In her shoes

Tags: Knowledge

Men may have walked a mile in high heels, but did that really make them empathise with women’s issues?

If you are a man, chances are you do not know what true pain is. Not the emotionally gut-wrenching, she-chopped-off-my-testicles kind of a pain that you experience when the woman you are in love with, drops you faster than a McLaren F1, which after leading for most rounds, showing promises of winning the Grand Prix, turns turtle and crashes. But the very real physical pain that emerges from wearing high heels that most women might have been privy to, at some point or another. Whether they decided to embrace the pain, made peace with it or ditched it completely for more comfortable pursuits involving flatter protection for their soles, is another footwear story.

But a few brave men did go ahead and experience what it feels like to wear high heels. Images of these men walking in women’s shoes in striking psychedelic shades such as red, electric blue and even canary yellow, made waves in Nottingham, UK, recently. A similar set of pictures had also made the rounds in July 2013 in China, when a group of men paraded through an amusement park wearing women’s heels.

No, these aren’t a case of men with fetishes for women’s shoes deciding to expose their secret cross-dressing fantasies that they have long nurtured, carefully shielded from the society’s prying eyes, lest they be jeered at for wanting to be different. The exercise was part of an event organised by a charity to raise awareness on domestic violence against women. Similar events have been held in various cities across the world at different points in time under a programme called ‘Walk a mile in her shoes’ that encourages men to walk that mile, wearing high heels.

When men walk in women’s shoes (literally not just metaphorically), they experience what their partners, be it girl-friend, wife, mistress, want-to-be-mistress, or their married secret lovers go through. Would it make them more empathetic towards women and their problems? That remains to be discovered, but it is sure to make them think once they are done nursing their blisters, bunions and sore feet, an unwelcome gift from the not-so-friendly women’s heels, which their one-mile walk is certain to have produced.

For the record, 2.5 inches is a ‘low heel’, ones that are between 2.5 and 3.5 inches are considered mid-heels and anything higher than that is a true-blue-high-heel-guaranteed-to-evoke-drool, much like the fabled deodorants that promise to get you laid.

For many centuries now, a woman in heels has been considered sexier and more attractive than the one who dons a pair of flats. What is it about a woman in heels that makes men take a second glance, if not making them go weak in the knees?

High heels are a powerful instrument of seduction. Who can forget the kinky scene in The Wolf of Wall Street where Margot Robbie pushes her stilettoes, into a grovelling Leonardo Di Caprio’s face? The same scene with flat footwear wouldn’t quite be the same. High heels are after all a woman’s not-so-secret weapon, designed in a manner where pain gives precedence to pleasure, making the wearer feel at least half a foot taller.

It is a known fact that high heels accentuate the feminity in a woman, altering the gait, as the wearer is forced to take short strides and quicker steps. The legs appear elongated and natural curves are accentuated, thus increasing the wow-look-at-her quotient. It is a very primal instinct (after all a woman in high heels cannot run very fast) that excites men.

Of course, do not discount the fact that a woman in very high heels, could play the damsel-in-distress-caused-by-high-heels card and ask a guy to lend her his arm, while climbing up stairs, the escalator in a mall or even on a hard, polished Italian marble floor, a gesture that would make any man feel more macho than Indiana Jones in the temple of doom , completely giving vent to the protector role of the caveman days, in a socially acceptable manner, with no eyebrows raised.

And no matter how much the osteopathic studies shout from the rooftops, that high heels are bad for your back, your ankle, your posture, your health in general, and your wallet in particular, the sale of high heels have only increased, clearly indicating that women love their heels as much as — or to be scathingly honest, perhaps a teeny weeny bit more than — they love their men. And of course, whether the men in their lives stay or not, high heels are here to stay.

(Preeti Shenoy is the author of five bestselling novels, the latest being The One You Cannot Have)


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