Friday, 20 June 2008

If The Shoe Fits

I am sensing a pattern.

Since our arrival in Melbourne, less than two months ago, three of my Major Issues have been in relation to shoes.

First there were the Ugg Boots - well, not 'were', as I am still resolutely putting them on and going outside in them, despite the pointing and laughing from the local children as they are pulled away from me by their embarrassed-at-their-conduct-but-still-clearly-concerned-about-their-child's-fascination-with-Crazy-Slipper-Lady, mothers. The other day I saw a girl in the street wearing them, and I was so overjoyed to find a fellow Outdoor Ugg Wearer, or OUW as we're commonly known, that I nearly crossed the street and hugged her, until I realised that I was walking through a university campus, that she was a student and had merely popped out for some milk in her slippers . . . Back off, Crazy Slipper Lady.

Then there was the glamour party. The next-door neighbours (not the ones we're secretly in love with but the ones who invited us to their bbq after knowing us 45 seconds) sent out invites to a 'Glam Party'. We fretted for days about what 'Glam' might mean. Glam rock? Dynasty-type glam? Hollywood proportions? Or merely 'please don't wear your Uggs'? I planned my outfit in the same cack-handed way I plan novels - I chose one detail and tried to build something around it. In this case it was a blue-green (fake) fur stole. At a second hand designer store (where I made the mistake of telling the store owner that I wrote children's books, and then had to stay and listen to her idea for a children's book for a long, long time - one of those "I'd love to write a novel but I simply don't have time" types) I managed to find a dress that could have been made for the stole. But the shoes were eluding me. In a moment of panic - mainly because the children were demanding "Park Not Shopping!" and I'd run out of cookies to buy their silence - I ran into a charity shop, picked up a pair of gold(ish) heels, tried them on, saw the $8 tag and thought job done.

When I got them home I realised they were a size 11. Never mind, thought I, I'll buy insoles and cotton wool and stuff them till they fit me. It was at this point that The Australian took me in hand - or rather, by the hand, and to the local shoe shop, whereupon he made me buy a brand new pair that fit. Am I the only woman in history to have been frog-marched to the shoe shop by their partner? As it was, being a confirmed Ugg-Boot wearer I couldn't handle being in heels at all and wished I'd worn the huge gold boats to the party instead.

And finally, tomorrow night there's another party - this time a fundraiser for the nursery that The Girl is attending, with live auction, finger food and 70s fancy dress.  As everyone around here knows each other, and each other's business, in a spooky quasi-Stepford Wives way, The Australian and I will be appearing as The New Folk and as such the only thing that is required of me is To Not Look Stoopid. Not being one to learn from my mistakes, I dashed into the charity shop yesterday and bought a pair of shoes for the event. The good news: they are my size. The bad news: they are enormous wedge-heeled sandals that I cannot walk in. I don't just mean I'm a bit wobbly. I mean I have to hold on to something. Preferably on either side. And even then for only three of four steps at a time.

So tell me, were Ugg boots around in the 70s or what? Perhaps what I really need are a pair of ruby red slippers . . . 

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Gondal-girl said...

Hi - I was born in the early 70's and yes I do remember ugg boots, but maybe they were more of an '80's 'bogan' thing - I remember all the heavy metal types wearing them with their ripped jeans and black hellish t-shirts and greasy hair...

Remember those cork wedges, used to attempt to wear my mums.

Goodluck with the party and Melbourne - brrrrr

Nik's Blog said...

After seeing this, I think sensible shoes are definitely advisable:


ireneintheworld said...

i keep thinking, bbq is in the garden - HEELS! just say NO to the wedges and wear ugg! x

Mum'sTheWord said...

Gondal-Girl, I am in fact a closet heavy metal fan so it's all starting to make for bogan - does this mean I'm the Aussie equivalent of a chav? Well that's different at least :)

Nik, that's exactly what I was scared would happen! And Irene, I almost took the sensible road but in the end I wore the wedges, drank my weight in champagne and found that the booze somehow enabled me not just to walk in a straight line but also to dance like a professional! (A professional idiot.)

Anonymous said...

Uggies were big in the 70s and beyond - surfies and bogans, mainly, but these days all the little Veronicas seem to be wearing them in the streets. At our place, there's a strict rule: Uggies are OK but NEVER outside. Not even to the mailbox. There are some lines we will not cross.

Mum'sTheWord said...

"all the little Veronicas" - please, please expand! Aren't The Veronicas a band? They look like a band I am way too old for.

Although I'm hearing it loud that Uggs outside = a no-no here, I feel loathe to keep them as thoroughbred slippers - I would never spend that much on slippers!

Anonymous said...

A lot of the teenage/early twenties girls in my town seem to be imitating the look of The Veronicas (yes, the band). That's for the brunettes. The blondes seem to be little Paris Hiltons.

In my grumpy way, I tend to refer to them all as Veronicas. Lotsa make-up and flat hair and sullen looks. Y'know: teenagers.

Your uggies can, apparently, be fashion items. I've seen little ads for them in the New Yorker. They're discreetly called 'Australian sheepskin boots' or some such, but we all know they're just uggies.

Mum'sTheWord said...

Hmm, why so grumpy about the Veronicas? I'm finding this all very interesting. But you may well have better things to do than educate a Pom :)

Mary Witzl said...

Your husband actually pushed you to purchase shoes? Send that off to Guinness World Records now! I've only got about seven pairs, but to hear my husband you'd think I was Imelda Marcus.

Anonymous said...

The veronicas (the teenage girls so described, not the band) are a bit neo-bogan in my little town. The sort who wear hipster jeans, thongs and T-shirts in the middle of winter (perhaps not as sensible as the ugg-shod), some of them have mullets, all of them huddle over their mobile phones.

But I'm not specially grumpy about them; they're just another tribe.

PS: thong = flip-flop, flimsy rubber footwear, not the undies (!)

Poppy said...

"Am I the only woman in history to have been frog-marched to the shoe shop by their partner?"

- no!!! well, sort of no. My husband does the same with me and clothes shops. In fact, i totally relate to all of this (except for footwear, substitute body wear. I mean, it includes footwear, but when the rest is so far adrift, you stop worrying about the end-y bits so much.)

(i love this blog, btw)

Mum'sTheWord said...

Mary - I honestly did wonder if I'd broken some kind of record, let alone stereotype. Of course now I find myself having purchased 3 pairs of shoes in the very short time we've been here, 2 of which I'll never wear (too high! too glam!) and the remaining makes me some kind of social misfit.

Anon - loving the neo-bogan expression. I am on the look-out for Veronicas.

Poppy - our partners probably belong to some kind of online support group for men who live with poorly dressed women.