...can we get a heel-height compromise?
Since around fifth grade, I've been significantly taller than my mother which was always a strange concept for me to grasp. How can someone end up bigger than the person who spit them out? Baffling. You see, at birth, I was barely 20 inches, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I sprouted almost 50 more.
And, I'm not going to lie, there have been advantages to measuring in at about 5'9" for most of my life: I can reach things on high shelves, my jeans are never too long - clothes, at least the ones I like to wear, generally fit better. I know when it rains earlier than those shorter, a short-lived five or even ten pound weight gain can go practically unnoticed since it is distributed along a broader area, and it's harder for many people to tell when I need to get my roots done because they are not able to see the top of my head.
Naturally, being tall also has its disadvantages. First, there are the standard comments from all the members of the Captain Obvious justice league.
People repeatedly ask me if I played basketball in high school, to which I usually reply, "No, I actually drank out the mountains in high school instead of playing sports. I had a flash-in-the-pan stint in middle school basketball, but then I gave it all up for art club and behaviorally disappointing social hobbies."
Then, they routinely ask me how tall I actually am as if I just set some kind of record like Joey Chestnut shoving hot dogs down his throat on the Fourth of July. I'm not 7'10". I'm not even 6' anything. Just 5'9" roughly.
In the same breath, usually comes the inquiry of my parents' heights. As if perhaps I was the result of some kind of genetic experiment gone wrong. No. My dad is tall. In fact, he's very tall, and, I'm not a geneticist, but I'm pretty sure that's how I ended up this way.
Then, my favorite: stating the obvious.
A few months ago, I stopped in a gas station on the strip for a drink.
As soon as I walked in, before a "Hi! How are you?" the worker glanced over at me and proclaimed, "Wow! You're really tall."
Really? When did this happen? Thank you for bringing that to my attention. And, since we're swapping information, I just wanted to let you know that you work at a gas station.
I know. I know. I sound a little harsh, but throughout the years, this type of thing has happened, oh, I don't know, 80 to 90,000 times.
But the biggest disadvantage I find in being of an elevated stature is a problem with heel height.
Trust me. If it were acceptable and I wouldn't be looked at as a circus freak, I would wear some of the highest heels possible every day. I would risk foot deformity and varicose veins just to be able to step out in some of the stiletto styles you see today.
But there is barely any middle ground when it comes to heels. As much as I enjoy a nice pair of flats, some outfits just call for heels. And I don't not wear heels. I wear them 90 percent of the time at work because, by choice, I wear a skirt or a dress everyday. I believe I get away with it here because these people have known me for a good seven years. They've grasped the concept that I'm a little taller than most girls so they don't look at me in wonder as I walk through the building - at least I don't think they do.
According to Wikipedia, "Elizabeth Semmehack, curator at the Bata Shoe Museum, traces the high heel to horse riders in the Near East who used high heels for functionality, because they helped hold the rider's foot in stirrups." Throughout history, heels have taken on all kinds of forms from a small kitten heel to a spiked stiletto.
Reasons cited against wearing high heels include foot pain, risk of injury, foot deformities and tendon problems.
Reasons for wearing, if you ask me, are that most other shoe choices are ugly. Yes, they make cute flats, but footwear that lies between high heel and almost flat tend to be a bit matronly.
Heels also make your legs look longer - which may not be something I necessarily need, but an option I'd like to have - and slimmer. They complete dressier outfits and dress up more casual attire.
It used to be a lot less common to see inexpensive, trendy fun heels in stores like Target and Payless, but now, their shoe aisles are adorned with glittering and leopard print platform stilettos galore. And if there's anything I'm a sucker for, it's anything that glitters or is covered in animal print.
I understand not all mid-heel shoes are awful, but they are definitely lacking the variety available in the sky-high-heel world.
So, if there are any cobblers out there any more, I'd like to commission you to give me some attractive heel options that won't be so high as to qualify me to open my own roofing business.
Thanks in advance.
(Jenna Wasakoski, a News-Item editor, is a graduate of Von Lee School of Aesthetics and is certified as a professional makeup artist.)