If the Shoe Fits
I wrote previously about wearing my Grandmothers shoes when I was younger playing dress-up which got me thinking about the role of shoes in the life of a trans person. When starting out and not going beyond the bounds of your bedroom or house the shoe seems to be a luxury. At that stage the critical feminine attire is the lovely feminine under garments, dress and stockings or tights. Bras can be stuffed with all manner of objects including reasonably realistically water filled balloons (yes true!). Probably using borrowed items or some of your own highly treasured but small well secreted clothing shoes just don’t seem that high on the list. A wig, much more difficult to acquire when starting out would be much higher on the Mother Christmas list believe me.
But as the frequency and experience with dressing goes and as breast forms and wigs are added to your ever burgeoning list of feminine accoutrement the attention is drawn to shoes. Around this time you may well be with a partner and the stereotyped but I think broadly true generalisation of girls and their fixation with shoes poses a real dilemma. Let’s face it as blokes we don’t like shopping for clothes least of all shoes. Shopping centres seem to be awash with shoe shops when you’ve just popped in to buy a t shirt. However the inner girl quite likes being ‘dragged’ into the shoe shop and herein lies the dilemma. Firstly you have to feign slight annoyance to ensure your delight isn’t spotted. Then there is the degrees of separation agreement. This is a comfort level established quite soon in a relationship which provides the degree to which each party is happy to have the other half wander off. It’s not about control – it’s a practicality although the mobile phone has helped in latter years. Aisle hunting in Coles is many minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Assuming you have a pretty wide range the shoe shop is still tricky terrain. If you do wander off what are you wandering off to look at? It’s not JB Hifi! Still the opportunity does arise and I more often than not take it to wander down the sexier end (measured by the height of the heel).
If you are tactile like me you must be careful not to be caught leaning out and grabbing the stiletto. Daydreaming doing this takes a lot of explaining to the sales person, your partner or both at the same time. One can only dream but the fixation does take hold. Wouldn’t a lovely pair of shoes just finish the ensemble and the total feminised you is complete? The issue with shoes, unlike the purchase of lingerie, clothing or makeup is one of no real plausible deniability. If you want a pair that fit you need to try them on. There is no sanctuary of the changing room this is real out there brazen stuff. There are only so many occasions where you can say it’s for a fancy dress party. Besides which you generally need a size (length and width) matching a male foot. Hard to come by.
And then the day arises when you get to slip on a pair of shoes that actually fit you for the first time. It’s a red letter day for sure. By now if you are like me the rest of the attire is familiar. That doesn’t mean the frisson of lovely lingerie nestled gently against your skin doesn’t act as a constant gentle reminder of your femineity lying just beneath the surface. Or the look you give yourself in the mirror beautifully made up with the real inner you on outward display. But something quite visceral happens when shoes are pulled on and you admire yourself in the mirror. While you do expect to look like a total woman for the first time what you probably don’t if you are like me is to see your physical form change in such a significant way. Many men have a musculature to their legs best suited to showing off while mowing the lawns. Even putting stockings on in stocking feet improves that look only by a bit. In shoes those legs go from mediocre to magnificent. From that point on you and Amelda Marcos have a lot more in common than you ever previously imagined. No trip to a shoe shop is ever the same again.
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