Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Tonight I am going to a movie premiere. It will be full of movie stars and Hollywood bigshots. The after party will be held at the fancy (pronounced fan-say) Roosevelt Hotel. There will be paparazzi, adoring fans lining the red carpet, and most importantly, an open bar. Last night I realized that in order for lil’ ol’ me to fit in with all of this fabulousness and glamour, I’d need to make some serious preparations.

So I made a trip to the ultra-hip Payless Shoesource in Burbank.

With a new pair of shoes, however potentially cheap-looking, I could spruce up my boring black dress. (Also referred to as my “nice dress,” which in worn approximately once every 2 years, whenever I have to go any place where a pair of stretched out jeans and pilled polyester Forever 21 shirt are not allowed.)

Although I was tired from a longer than usual day of work, the promise of a new pair of shoes –plus a second pair at ½ off! –gave me a second wind. I think I was actually smiling as I walked into the store.

Now I know Payless does not have the best reputation. And I admit it’s a little weird that shoes and brunch are the same price. But I know plenty of people who shop there. People who don’t otherwise give off a “cheap-plastic-shoe-sewn-by-southeast-Asian-orphans” vibe. Yet, every time I shop there, the place is not full of young, fashion forward professionals. Rather, it’s full of moms with young kids who could care less about what shoes they’re wearing (I guess I’m referring to both the moms and the kids here).

All in all, my mission last night did not go well. Payless had plenty of casual shoes, and work shoes, but the selection of formal shoes was abysmal. It didn’t help matters that I was trying them all on while wearing those little pantyhose looking socks they provide for you. I’ve always called them peds, though I don’t have any real reason to believe that’s what they’re called. Is that their real name? Anyway, they make it impossible to seriously consider a shoe because they look like sagging support hose and turn every foot into an old lady foot. But I really didn’t want to take the “peds” off, merely out of consideration for my fellow shoppers because my feet were nasty, sweaty stinkbombs after a whole day of being crammed into ballet flats. Honestly, the power of my workday foot odor never ceases to amaze me. And I know I’m not alone. It’s because you can’t wear any nice work shoes with socks. I don’t know why socks stop feet from smelling but they do.

But ballet flats are the biggest cause of foot stank. They are made usually of synthetic material that doesn’t breathe at all. And then the bottoms don’t have that nice spongy insole that sneakers do. Ballet flat bottoms are like smooth and shiny, so there is nowhere for the sweat to go, and then your poor foot just slides around inside, all the while producing more sweat.

Okay, so with formal footwear off the table, I decided to switch gears and shop for something else. Since I’ll be going back to the east coast for Christmas, I thought I’d get some nice boots to wear. And somehow things just get even worse here. May I present the oddity that Payless calls The Bootine.
WTF? This looks like what I draw on my stick figures when I want them to have shoes.

Moving on, I was drawn to a pair of almost knee-high gold boots. Well, a dark gold. Old gold. Iridescent brown. I know, this sounds awful. But, they weren’t that bad.

I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my sister. She never responded. But, while waiting for her to respond, I had time to think of all of the criticisms she may have about these boots. And then I too grew very critical of them. Really, gold boots? I made a mental list of people who have any business wearing gold boots.

1. Drag queens
2. Strippers
3. Superheroes
4. David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust years

I don’t really fit into that list so I abandoned ship on the gold boots. Instead, I ended up with a comfortable, foot-colored pair of shoes suitable for work. With their sweat absorbing insoles and breathable canvas material, I’d put them at about a 6 on the foot stank potential scale.

When I go to the premiere tonight, I’ll be wearing a pair of shoes that I’ve had for about 2 years. They are black and plain. What’s worse? I actually POLISHED them last night. Ugh, it’s so lame. I don’t think anyone but wealthy businessmen of olde timey days should be polishing their shoes.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know if anyone looks at my feet and laughs. Or spills a martini on them, resulting in shoepolish runoff and a sludgy black puddle.

[Side note: When I was retrieving the picture of the gold boot from my phone, I came across a picture I took to send to my sister this weekend of the bottom of my shoe after I’d stepped in a giant heap of dog poo. (I know, gross.) This reminded me that when I got home that day, I left the pooey sneaker outside of my front door. This means it’s just been sitting in my courtyard for like 4 days. Whoops, sorry neighbors!]

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