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By B.E.

I am a girl who has spent the majority of her existence fighting against all that is conventional and expected from said gender, but I’ll admit: I like shoes. I own 2 or 3 pairs that have been worn enough to justify the expense of their purchase. In more recent years I have become a big fan of the ankle boot. Slightly more secure on my foot than a stiletto coupled with the comfort of knowing I need not worry as to whether my ample calf can fit, as is the case with the knee high boot.

With the weather now changing, spring wardrobes are coming out from the back of their closets. The neglected garments emerge with deeply settled creases and the faint sent of moth balls and stale air, ready to once again hit the streets and show themselves in all of their brightly colored glory.

Bare legs and exposed shoulders flooded the streets of midtown last week. Defeated urbanites weighed down by wool coats, scarves and winter boots for the eternity of winter have finally been freed, displaying hidden waistlines and hips. Pedestrians greeted with the sweet rays of sunshine on their pasty and equally creased faces.

The spring awakening means many things. Flowers begin to bloom, bistros drag their umbrella’d tables onto the uneven sidewalks, and women trade in their riding boots for the high heel. From Manolos to the sensible pump (a subject on which I could pontificate eternally), no matter which elevated footwear the woman chooses, she is subjecting herself to the water boarding of the fashion world. Although more socially acceptable than ancient torture techniques, the high heel is a socially sanctioned form of agony and I am here to ask why?

Sure, legs look longer and figures leaner and I will be the first to admit for a number of ensembles, it is the only acceptable option. That being said who decided that women needed to squeeze their feet into binding patent leather and misplaced strappy sandals on stilts and then walk around as if they are actually 3 inches taller? My choice of the ankle boot is perhaps the most comfortable option but it is far from walking on a bed of clouds.

I too succumbed to the warm weather and abandoned the sausage casing known as nylons and went barelegged and high heeled last week. I felt fantastic. I was doing my best Tony Manero strut, despite the fact that it was not Saturday night and I did not have a fever. This exuberance waned by about 4pm and as the sun began to set so did my will to live. I couldn’t think or speak or walk another foot. I opted to hail a cab at the epicenter of loitering, Union Square and commissioned a father of 2 from Bangladesh to carry me many miles (and many dollars) uptown all so I could peel off the big, black contraptions and rue the day they were conceived.

Now, it is a fact that I looked fantastic that day. And it is a fact that I love those shoes, however, it is just as true that, much like a lover scorned, I am going to need some time to heal before I can again partner with those godforsaken high heels. And next time I do I am fairly certain I will, once again ask, why do women wear high heels?

B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.

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