My Pink Shoes

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I have been on a quest this spring to find the perfect pink shoes. So far I haven’t found them, but I am still looking. There is a particular style of shoe that I am looking for. They need to be a high-heeled sandal with an open toe and thin straps which have a comfortable, snug fit that’s good for dancing as well as walking. They have to be classy and stylish, and not overpowering like the platform shoes of the 70’s.

I am not a shoe fanatic but I do confess to owning more than three pairs of shoes. The most recent pair I bought reminds me of shoes my mother wore in 1966. Pointy toes and three-inch heels were the fashion back then. I have chosen that style to be my evening shoes for more formal attire.

As a 5-year-old girl I would pull out my mother’s shoes while my parents were still sleeping early on Sunday morning. Dressed up in silk scarves and seashell necklaces, I pranced around my room in my mother’s high-heeled shoes. Unfortunately, with my feet being too small to fit my mother’s shoes properly, I tripped and broke the heel. My mother wasn’t too happy about the broken shoes and the repair bill.

Now I am on a pink shoe kick. Spring is the time for sunshine and flowers. Pink is a popular color this season and goes well with flowery skirts and summer dresses. Pink is, after all, a girly color and represents the softer side of red. Pink also denotes romance and charm, and is a more playful and tender color then its primary relative of red, which resembles passion. Other shades for pink are fuchsia, blush, flesh, hot pink, coral, salmon and rose.

Girls seem to instinctively choose pink as their favorite color. I noticed that preference in my girls. Pink or light pastel colors seem to be a natural choice for their accessories and clothes. Pink purses, pink pens and pink hair bows can be found all over their room, and I don’t even suggest that color to them.

But to get back to my pink shoes… I am very happy that I have the option to wear those great summer sandals. Oh, I don’t mind the comfortable Birkenstock shoes or flat loafers. Those do well for casual activities, or when wearing slacks. They just don’t do too well in an outfit that speaks of feminine flair or for enhancing a pretty foot, especially while a woman is still young enough to enjoy that sort of shoe.

Dare I even mention that the shoe doesn’t have to be pink? That is just a personal preference. However, one particular style of shoe can come in several different colors and to match any summer outfit. Wearing an open toed shoe requires a decent pedicure. Playing around with a myriad of nail polish options is fun for girls of all ages. From a natural look to high-powered metallic colors, girls and women can be very creative when it comes to painting our nails.

When I was a child my mother would get me a pair of spring sandals to match my new spring outfit. My mother put a lot of thought into that, and they lasted through the entire season. I never had to wear masculine-looking shoes. She chose clothes and shoes that distinctly represented her children’s gender.

There are people who genuinely believe that there is no distinction between men and women’s feet. Their world consists of such shades of grey (which reminds me that grey and black go very well with pink), that in their view all gender differences get thrown out the window. It’s so very Marxist and reminds me of militaristic societies where gender differences disappear behind a uniform or title. Such a shame!

The black and shiny tuxedo shoes for men are really an asset next to pastel women’s sandals. They complement each other well. It would take the fun out of life if everybody wore the same boring genderless shoes. I wonder if Karl Marx realized that when he was busy trying to eliminate the idea that people possess different skills and talents, and that the different gender roles have a natural foundation.

Oh I admit that I don’t wear my girly-girl outfits every day. I certainly own a couple of pair of blue jeans, two pairs of flip-flops and multitudes of hair clips that I use for damage control when I am having a bad hair day. I also own a really old pair of tennis shoes that I keep for use when mowing the lawn, and an oversized sweater to wear when the weather is a bit too chilly for my liking.

Not every woman can wear a high-heeled shoe. I have several women in my circle of friends with leg and knee problems. This doesn’t prevent them from being feminine though. A pink sweater with a little jewelry can be a nice feminine touch when the shoes don’t work. Their wardrobe choices only underline what their personalities reveal — a sweet and tender heart with a strong and steadfast mind.

I learned from my parents that it was an abomination to go to town in sweat pants. My mother and father really were good role models when it came to grooming. When my mother had to go shopping in town she put on a skirt or nice slacks with a blouse and nice shoes. She’d fix her hair and put on a little lipstick. She always looked good, and still does. She still knows how to wear a shoe well.

The same goes for my dad. He is known for being a good dresser, with little assistance from my mother. He knows how to dress for any occasion and still gets great reviews from all their women friends. Although his hair has turned white now, and he claims 60% of it was due to my teenage years, my dad will always be my hero when it comes to stylish dressing.

Judging from the black and white pictures from his teenage years, he really was a very handsome young man. I’ve seen a picture from 1955 taken as he stood outside my mother’s front door. He looked sharp with his hair slicked back, wearing a suit that rivaled anything Frank Sinatra could have worn. And then there were his shoes! I have never seen dirty shoes on my dad’s feet. He must have learned how to properly shine his shoes during his Bundeswehr days.

I understand that fashions change with the times. And the older people get, the more we may appreciate the style of our parents. Only with age, we may adapt it with a little less resistance and with a lot more insight. By the time one decides to adapt a style of the past, a person has been through enough in life to wear the shoe with greater confidence.

This is where the fun comes in. Being on a quest for a shoe, a purse, a summer dress can really be a great adventure. We begin to recognize our own preferences. Learning how to make decisions along the way will eliminate the hurtful shoes. Then a person begins to value certain characteristics of the shoe that is a reflection of his or her own taste. The end result is having a great shoe that is a truthful expression of an individual’s personal style.

Anyway, I am still looking for my perfect pink shoes. But while I was on the hunt I came across a flowing knee-length skirt, a matching purse and some hot pink nail polish. Trying on shoes with my girlfriends has been great "girly" fun. I have been able to prance around in the store like I did as a child, many years ago on Sunday mornings. Only now I don’t break off the heels.

Sabine Barnhart [send her mail] moved to the US in 1980 and lives in Fort Worth, TX with her three children. For the past 15 years she has been working for an international service company.

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