I like shoes. Love them, actually.
Always have, always will. I would blame the 50 percent of my Filipino* genes except that my mom has, like, four pairs of shoes. Maybe it skips a generation?
So years ago, when we came to the conclusion that something needed to be done to accommodate all of my shoes in our ridiculously small, inefficient master bedroom closet, we called on Fiona the Closet Designer who promised she could make the most out of any tight space. When she slid open the mirrored doors and saw the crooked stacks upon stacks of shoe boxes (and she didn’t know about the boxes stuffed under the bed or the ones wedged into and under the nightstand) she clucked her tongue.
“You’ve got a lot of shoes,” she said, which sounded incredibly charming in her heavy Scottish brogue.
During the closet remodel, my husband decided to test No. 3’s preschool education by tasking him with counting up all my shoes. I’m not going to tell you my number. It may have been triple digits.
Fiona, bless her, did her best but years later, the shoes still spill out the closet.
They’ve invaded a bookshelf, repurposed to store them, and they’re tucked under the bed. Flats, heels, wedges, pointy-toed pumps, sneakers — from polka-dot to rapper’s mom’s delight (gold leather with rhinestones) — I own them all. Love them all. I don’t discriminate — even when it comes to the uglies, like the pair I spotted on the Nordstrom Rack clearance shelf.
I don’t know how to classify them. They’re fuzzy and pink with a seriously slanted block heel, and even though they originally cost more than $100, I don’t think you could count them as edgy in a high fashion way. They look like…. Well, imagine if a pair of Uggs snuck into Animal’s dressing room after a Muppet Show and nine months later, you’d have….
I laughed. But, I knew I had to have them. They were so fabulously repulsive — and down to a mere $14 after the 25 percent discount. Heck, I’d have paid $16 for them.
Why would I need such ugly shoes? Dumb question. Who DOESN’T need the ugliest pair of shoes ever made?
I marched them up to the register and, uh, well, I’m not gonna lie — the cashier remembered me since I had just been there the day before.
“You’re back,” she said, reaching into the box. A weird look crossed her face. I felt a little embarrassed.
“They’re so hideous. I need them,” I explained.
The girl shrugged. “Oh, this isn’t even the worst.”
She went on to describe totally funky, fuzzy Ferragamo sandals that, weird as they were, still rang up at $1,000. FYI, that’s way more than I would pay for joke shoes.
So when my husband announced over the weekend that he wanted to go to open houses — he’s been binge-watching those house-flipping shows — I knew, this was it. This is what these fuzzugly shoes were born for — freaking out real estate agents. I put on a perfectly normal looking dress and a hat and sunglasses and slipped the shoes on my feet. I half expected them to bark at me.
I looked in the full length mirror, feeling exactly like the girl at the ball who would make the handsome prince stop dead in his tracks — and then he would move on to the chick with the cool glass pumps.
“Oh my gawd…” the kids said, almost in unison, as I clomped out of the house and into the car.
“I have big plans for these babies,” I told No. 1. “I think they’ll be perfect for parents weekend when I go meet all your new college friends.”
It was a very Amy Sedaris move. Amy, if you are unfamiliar with her, is a comedian and actress (and sister of David) who revels in weird. She once wore a fat suit home to her parents’ house just to freak out her very weight-conscious dad. Although now that I think about it, I’m not so much Amy Sedaris as Amy Shoedaris…
Disappointingly, no one asked where I got my shoes, or even paid any attention to them. Probably because they were too busy wondering how they were going to move the overpriced, weirdly designed house they’d agreed to list. Both of them could have been featured on one of those flipper shows. My shoes actually fit in quite well with the tres ’80s home with the fat, navy floral band of wallpaper trim in the bathroom and the side-by-side, lower level living rooms. Who does that?
When we got home, I looked for an empty space to stash my new kicks, preferably somewhere in a dark corner so as not to scare my other shoes. No room. I had to plop them on top of a pair of open-toed, brown leather, lace-up, high-heel sandals. So, in nine months, who knows what I’ll find….
*Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, is perhaps the most famous shoe hoarder of all time and reportedly owned more than a thousand pairs. She was beyond extravagant (fun fact: She apparently once spent $2,000 just on gum in an airport) and in an interview with Time magazine said, “When they opened my closets, they found shoes instead of skeletons.”
OK, so I probably shouldn’t put this photo out there on the interweb, but….