This morning I took one of my pumps to the shoe repair guy. Another customer ahead of me saw the 3″ heel on my shoe and immediately told me of a show she’d seen about how terrible high heels are for our feet. Somewhat rude on her part, perhaps, but it’s nothing that all of us women don’t know. Yet we persist in wearing these heels. It’s part of the uniform of power for women. Men have their silk ties, well-tailored suits, and wingtips. Women have distinctive jewelry, well-tailored suits, and high heels.

But high heels also embody a dream. Not a dream of attaining business status, but a dream of being drop-dead gorgeous – of being noticed, admired, and loved. Power of a different sort. When we are children, it’s a dream for a happy-family future. When we’re young adults, it’s a dream for passion and romance. When we’re middle-aged, it’s a dream for some reminder that we haven’t gone completely to the dogs. We know this romantic notion is just a dream. We know that believing too strongly in this dream puts us at risk for a lot of disappointment. We know it’s unrealistic, but I don’t know a woman who doesn’t harbor this dream in some form, even the most hard-boiled among us. So, high heels may be dreadful for the health of our feet and backs, but they make us feel as if something about this crazy dream just might be possible.

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