At the height of power!
Height equals power and if you are not born an Amazon, you learn other ways of increasing your length, whether it be with your hair, shoes, or both. On the other hand, petite women usually grow in personality and are the envy of many statuesque romantics who dream of being whisked off their feet.
New York City is a dog eat dog world and height gave me an added feeling of security and confidence. There was nothing that I loved more than watching those Wall Street business men, with chips all over both shoulders, saunter into the train and stand in front of where I was sitting. The look on their faces when I would stand up and their eyes would follow my ascent way past their heads was so tickling that it still makes me giggle at the memory.
Height overcomes many shortcomings, no pun intended. Italians believe it makes you more attractive. There is a saying in Italy, L’altezza è mezza bellezza. which implies that the taller you are the more beautiful you seem. This may be due to Italy being the shortest country in Europe with the average height of a man ranging from 5’5 to 5’7. I wonder what they think of height in Holland, the tallest country in Europe whose average height for men is over 6 feet. In America, taller men earn $1000 a year more per inch above the average height. My friend used to laugh at snobs by saying, “They can’t look down on you if they have to look up to do it.” Whether one is tall, petite or in between, there are always pros and cons. One must simply discover them and enjoy them at their fullest.
At 5’7 I am only as tall as Kate Moss, one of the shortest supermodels in history. In NYC, I am tall amongst the average and short amongst the tall. I reached my full height at the age of eleven, when most kids my age reached up to my elbow, this included the boy I had a crush on. So while I am not very tall as an adult, I spent my childhood learning to deal with the fact that I towered over my peers, my mother and several petite teachers by the time I was eight years old.
Throughout my childhood, I longed to be petite. I wanted to be the small package that good things came in, but by the time I embraced my height, my peers had caught up. By the time I enjoyed being tall, I no longer was. Platforms gave me that extra lift that accompanied my new-found mentality. The added height was useful in crowded subways and concerts; the air is fresher and you have a better view. When it rained, I felt like Jesus, because I could walk through puddles without getting my feet wet.
My platforms got higher with each new purchase and the compliments got weirder as well. “Nice boots!”, said a random man on the street. “Thanks!”, I replied in passing. “I’ll pay you a thousand bucks to walk on me with those.”, he then proposed as I shockingly stammered, “Uh, no thanks!”. Aside from the oddities and random stumbles, I loved my platforms and eventually learned to run in them. They became a natural extension to my skinny chicken legs.
The Fall of the Platform!
“Platforms are out next season, Ballerinas are the new hot shoe!”, said the sales girl on Rome’s famous shopping street,Via Condotti.
“Ahhhh!”, screamed my brain, “I hate flats! My skinny long legs and large feet make me look like an L in flats.”, I thought, panicking, as I ran out of the store.
By the end of that year, I had unwillingly faded out all of my platform shoes and boots and had replaced them with sleek high heeled footwear. I looked elegant and sophisticated but I had lost at least four inches in height. I adapted and grew comfortable with my new stature but I missed the comfort I got from the width and padding of my platforms.
I never bought any Ballerina shoes and when I moved to Rome I ended up getting lots of wedge heels in order to manuever around the stiletto-shredding cobblestones.
Present Day 2010
Although platforms re-appeared over a year ago, I kept my distance from them as I expected them to fade away quickly and did not want to go through withdrawal once again. Ballerinas and 80s-inspired slouchy flat boots were everywhere, but my phobia of looking like an L prevented me from purchasing them. I eased into the slight platform sandals and especially fell for the Jimmy Choo shoes with my name: the Glenys sandal as well as any shoe that made me feel like Cinderella.
Since I jog a lot and ride my bicycle everywhere I go, I wanted to get a new pair of walking boots that would be as comfortable as my sneakers. After numerous attempts to get comfortable boots, I could no longer resist, so I tried on a pair of platforms.
My feet slid into those boots and I was immediately transported back in time. I recognized that familiar feeling but I could not recall what it was. As I walked down Via Condotti in my new platform boots once more, inhaling the fresher air and towering over many – except for the Russian tourists - I realized what it was. I was comfortable. You may wonder how on earth a pair of platform boots with seven-inch heels could possibly be comfortable. I cannot explain it, but as my body re-aligned itself, I knew I was home.
I may slither in stilettos and leap in sneakers…
…but when I slip on a pair of platform heels,
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