely pick things up off the ground with my toes. I walk a fair amount and insist on wearing sensible shoes. I live in flats. In fact, I don’t generally use the word “flats” because it’s simply my normal, the uninflected category. I’m practical.

Over the years I’d bought some heels in neutral colors: black, gold to go with a particular dress, deep red because I love deep red. (I’ve discovered that in France, deep red is a neutral, just FYI.) But flashy, vertiginous, and/or sexy was something I could never justify buying. Do I need them? No. Where would I possibly wear them? No idea.

But recently, when I became more comfortable with the idea of dressing up to look sexy, at least at home, it occurred to me that I could have a pair of killer heels and they wouldn’t necessarily be wasted just because I never intended to wear them outdoors. When I came across a pair of 4″ stilettos that actually felt comfortable, I allowed myself to buy the ridiculous things.

If I was ever going to wear them standing up, however, I was going to need a lot of practice, so I got in the habit of wearing them around the house. Eventually I got fairly confident in them and they started to seem a little less frivolous than before. I have now worn them outside of the house a few times and impressed friends with how surefooted I was. (In the context, I think that just means that I didn’t visibly teeter.) I’ve since bought a pair of gladiators: same brand, same height.

The main thing I like about my stilettos is that they make just about everything look hotter. I like my older heels less now because they are in fact less comfortable than the stilettos. So comfort is still key but that doesn’t necessarily translate to runners. The stilettos have become my most practical dressy shoes given how much wear they’ve gotten, and the fact that most of that wear is at home is irrelevant.

I never got the handbook on How to Be Girly, and heels don’t make me feel more feminine. But they do make me feel sexy.


I wear stilettos to bake

So, I got into the habit of wearing stilettos to wash dishes. But while my partner is back, he does the cooking and dishes, so the heels have migrated toward other tasks, such as baking and ironing. (All of my indoor activities that involve standing do tend toward the domestic.)

Yesterday evening, I needed to do some baking. And the baking made me think of the heels. And the heels suggested a costume change, into these skinny jeans (as well as lacy panties, by request).


And this is more or less what I wore to the low-key party/small event this past weekend. We are a pragmatic lot, so even though this was a dance related event, most folks ended up just wearing their winter boots. My heels attracted attention (as well as some surprise at my surefootedness), and not just because they added 4 inches/10 cm to my petite frame while everyone else was in flats.

Wearing them while baking last night, I once again noticed how they draw my attention to, and subtly change, my physicality. Ordinarily, I move almost silently: more than once have I passed someone on an otherwise deserted sidewalk and startled them because they didn’t know I was there until I was right beside them. The heels announce my walk through the quiet house with a blatant clip-clopping that makes me mildly but inevitably self-conscious.

Otherwise, I feel sensuous and feline in them. They discourage efficiency and promote gentle hedonism. A reach, a bend, a squat — practical movements, slowed down and savored, take on an additional aesthetic dimension. Mindfulness delivered in the shape of a shoe?

More hedonism followed later in the evening, not all of it gentle…

lacy panties 1 lacy panties 2

I wear stilettos to wash dishes

I bought my first pair of stilettos last summer.

I started wearing them while cooking and doing dishes so I could get more steady on them and eventually wear them outside.

Although I feel confident in them now (as much as I can without graduating to practice in the wild), I still enjoy wearing them to do dishes sometimes. But now I’m not sure if they’ll ever leave the house…

Vince Camuto 'Druni' heels