Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shoes of Power

Women's high-heel shoes make a lot of noise. I was downtown tonight and a woman three buildings away came out the door of her building. She was at least two-hundred feet away from me, but the sound of her footsteps were as clear as if she were six feet away.

It's a ubiquitous sound, that tok-tok-tok-tok of women's high heels. We almost cease to acknowledge it, but when the normal sounds of the city die down, it becomes much more noticeable.

It cant be comfortable wearing these shoes, with gravity pushing your toes into a point like that. High heels add considerably to one's height and they say it's sexy in the way they make legs look longer and force the body into a boobs and butt out posture, but I have to wonder if that sound isn't part of the appeal.

There has to be a sense of power when just the sound of your footsteps on a hard surface carries as far, if not farther than your voice could. They announce a woman's arrival, like a herald with trumpet. "Lady with heels, commin' through!"

Men's shoes don't normally make nearly that much noise, but that doesn't mean men haven't noticed the power of audible footsteps. Germany's Goose-Steppers were some of the most famous soldiers in history. Their marching was completely useless in modern warfare, but in a parade before the citizens, the sound of their marching must have been both thrilling and terrifying.

You never see a woman in sweat-pants and a knit-cap wearing heels. She has to have the whole package, hair, makeup, outfit, nails and jewelry in place before adding the pièce de résistance, the stiletto heels!

The woman I heard tonight, when I actually could see her, was actually very petite, maybe five feet tall and not much more than a hundred pounds. In normal clothes and normal shoes you probably wouldn't even notice her, but wearing the shoes of power and a business suit, she was something to behold.

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