Mama’s Ready For The No-Frump Pumps

There’s something about a pair of red shoes. Heels.  The right pair sends a message.  I’m not scared of being seen.  I am alive.  Sometimes, I actually have sex.

I have the perfect pair.  I fell in love with them in 2008 when I bought them.  I wore them exactly once: on November 28, 2008, I slipped them on, shimmied into a new BCBG dress, and floated through  my rehearsal dinner on a cloud of love, wonder, and first-trimester pregnancy hormones.

Seven months later I became a mother, and I lost track of my red shoes.  What do I need with shoes like that anyway?  Sure they were versatile, but they wouldn’t work at the park or Gymboree.

Eventually, another  member of my household co-opted them, crystallizing my feeling that they were no longer “me.”

Someone was enjoying them.

At least someone has been enjoying them.

One day I’ll get back to those I promised myself.  One day I’ll be a woman who wears red heels.

But there was always a reason to shove them to the back of the closet and find a nice staid pair of black shoes. Something stylish, but infinitely more sensible in case there was ice or gravel or the need to break into a full-speed sprint. It’s Chicago, so you never know.

I always knew they were there, though.  They emitted a secret heat, radiating from the back of my closet.  As I sifted through my clothes, I’d sometimes catch a glimpse of their satiny sheen.  What are you waiting for? they questioned.

But the time was never right. I wanted to wait– until I found the perfect jeans or had a fancy wedding to go to or my bangs grew out or we solved global warming.  I was waiting for my weight to fall, my fortunes to rise and the weather to turn.

But the longer I waited for my Gap “loungewear” to make me feel that certain sparkly specialness, the farther away I felt.  I had bought a one-way ticket to frumpdom and couldn’t seem to escape.

What’s it gonna take? I wondered.

My mind alighted on those shoes. Maybe on Saturday night for Jeff’s birthday dinner.  No! Immediately, a series excuses flashed through my mind.

You need a pedicure.

It’s too cold.

The restaurant is too casual.

You’re too old.

You’ll look like a character from Mama’s Family– that white trash Naomi.

I let each excuse make a case for “NO” but slipped my feet in anyway.  I ignored my raggedy toe nails and pretended my jeans were the perfect length for 3-inch heels.

It's mama's turn

It’s mama’s turn

I made it down the flight of stairs where Jeff was waiting for me.  As we strolled to the restaurant hand-in-hand, I ignored the fact that we would have dinner while the sun was still up and we’d be back in time to put our kids to bed.

This counted as a night on the town, and I was wearing my red shoes.  The wait was over.


71 thoughts on “Mama’s Ready For The No-Frump Pumps

  1. When I move back to the city, I’m making you drag those babies out! I love heels but then again, mine taunted me for years too, until I finally put then back on. Seem like I’m only in gym shoes or heels these days.

  2. Awesome post that’s really about so much more than shoes. Love the red shoes but I could never walk in shoes that high – I’m lame. I’m getting it on with boots these days, and after that it’s gonna be FitFlops. But I love how you got a piece of your former glory back by wearing them again. Hope they are permanently out of retirement 🙂

  3. In the words of the immortal Carrie Bradshaw, “Hello, Lover!”. Perfect occasion to break out those lovelies. I’m inspired.

  4. I’m inspired too! And those shoes are gorgeous! I feel the same about my tall black high heel boots – never quite the right time to wear them, but when I pulled them out to go to a function with Mike a couple weeks ago, I felt hot and sexy and seen. Good stuff. Great post!

  5. Yay to just pulling out the sexy and wearing it!! i can’t tell you how many things i have that i’m waiting to use… i don’t even think i’m waiting to use them anymore, actually, i think now they’re just sentimental old new things. you’ve inspired me to bring the sexy back. maybe.. 😉

  6. Oh, you write about red shoes and I write about a red coffee maker. Red is a powerful thing, eh?

    Loved this and love red. And love you.

    • I thought that too. REd is a power color. Tiger wears red on Sunday and the president wears red when he meets with asshole dictators. Red rules. And so do you.

      On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 10:47 AM, Outlaw Mama

  7. You express in this what many of us go through. An up and down of feeling sexy and able to balance (in heels?) My ‘red heels’ are a black shiny pair with ankle straps.

  8. Those shoes are BEAUTIFUL! I love that you took the chance to wear them again-if only for a little while! I wore a pair of red shoes to my high school graduation. I am definitely a comfort and function over fashion when it comes to shoes kind of gal.

  9. I am the frumpiest shoe-wearer EVER. My 18yo daughter even helped my husband pick out “the perfect pair” of high heeled cowgirl boots (more fashionable than actual COWgirl boots, which I don’t wear either) and I’ve worn them… twice. I need to get over it! lol

  10. When I went back to work after kid #1, I found myself wearing high heels more frequently to work – and my black motorcycle boots, and then high heeled black suede boots and then….I gotta tell you. Heels are powerful. Not sure that it’s just the redness of those heels…it’s just the heeliness of the heels: they say “don’t fuck with me.” Or, of course, they might say “you wish you could…” But anyway. Yes, A powerful signifier. Freud thought shoes were about sex – but of course, he thought everything is about sex (was he wrong? really, was he?) … so I say wear those red shoes and Chicago winters be damned. And think about your next purchase being a pair of Condi Rice black dominatrix boots (but without her politics) … because they you can strut AND not freeze off your tootsies.

  11. Those red shoes are HOT!! Wear them more often!
    I’ve gotten way too used to my sneakers and uggs in the last few years. I’m a little worried about my return to real shoes, but in a way I’m kind of looking forward to adult shoes again!

  12. Those are great looking shoes. I have kind of opted out of high heels because I’m tall and don’t wear them much and when I do I feel like a teetering, gawky mess. But there are clothes in my closet. Tops and dresses that I never wear. Saving them for a special occasion. It’s too sexy, too dressy. What if I wear it now and then the perfect thing is two weeks from now and everybody has already seen it. (see worried about what others think of me.) I think you’re right. Things need to be worn and not tucked away. If we are always waiting for the right time — they will sit there forever.

    • It’s true. The heels are a metaphor but I Have lots of stuff that I sit on and next thing I know, 5 years have gone by and it’s rotting in my closet and no longer in style. I’m a work in progress.

  13. Those are wonderful shoes! I had a pair of patent leather fake-crocodile-pattern three-inch-heels that I LOVED – I kept them until last spring. 15 years after buying them. They were still gorgeous. I finally sold them for $10 at a garage sale because the two kids had made my feet spread enough that the shoes were no longer mine. S’okay. I got a super-cute pair of green platform mary janes a couple of months ago. Now I love them best.

    Great story of what goes around comes right back around, baby!

  14. yeah, I totally love those red shoes. if my feet didn’t ache just looking at them I would be dreaming of them tonight. not sure I’ll ever get back in shoes like that – stupid plantar faciitis!! (in both feet)

  15. You go with your bad self in those red MF’ing shoes!! Also, love this refernence: “You’ll look like a character from Mama’s Family– that white trash Naomi.” The well-placed Mama’s Family reference = gold.

    • As a kid, I loved her. The high pony tail, the tight halter tops. She was my first fashion icon, which says a great deal about me. Nothing good, but a great deal.

  16. You have no idea how much I like your shoes! Although red is can be a loud color and sometimes is useful in making a statement and I practically scared of the color hence; I like the fact that you did in fact put the apprehension aside and wore them for however long you did. Such little acts, once in a while do leave you a little happier. Nice post again. 🙂

  17. It’s amazing how something small like that can carry so much weight. I have a box of heels and I find myself thinking the same thing–there will be a time. There will be a place. It will be when…what? I don’t know because I haven’t put them on. This makes me want to just do it! Maybe, um, after the whole pregnancy and swollen feet thing. And also after the period when I go out and still look pregnant from the baby I just had…yeah. So some day I’ll do this. SOME DAY.

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