Tis the Season for...Fight Shoes

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The cutest pair of shoes I own are a pair of silver Brian Atwoods
with four-inch heels. I don't know from Brian Atwood, but the lady at
the store that sold them to me told me he was "all the rage." When I saw
the price, I understood the "rage" part. Fortunately, the pair that
caught my eye had already been worn. Only once. By a little old lady to
church on one Sunday. Well, no. Actually they were worn only once by a model
in a fashion show and therefore, I received quite a price break. The
saleslady told me they were runway shoes. Cool, I thought. Runway

These days, I call them my Fight Shoes. Not
because I believe that, with the correct amount of torque, I could
skewer the worthiest of opponents with an appropriately placed
roundhouse, but because every time I wear them, anywhere, my husband and
I finish the evening with a fight.

My pair of silver Brian Atwoods, with four-inch heels, make my feet hurt. A lot.

more of a Keds kind of girl, the same dialogue runs through my head
every time I pull them out of my closet. (Picture a Good Shoe Angel on
one shoulder and an Evil Shoe Devil on the other.)

Good Shoe Angel: "Don't wear those shoes! They're impractical!"

Evil Shoe Devil: "Yeah, but they're sooo cute!"

Shoe Angel: "They make your feet hurt and when your feet hurt, you get
crabby and dare I say it, sometimes even--unreasonable."

At this I gasp: Unreasonable? Moi?

Evil Shoe Devil: "Yeah, but they're sooo cute!"

Shoe Angel: "It doesn't matter how good they look, or how well they go
with your outfit, you know by the end of the night you'll end up in some
dumb fight with your husband, about him walking too fast, or making you
walk too far or not hailing a cab quickly enough."

Evil Shoe Devil: "Yeah, but they're sooo cute!"

for who triumphs on any given night, all the smart money should be on
Evil Shoe Devil, which now that I think of it, would be a good name for a

On the evenings that Evil Shoe Devil does
triumph, said pair of silver Brian Atwoods wait by the front door, the
very last thing I put on before we leave. And when I put them on, they
do look fabulous. They make me feel fabulous--the way they lengthen my
legs, accentuate my calf muscles and finally, for once, put me eye to
eye with my husband. I continue to feel fabulous wearing them for ten,
maybe fifteen steps. That's all it takes before the pressure on the
balls of my feet is extreme, my arches are in flames and I can't feel my
toes anymore. By then, I'm already anticipating the 3 a.m. wake-up
call, when the aforementioned calf muscles twist themselves into vicious
knots and seize up my legs with brutal cramps.

Each time I strap them on, I tell myself, Tonight
will be different. I will be calm and rational despite my pain.
"Fight Shoes" is a misnomer, nothing more than a silly superstition.

Yet my Fight Shoes have caused me to dance shoeless at weddings and
walk barefoot through Lincoln Park. Less acceptably, they've also
caused me to screech at my poor husband like a menopausal fishwife when
he allowed a cab driver to drop us at the corner instead of right in
front of the door.

Whenever we're preparing for
one of our precious evenings out, the look of dread in his eyes is
unmistakable when he spies the Fight Shoes waiting next to the front

"Not those," he says.

I want to tell him, tonight will be different, that "Fight Shoes" is a misnomer, a silly superstition.

I stand there before them--torn between my kind, loving husband and my
sexy pair of shoes. In the end, all I can manage is a pre-emptive
apology and the words, "Yeah, but they're sooo cute!"

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