Shoe Shopping With A Twist
Hello, my name is Natasha and I am a shoe addict. Something is either missing or not working in my head when it comes to saying 'no' to yet another pair of shoes. Interestingly, I easily turn down clothes but not shoes. I wonder if I should get it checked out…
My shoe shopping ‘career’ started in my early teens. And as any teen and a novice, I began by making some serious shoe mistakes, hurting both my feet and my bank balance.
Throughout my teens and early twenties total shoe shopping success still eluded me. And then somewhere between getting older, a ‘nothing to wear’ problem and an enormous collection of shoes crammed into my one bed flat in South London, roughly the size of a shoe box, the experience finally caught up with me and I… started making less shoe mistakes.
So when a few weeks ago I found myself in Next with the cutest ever 11 year old little dude and a task to find him a pair of deck shoes and to ‘see what else he might like’ I felt I was just the right person for the job.
Feeling confident and positive, I gracefully sashayed into ‘Kids’ section in my strappy orange Blowfish wedges armed with a credit card and firmly holding the little boy’s hand. I mean how hard could it be shopping for a child?..
All my British life I thought I knew the shop, until that very day when I walked into the ‘Kids’ section. I suddenly felt like I was in a museum of ‘Life Unknown’ where clothes didn’t have sizes and were marked by age, and the shoes had completely different sizing system which might as well have been hieroglyphs.
In the only area of my life where I felt super confident if not cocky, I suddenly felt like a shoe thrown out of my box.
The thing is the little dude in question was my boyfriend’s son, which technically made me his stepmother. We have known each other for over a year; and having bonded over countless family meals, road trips, board games, decopatching, baking, movies and a hamster purchase we were ready to take this relationship to the next level – shoe shopping.
And as we came up to the shoe rack I realised I had no idea what I was looking at or what was cool in the world of an 11 year old. I was blankly staring at rows and rows of shoes, blinking and wondering how on earth I was to pick anything out of that bulk of little shoes and in the right size.
But then my shoe shopper instinct kicked in and individual pairs of shoes started slowly emerging from the general mass, and as my eye sight adjusted I finally managed to distinguish what was cool. Luckily the little dude knew his size. But before I could exhale he proudly announced that he had his feet measured and they were of different sizes, one was size 1 and the other was size 2, allegedly. I stared at his feet as if expecting one of them to be twice as long as the other. It wasn’t. My boy and his feet looked completely normal.
There was only one way I knew we could do this. Having found a model we liked I picked out about 4 pairs of shoes in different sizes. The little dude was not impressed with me, neither was I.
Two sizes and four pairs of shoes later we settled on size 2. I proudly adjusted the laces, and like a true grown up pushed down the front of the shoe to see if there was any room left because my mum used to do that to me. To this day I don’t know why she did that but for all of 5 minutes it made me feel responsible and a maternal.
And as he was walking around, modelling the shoes for me I felt like I’d won a Nobel Prize. I picked a pair of shoes for my stepson, he liked them and they fitted. In the world of a newly emerging stepmother that is one hell of an achievement.