Monday, 10 December 2007

Shocking Shoe Story

Any man who reads this will think it's a tall tale -- but the truth is stranger than fiction! Names have been changed to protect the guilty; his occupation has been withheld to protect our marriage. Please note that I've even attempted British spelling here, for versimilitude.


A middle-aged man in Scotland has recently made the shocking discovery that he owns more pairs of shoes than his wife.

"I have to say I’m stunned," said Mr Schumann. "Up until very recently I’ve nagged her about her shoe problem. You know how it is with women. They don’t just have a pair of trainers, a pair of wellies, and a pair of dress shoes, do they? It’s sandals and boots and high heels and low heels and every bloody colour and style – and some they only wear a dozen times a year! But then last week we had the builder in to repair the cracks in the conservatory roof. And we had to bring in all the shoes – every single pair." Mr Schumann shrugged and looked at the ground, obviously mortified. "And," he continued, begrudgingly, not meeting the reporter's eye, " it appears that I’ve got more."

Mr Schumann explained that in his line of work, decent shoes are an absolute necessity. He also maintained that his three pairs of sandals are useful in the one-week Scottish summer, given his current employment, and the five pairs of walking boots will come in handy some day should he ever go back to the healthy exercise regimen his wife so eagerly promotes. "The three pairs of slippers and house shoes and six pairs of trainers were all bought on special offer, so they hardly count," he argued, adding that he knew they would most likely come in handy some day, no matter what his wife’s opinion might be.

And he had no way of knowing that the eighteen pairs of high heels spanning every colour of the rainbow, the strap-back beaded fuschia kitten heels, purple Doc Martens, knee-high lemon yellow high-heeled boots, or the violet-and-green snakeskin pumps with ankle strap belonged to his teenaged daughters and not his frumpy middle-aged wife. "Come on," he laughed, "if you've seen one pair of ladies' shoes, you've seen them all!"

"Take my word for it: she’s as shoe-happy as they come," Mr Schumann insisted. "Even if she tells you she bought her last pair of decent shoes three years ago. And she’s hell bent on shopping, too. Right now she’s out window shopping at all the charity shops in Dumfries!’

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22 comments:

Church Lady said...

You need some retail therapy, girlfriend.
;-)

Carole said...

That is absolutely awesome. Great laugh for the day. And I believe so true of so many husbands, who shall not be named.

debra said...

Great story! I am shoe-deprived. I just replaced my Clark clogs (which I had worn for about 8 years. #2 teenage daughter asked why I bought shoes since I already have some.
Go figure!

Carolie said...

Too funny! I love it -- what a darling post!

I am truly not much of a shoe person (I know, traitor to the Society of Women that I am!) but even with my serious dearth of shoes, my husband does not understand why I have three pairs of black shoes -- strappy heels, sensible low-heeled pumps, and ballerina flats. I counter with "well, why do you need four pairs of athletic shoes?"

We roll our eyes at each other and continue on in life, each convinced the other's a little bit of an idiot.

The Anti-Wife said...

I love shoes and have to fight with myself not to buy more. Another brilliant post.

Mary Witzl said...

Church Lady -- Oh no, dear -- remember, I've already had my hour's window shopping at the thrift stores of Dumfries! No more shopping for me!

Carole --The only men who respond here will be the paragons who own only three pairs of shoes. I fear that I will manage to offend them, when it is the blissfully ignorant male Imelda shoe-horses that I am hoping to smite.

Debra -- I am wearing a pair of six-year-old slip-ons that are probably the most comfortable shoes in the world. They look awful, of course, as do the mud-encrusted Josef Seibel's I've had for ages. I am lucky, though: I get friends' cast-offs (which I love). But I also get that 'You have too many shoes!' refrain that grates on my thrifty nerves. I want to be recognized as a shoe-resisting woman of great willpower.

Carolie -- Feel free to print this out and leave it where your good man can see it! My husband read this and laughed -- I give him real credit for that. He can't always take a joke on himself so welll, but he did this one. And it really is true: even he was shocked by how many shoes he had.

I think our problem nowadays is that shoes used to be so much more expensive that most of us could only afford the odd pair. Now that they are so much cheaper, people over-indulge.

Anti-wife -- At least you fight it! I do have friends who give in all too quickly and have racks and racks of shoes. Whenever they become overwhelmed and experience pangs of guilt, they think of me, shameless acquirer of hand-me- downs, and I end up with their impulse purchases. This may be why my husband has this impression of me as a great shoe buyer.

Paul said...

Mary, if I read your post correctly, all Mr Schumann's shoes were bought for a purpose - his work shoes, his holiday sandals, his walking boots, etc. On the other hand, the eighteen pairs of high heels spanning every colour of the rainbow, the strap-back beaded fuschia kitten heels, purple Doc Martens, knee-high lemon yellow high-heeled boots, and the violet-and-green snakeskin pumps with ankle strap were all bought for what they look like. I think sociologists might draw conclusions from that, but I myself couldn't possibly comment . . .

Mary Witzl said...

Paul -- Brave man! You are right: women do tend to buy shoes to make a statement or to go with a particular outfit. What I find amusing is that when we go out, my husband often comments that the shoes I've chosen don't really go with what I'm wearing. This is because I have only a few pairs to choose from, despite his contention that I am a regular fiend for shoes. My daughters' shoe collections, though, have to be seen to be believed.

Christy said...

Ha! Hilarious! If I look around the office, the young single people (male included, mind you) have very fancy shoes, polished to perfection and impeccably matched to their outfits. Those of us who are older, wiser, and with less free time, can be found wearing the same pair of tired black pumps every day.

Ello said...

That's funny! Course, most of my friends laugh at my shoe collection,it's so pitiful...

Kim Ayres said...

Walking boots and... erm... I'm not sure if I have any others. I keep meaning to buy a pair of trainers but never get round to it. Oh yes, I do have sandals, but they were only worn once this summer.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I like the barefoot look, especially on women.

Eryl Shields said...

Ha! I loved this. I recently discovered that my husband has about forty five t-shirts though he only ever seems to wear the three ghastliest ones. And my son has at least tweny pairs of trousers. I have to confess that I probably do have the most shoes. The biggest shoe horder I know is a man, my friend Mark, who has probably two hundred pairs.

Brian said...

The only men who respond here will be the paragons who own only three pairs of shoes.

I possess a couple of others -- worn out trainers and some thongs elsewhere called flip-flops .

I'm with GB -- bare feet are best

Isn't there some highly sexual explanation of the shoe fetish ? I think I read about it years ago when I was devoted to Freud

Sometime I must retail to you the story of the champagne drunk from the muddy gumboot ( or wellington )

patterjack

TIV: the individual voice said...

The problem with shoes is that it's always nice to have new ones before the old ones wear out and as a result, they just accrue. And you do need different ones for different occasions but the more you have, the less worn each is and thus, the problem. I always feel good when I can bring myself to throw out a pair. Hilarious story.

Mary Witzl said...

Christy -- I can remember going all over Yokohama once in my efforts to find a pair of trousers to match a particular jacket. Now, just relating the story horrifies me. The wasted time! The vanity of it! At least I wouldn't do this now -- and I know women older than I who still worry that their bags don't match their shoes.

Ello -- Good for you! I subscribe to the Henry David Thoreau philosophy of wearing things right out, and besides, I'm a closet packrat, both literally and figuratively. I could give your friends something to really laugh at.

Kim -- I am impressed: others should follow your example! My husband's problem is that he can never pass up a bargain. I say that a bargain is only a bargain if you really need the item you are buying, but I am notorious for my tiresome bromides and my pearls of wisdom are often wasted.

GB -- I spent my first two decades largely barefoot and that spoiled me for life. While friends happily strut about in phenomenonally expensive toe-pinching high heels, I'm a great fan of comfortable, ugly shoes. I get their expensive shoes as cast-offs, but hardly ever wear them -- too painful. Shameful, but true.

Eryl -- Come over and we can compare collections some day. I've got a lot -- it's true. But I got almost all of them for free, and my good man really does have more.

Brian -- We called flip-flops 'thongs' too, though if you call them this nowadays, you get snickers and raised eyebrows. We also called them zoris, and they were the only shoes anyone wore in the summmer, though we usually went barefoot by preference.

I don't know about shoe fetishes, but if you ever want to see a funny, brilliantly-acted movie about shoes, go and see 'Kinky Boots.' I have seldom enjoyed a film more.

And champagne out of a muddy gumboot? That's like beer out of a glass slipper! You've got to tell me that story; I'm just hoping the welly wasn't like one of ours: home to a slug or two, almost certainly moldy and fusty if not in constant use, and none-too-fragrant inside. Eww.

Voice -- You are so right. This is exactly my problem: the shoes I've got, while comfortable and too good to throw out, aren't right for a wedding or a graduation, so I go out and buy more. But I cannot bear to throw out my old friends, so the new shoes get bumped up to active duty, while the old ones quietly mold over, and pretty soon I've got too many. When I can finally bear to get rid of a pair of shoes, what a tremendous relief I feel! But I can't do it when I can still remember the good old times we spent together -- it's far too traumatic to part with them then.

Kim Ayres said...

The real basis for me lack of shoes is that I've always had a problem trying to find ones that fit. I have wide feet. Wider than the national average. Wider than most shoe manufacturers can be bothered to make.

Consequently, the amount of hassle I go through each time I need a pair of shoes ensures that I will wear a pair that fits, continually resoling it until it has worn away to nothing, just to avoid going through the humiliation and frustration of trying to find another pair.

debra said...

I would have continued to wear my beloved Clark clogs, but snow was coming in the holes and my feet were getting cold and wet! I wear shoes like I drive cars---until they fall apart!

A Paperback Writer said...

I have a fair number of pairs of shoes, but one problem is that I never wear them out! My shoes last years and years!
I have one pair of dress shoes that I still wear fairly often which I purchased in 1979. no joke. They went out of style and came back in style -- and I still wear them.
I recently threw away two pairs of White Mountain oxfords purchased in 1986, but I felt guilty doing it and pondered just replacing the soles one more time.....
Oh well, I have no man to make fun of how many shoes I have, so it doesn't really matter much, I guess.
I liked your shoe tale, though.

Mary Witzl said...

Kim -- I've got wide feet too. I can still remember a shoe store clerk telling my mother to have me outfitted by the people who shod the Sherman Indian High School; that they were the only ones with shoes for my kind of feet. Years later, I had three Native American friends, and our feet looked amazingly similar. Apparently my feet are the one bit of me that is Mohawk. Wish they could run.

I get my boots resoled on a regular basis, and have one pair that have been resoled in three different countries.

Debra -- I aim to do the same. We've just had the speedometer replaced in our car, and the number of other things we've fixed is too depressing to list. But our car is one of our oldest, dearest friends here, and like our shoes, it gets us places. I'll cry when we finally have to throw it out.

APW -- Good for you, and let's start a club! Until not so long ago, I had a pair of shoes I bought in 1975, though for the past five years they were working purely on an honorary basis as they were falling apart. And my boots, which I still wear, were purchased in 1988. They are cowboy boots, and thus never out of fashion -- or so I tell myself. Someone once told me that if you hold your head high, you can get away with wearing just about anything, no matter how blatantly out of fashion it is. I try to live by this philosophy, though it's easier for me, as I never bought platform heels or any of those ever soon-dated types of shoe.

Kara said...

i can't believe i missed a story about shoes. i feel cheated.

Kanani said...

Ha ha ha! Oh, I love it.