for some, life is about extremes. i am one of these individuals. i am a one percent-er in many aspects of my life. this is tale of one small aspect of my life, my feet.
imagine if every united states department store didn’t carry your shoe size. imagine if every shoe store didn’t as well. imagine if even specialty shoe stores didn’t carry your shoe size. what would you do?
i was essentially shut out from almost the entire retail market. they didn’t want me. apparently, there was simply not a demand for filling the needs of really really small feet.
i am cursed with both small and narrow feet. men’s size five shoes are almost non-existent in the united states. the few that are available do not address narrow feet. thus, even the specialty market have shut me out.
my adulthood, in part, has been dedicated to the search for footware. perhaps, this was a curse handed down from my grandfather who was a cobbler. maybe he was a little too rough on the shoes that he repaired?
this search has been one long strange trip. at times, the journey led me to the children’s shoe section in department stores. there, an epic humiliation took place with my girlfriend present. purchasing a paid of shoes from the nordstrom’s “big boys” section was not a highlight moment in my life. even the nordstrom’s sale clerk took humor in my “big boy’s” section purchase. yes. a middle aged professional man was forced to wear “big boy’s shoes” to court. this fact was not lost on many. oh! the mockery.
children’s shoes, however, has both quality issues and are not narrow. they were not a good fit for me. the mission was not accomplished. the trek for footware continued.
out of desperation, i ventured into the women’s shoe section of a department store. a bargain shopper, i hit the sales’ racks. within the multitude of high heels, pumps, flats and mules, i was able to find “gender neutral” shoes in my size, women’s size 6, with such styles as penny loafers or oxfords. they worked because of their narrowness. again, there is nothing more wonderful than trying on women’s shoes in the women’s section. oh, brother! mediations of “this shall pass” played in my mind.
over the years, women were taken aback by seeing me in their section. this has changed over time. with the push on trans rights, women appear to be cautiously less judgmental when they have seen me present.
my search for the promised land finally ended….
we ventured into a boat store and they carried shoes that were a blast from the past. in the the age of preppie, sperry topsiders ruled. the sperry brand, which is known for boat shoes. feeling nostalgic, i tried on a “women’s” pair. it was as if cinderella tried on the glass slipper. i was now a finally a full fledged adult with a real pair of shoes. not long after, i discovered their website with an extensive women’s section. a decades long search had come to the end.
in sum, i hope you enjoyed the tale of the struggles of a one percen-ter. in reality, however, we are all one percent-ers. each and every individual carries with them unique and personal life struggles. often, we are so caught up in our own problems that we fail to appreciate that each human brings to the table truly unique individual experiences. what we truly share in common is that each and every one of us is unique. each person has something special about themselves.
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