Men are like Shoes

Date posted: October 1, 2006


I have never faced such a writer's block since I started writing. For the first time I feel empty – 100% empty. There is a huge void in the center of my body; I have no feelings, no passion, no ideas, no thoughts, no drive, and no life. I am a drained air-vacuumed sac of human bones! Last month was very tough. I do not know how I manage to get hit by a bus every March … yes … again … I am heartbroken! But this time I am comfortably numb about it. I am just eternally grateful for having a consuming career, great friends, and two adorable cats who always manage to put a smile on my face.

All it took to unblock my writer's block was an email from a friend who was trying to cheer me up. I opened the email and found a song attached with a note wishing me a quick recovery and a big hug. I downloaded the song and played it as I flipped though some dusty letters that have been on my desk for a week. My eyes widened and my limp body began showing signs of life again as I heard Shania Twain say "It's amazing what a little polish'll do: Men are like shoes." I pushed the stop button and then I replayed the song, this time giving it my full attention.

"Men are like shoes, made to confuse … I don't know which ones to choose … some you wear in, some you wear out, and some you wanna leave behind … some make you feel ten feet tall, some make you feel so small … and some you wanna leave out in the hall or make you feel like kicking the wall … Some clean up good, just like new… some you can't afford, some are real cheap… Some are good for bumming around on the beach … I ain't got time for the flip-flop kind… Men are like shoes." The song goes on listing the types of "shoes" and the analogy between men and shoes just brightened my dreary day.

I needed to hear this; someone, or something, had to remind me of who I am and what I always stood for. Shania Twain woke me up from my long tame sleep. I have known him for a year now where he started as a compromise on my side. Suddenly, over the few months that followed, he deteriorated from jerk to caveman to Murphy's Law to Santa's bad gift, and finally he became my dragging boyfriend. I settled for the very wrong pair of shoes; uncomfortable from the start, though highly maintained, they lost their allure as time passed, and I realized that I have invested a fortune of emotions into a fake, yet well polished pair of mismatched sneakers.

The design of this ungodly footwear always set me off balance; I tripped on every stone and landed on my face, on my knees, or on my back many a time. Such shoes should come with a warning: "For short walks only". Silly me, I thought I was taking a lovely walk in a green park when I brilliantly exhausted my feet taking long painful strides on a treadmill that got me nowhere; no matter how long I walked, it only got me an arms length far. All the effort I put in was recorded on the calorie scale but never showed on the distance counter. I kept coming back to the frustrating square one!

It is normal to pick up the wrong type of shoes every now and then, all women do that; but only smart women give a wrong pair away. The rest of us hold on to even the ugliest flip-flops out of the fear of walking barefoot. We would pile up old shoes and unwanted slippers to save face on a day when we have nothing to wear. I preferred to be with a man who made me feel like a big nothing than to be alone. From the start, I accepted his bad moods, destructive phases, sudden disappearances, unjustified aloofness, and patronizing attitude. He took me for granted and I have no one else to blame but myself.

My attitude was a clear "It's OK to hurt me" sign. I gave him permission to take me for one ride after the other, allowed him to step allover my ego, and blessed his devilish arguments to keep myself trapped in his dungeons. I thought I was stuck in shoes that constantly hurt my toes while all my friends clearly saw that I was walking barefoot on eggshells. Finally I ended it; with tears rolling down my cheeks, I tossed the annoying shoes out of the car window when I was driving home after my last meeting with him. I painfully sobbed not knowing what hurt more; my feet, my head, or my heart? I was just hurting allover.

I have not seen him in a couple of months and I missed him. I missed his smile; longed to see him moving his fingers through his hair; needed to look into his eyes; yearned to have a physical place in his energy field. Though they were all what he wanted, phone calls were not enough for me. We talked daily for many hours on the phone; chatted about common friends, childhood stories, fears, theories, jokes, dreams, and ghosts – yes, right, ghosts! People thought we did not meet because I was always busy; truth is: he did not care to see me. I turned my eyes away from this fact for a very long time, it was about time I faced the truth!

That night I was not in the best of moods; I felt bloated, ugly, and blue. I summoned all my guts and half of my strength, called him on the way home from an outing I escaped, and suggested we meet. He told me he woke up on the wrong side of the bed too but generously Bacchus agreed to see me. I was disappointed that he did not show more eagerness to meet up but I swallowed the bitterness and went. Still tears replaced the smile the minute my eyes met the cold stiff look in his eyes. A sharp pain seized me but, like a brave girl, I greeted him with a faint voice and put on a natural casual look hoping that things will get better.

I was with him yet I never felt more distant; his vibes were cold, his face was expressionless, his eyes were avoiding me, and I did not see one smile crossing his face in the two hours that I was with him. I was fighting back tears as I told him that he reminded me of my big useless recliner at home. My words were met by a sarcastic look and no words. I decided to leave, I knew what was coming next and I wanted to be alone when I fell apart. He courteously asked me to stay but I did not feel a shred of sincerity in his words. I insisted on leaving and he let me go not knowing that this was the last time he was ever going to see me.

On the way home he called me but I was already a nervous wreck. The moment he talked about his god-knows-what phase and how he needed a friend at the moment, I lashed out telling him that it was always about him and his moods, needs, and phases. At the back of my mind I thought of how it was never about me; how I have been so unfair towards myself. I accepted a lot of baloney hoping that the tight uncomfortable shoes would loosen up and fit me better; what a dreamer! If the mold is a misfit, the design is ugly, and there is no quality in the finishing, a wrong pair of shoes will be nothing but a pain in the toes! I told him that I will never forgive him for insulting me that way, asked him to never ever call me, ended the conversation, and threw him and everything he stood for out of the window.

Summer is approaching and I certainly do not want my summer sandals to show my swollen toes, bloodshot nails, and cracked heels. I would not be able to wear neither my flirty ankle-straps nor my favorite stilettos with twisted ankles and lost balance. Let's give these feet a break; let them heal after such a long walk in the wrong pair of shoes. I need sole and soul therapy to mend the feet and the heart, and the song goes on: "Tell me about it … Ooh! Men: have you ever tried to figure them out? Huh, me too, but I ain't got no clue: how about you? … You've got your kickers an' your ropers, your everyday loafers, an' some that you can never find. You've got slippers an' your zippers, your grabbers and your grippers, an' man, don't you hate that kind? … Sometimes you hate 'em, an' sometimes you love 'em, I guess it all depends on which way you rub 'em, But a girl can never have too many of 'em."

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