I would like to meet an average girl. An all-around average one. I never have, and can’t say I’m convinced they exist.
I do not have the good fortune to be an average girl, you see. A bit too short, a bit too pear-shaped, shoes that better fit the boxes than their contents… What fits me is on the fringe. Hell, even my hair insists on being difficult by being ridiculously fine.
Same with my friends. Too tall here, too petite there. No boobs, big boobs. No bum, a trunk fulla junk. Teeny tiny feet, or approaching sizes for which you have to wrestle drag queens to get the good merchandise.
And yet, the retail world seems convinced average girls exist. Overwhelmingly that’s who they advertise to and stock for. And man, those average girls have some great variety of choice. Us non-average girls? Half a rack. In the back. In flesh tone.
When you are not average, you are dunked repeatedly in the frustration of trying to be average, to live up to the social expectation that you will appear average. You will not, however, be given access to the resources necessary to pull this off, as I have noted.
I suppose if we were all fabulously rich, we could just keep haute couture designers in our pockets and sketch our our whims on cocktail napkins, to be lovingly crafted from gossamer and spider silk by industrious pixies, or however the hell that industry works.
However, I ramble. The point of this is, amazingly enough, that sometimes you get surprised. You will uncross your fingers long enough to slip something on, and you will open your eyes and… voila. You are an average girl.
You are glam.
As background, I am going to be a bridesmaid in Other Sherry’s wedding in the fall. We were impressively lucky in the dress-buying category, particularly considering all three of us are completely different sizes and colouring, and there’s a 15-year age range. However, that left shoes, which we had to figure out on our own.
Remember the shoe box feet? Right. Triple that sentiment for shopping for dress shoes. Because women’s dress shoes are meant to make your feet look sexy, minimization is key — of the amount of material, of the size of your foot, etc. Big, flat, wide feet do not lend themselves well to either minimal amounts of material nor to visual sleight of foot attempts.
To say I wasn’t looking forward to this task would be a mild understatement…
So I decided to be creative. Attempt to forgo the inevitable mall miseries and try my luck online. Enter Zappos Canada. (I had a great experience buying Mom’s Christmas slippers with them, and they allow you to search for lots of parameters, including W I D E, bless ’em.)
And verily did I search for black, medium-heeled, wide width dress shoes. And lo, I found some I liked, that were sexy, and that came in “special needs” width. I said a little prayer and entered my Visa number…
A few days later they arrived, and I removed them from the box with trepidation. My history doesn’t give me innate confidence in experiments like this working, and the widest width the shoes came in was EE. I’ve never had my feet measured (at least not as an adult), so I didn’t know if that was correct or not.
I uncrossed my fingers, slid them on my feet, buckled the strap, and… they fit. Perfectly they fit. No pinching, no digging, no rubbing. And they have a plastic panel across the instep. (Women will understand why this makes the miracle of their comfort level extra amazing.)
And so I took a test stroll around the apartment. Success. Then I took a test strut, adding in a test sashay right at the end. Success. I made have done a little test dancing. Great success.
So you see, ladies and gentlemen, the moral of the story is that yes, it is possible, once upon a time, if you are a very good girl with a credit card, to be average.