Perhaps I had one glass of wine too many, but on a cold Saturday night one January, I recklessly bought a pair of strappy black sandals. I saw them online, instantly fell in love, and before I knew it, my credit card info was entered and a confirmation was hitting my inbox.
It took what seemed like weeks for them to arrive, but when the shoes finally landed on my doorstep, they looked as perfect as the picture — simple and kind of like a pair I'd seen from Céline but way cheaper (see above photo for the #shoefie). "Where can I wear these?" I wondered, scanning my calendar for upcoming events. As is usually the case with new clothes, I figured the first time had to be special. Finally, I landed on Valentine's Day: a fancy dinner with my boyfriend was already in the works and the opportunity couldn't have been more perfect. Done and done.
When the day finally arrived, I dug my heels out of their hiding spot in the back of my closet. True, it was still Winter, and OK, it wasn't exactly warm outside, but this was it — I was wearing these babies no matter what.
Unfortunately, the first stop of the day was work, since Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday that year. But my buy begged to be worn, so I strapped them on and strutted my stuff into the office, confident that I looked good and ready for the compliments to roll in.
"Aren't you cold?" an older woman asked, interrupting my stride just before I reached my desk. "It's not sandal weather."
I shook my head, somewhat offended. Sacrifices were being made here, but an "I really like those!" would have sufficed.
When lunchtime rolled around, I started to feel the effects of wearing new shoes all day. My feet were throbbing and small blisters had begun to form on the backs of my heels.
"Do you want to grab food with us?" a group of my co-workers asked as they walked by, jackets on and ready to go. I hesitated — walking more than necessary wasn't wise — but I was hungry. Reluctantly, I grabbed my stuff and trekked a whole seven blocks to their favorite buffet.
Once we returned, I desperately needed some Band-Aids. And Advil — did anyone have Advil?! I quietly changed into flats for the time being. I'd just put the shoes back on later. Dinner was the real reason I'd worn them anyway.
But when my boyfriend came to meet me for our meal, the situation had gone from bad to "Why is your ankle swollen?" Unbeknownst to me, black dye from the straps had visibly rubbed off into my cuts, and my head immediately filled with the horror stories I might find on WebMD.
And yet, my fit-and-flare fuchsia dress wasn't meant to be worn with flats. They'd make my short legs look stumpy. So again, I strapped on the heels — over the cuts, over the dye (which I couldn't even attempt to remove due to the pain) — and limped my way to our reservation, almost positive my ankle would saw in half by the time we got there.
But I made it, emitting only one cry of "Can we just get Chinese food?!" during our journey. I even made it home after the night was through, where I then opened the best Valentine's Day gift ever: Band-Aids and peroxide, which my boyfriend carefully applied to my heel as I winced in pain.
Somewhere in between nursing my cuts and dodging "Wow! What happened to your foot?" questions over the next few weeks, I finally realized: it doesn't matter what the occasion is or how cute the shoes are, sometimes it's just not worth it. So this year, I'll happily be rocking booties — a worn-in pair, with a short, chunky heel — for whatever I've got planned. For the sake of your feet, I hope you do the same.