Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

Hindsight: My Red Mary Janes


red shoeYesterday’s  Daily Post  prompts us to take our very first blog post and re-write it using all the blogging knowledge we have acquired.   I can’t find my very first blog post so I chose the earliest one I could find in my archives — from April 2006.  It was originally posted at Mad Hatter Monday, one of the many blogs associated with the Soul Food Cafe and was based on the prompt: “Everyone has owned or known someone with red shoes. Bear witness and tell your story about a memorable pair of red shoes. You might begin with the phrase ‘I had this pair of red shoes…'”

The first thing I notice is how much my original post sounded like a college essay.  I even cited references.  Over the years, my style has become more casual and chatty and in this re-write I have taken out much of the “scholar-speak” and just let myself use my own voice.

So that being said, here is my revision (even the title is different): 

My Red Mary Janes

I have owned only one pair of red shoes, and I still have them even though they are completely worn out.  They are like many of my other shoes:  simple with no heels.  My red shoes are Mary Janes made of corduroy fabric. I hate breaking in new shoes so when I do manage to get a pair broken in, I wear them until they literally fall apart.  My red shoes are in that condition now with my baby toes pushing through the sides of the corduroy.  They look horrible but I still like to wear them.

Many years ago I knew a woman who was really into shoes.  She typically wore fashionable, high-heeled pumps, narrow and pointy at the toes, Italian-made, and very expensive (she would actually tell me how much she spent on them). They always looked uncomfortable and may account for the pained and pinched look that was often on her face.

I have nothing against people who wear uncomfortable and expensive shoes, but this person actually judged the character of others by the shoes they wore (I kid you not!).  This woman thought that people who wore flat shoes were poor and unfashionable and were, by her standards, people with whom she had nothing in common.   I created a problem for her:  she liked me, but I wore flat shoes.   To make me fit into her “shoe paradigm”, she rationalized that I could not wear high heels because I was “too tall already” (yes, she actually said those words to me.)   Since for her a woman being “too tall” was more objectionable than a woman wearing flats, she tolerated my shoes and continued to keep company with me.

In light of this odd relationship, I am forced to ponder the symbolic relevance of shoes.  I am reminded of some classic stories of girls who wore red shoes.  Most of us know the popular tale of Dorothy and her ruby-red slippers in the film Wizard of Oz. (They were silver shoes in the book version).    Another story,  which I want to look at here, is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes.  In Andersen’s tale, a young girl, whose self-made red shoes are taken from her, disobeys her rich caretaker and wears a different kind of red shoes to church. She is punished for her vanity by being forced to dance in these new red shoes until she repents of her evil ways.

Dr. Estes, the author of the popular book Women Who Run With the Wolves,  states that shoes protecting the feet are symbolic of protecting “mobility and freedom” and to wear another’s shoes or a different kind of shoe is detrimental to the individual by forcing her not to be true to her own nature.

In an attempt to respect my past associate’s taste in shoes, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that in her tall shoes she was able to find her authentic self.   In my ongoing attempt to be true to my own nature, I say I do not need or want expensive spiky high heels — which for me represent superficiality and destructive habits.

I will keep on walking in my tacky, worn out, red Mary Janes.   Thank you very much.

ljgloyd (c) 2012

14 thoughts on “Hindsight: My Red Mary Janes

  1. We do tend to read a lot into shoes, don’t we? And red ones in particular.
    I’m in your corner on this one – my shoes are flats, and tend to be a bit worn, because, yes, that is when they are the most comfortable.

  2. I wear my shoes too until they fall apart. My shoe of choice is Clarks, the slip in style with a low heel, so I must be one of those people. I have only two pair of shoes right now, The one pair is about 20 plus years old and is really in need of being retired. The other pair is about ten years old and is still going strong. I always buy leather and I polish them frequently so they look like new, at least from a distance. I think some loving care helps them live longer. 🙂 One of these days I will have to purchase a new pair so I can retire my oldest foot friends.


  3. #9–looking good, Lori! I’m stuck wearing “nurse” type flat shoes because of my disability. Years ago my mom bought me expensive shoes with a 3/4″ heel which I could manage. The most delicious ones I ever had were Ferrigamo’ s: black suede with a buttery black leather inset and a stack heel.

    My aunt was married to a very jealous man. When she bought a pair of red shoes he made her take them back–only hooker’s wore them! Guess he never saw The Wizard of Oz, lol.

  4. I enjoyed your post very much. Great rewrite. I never even thought of shoes in this way before. I always thought of shoes as a stifling, conformist barrier (for your feet) that is, that the world contradictingly viewed as a “gateway” into proper society. (I’m a slipper and sock person, if you couldn’t tell. *laughs*)

  5. I’m a barefooter at home but out there is nothing like my black mary janes for dress and black echo boots for winter, or my pair of mafisto back sandals in warm weather. I, too, am tall so…I loved this post, Lori!!

  6. I’m from Seattle. We are infamous for wearing ugly shoes. And it’s true!

  7. Pingback: Reflections: In Hindsight, Optimism Prevails… | Mirth and Motivation

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