Killing Julie

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Chapter 14

Primer, by Paxton Robel

August 2011

I'm really starting to think that men are the ones who crave marriage and relationships and that they suckered us women in with some line on our being the weaker sex. Marriage seems to me to be a very expensive, life-shortening experience for women. It looks good on us, but there are a number of things going on that the casual viewer can't see. It reminds me of high heels. They look good on us, too. For the observer, they do the trick: elongate the leg, improve the woman's posture, and make every outfit just a bit more exciting. The added height gives a woman a little prestige, too.

But, much like life, you have things going on that no one can really see.

No one mentions the fact that her toes are perpetually jammed into a pointed space, that her smallest toe sometimes goes numb, and that her calves ache to high Heaven every night. No one really notices how swollen one's ankles can get. And as every woman knows, when wearing shoes that are not-quite-broken-in, you never take them off until the end of the day – otherwise you won't be able to get your foot back in. The more expensive heels, by the way, are typically the more painful.

They do, however, look damn good.

No one tells the hopeful young bride that her needs will be perpetually jammed into a tiny space, overwhelmed by the needs of everyone else. Her emotions will go a bit numb. One has to survive, after all. No one notices swollen ankles, though weight elsewhere is duly noted and whispered upon. As for breaking the marriage in, slipping out too soon makes it much harder to slip back in. Somehow stepping out later in the relationship is more excusable. For some.

Marriage, as far as I can tell by the media, is supposed to make a woman look damn good. We're supposed to be happier, prettier, and more fulfilled then we would be otherwise.

Okay, if you say so.

I need high heels like I need a hole in the head. Tennis shoes are comfy, flat, and much more serviceable. Sandals are even better. And, frankly, bare feet are best.

Flats, I think, are a nice metaphor for friends: there when you need them and always useful. You can slip into shoes as easily as you slip into a conversation with those friends.

Sometimes I have the urge to do damage to my tormenting high heels. Kick them off and say "to hell with it all!” They bring me pain after all, so why can't I retaliate? Okay, probably because they are inanimate objects that won't know I'm handing them over to the neighbor's dog as a chew toy... and especially because those damn shoes usually run $80 and up.

Eighty bucks isn't equal to the $30,000 that most weddings are said to average, but the point is the same: you don't trash things – man or shoe – if they were expensive to acquire. Until you have to, until you’re ready to.

Neither the foot nor soul can take discomfort forever.

Flats are forgiving. They bend with your foot and never squash your toes so completely that a callous develops where two toes almost permanently overlap. While flats can run the same as heels in terms of price, they tend to last longer. I've often re-soled flats. Never with high heels – though I'm sure part of that is due to my tendency to buy into the trendier look with the latter.

Bare feet are best. Naked toes tickled by the grass. At night, mainly in the summer, I sleep with my feet uncovered. I've a little quirk when it comes to bed: I have to have a blanket. It doesn't matter how hot the night is, I have to have a blanket. To keep cool, or to think that I'm keeping cool, I poke my toes out from under the covers. I sleep in tiny nighties all summer, snuggle up under a comforter, and then stick my feet out. It's comfy, trust me.

The point is that bare feet are unadorned. They ask for nothing from anybody. They are themselves alone. An occasional toe ring and pedicure are window dressing. In the end, naked feet are on their own.

I like having naked feet.
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