Tuesday, July 8, 2008

listen to me!

i have a ridiculous obsession with platform shoes.

this obsession has plagued me since long before the recent fad of designer platform spike heels in neon and crayon-hued colors that are great for both weekend bar-hopping AND for climbing corporate ladders at the office (seriously, how can you NOT respect a woman in pin-stripes and D&G stilettos?) burst forth upon the scene (a fad in which i have happily partaken).

it has plagued me in an almost cruelly subversive way, by creeping into my mind as i shop for shoes (while holding a perfectly pretty and sensible heel with no platform in one hand, and a monster of a platform, with buckles and peep-toes and a contrasting platform - but NEVER in cork - i will invariably be drawn to the platform, eschewing the pretty and sensible heel for an overwhelming urge to tower over every living thing within a five-mile radius).

but why? how? when?

well, i can answer those questions...i can trace the obsession to it's very roots.

it started in high school. junior year to be exact. at the time, i did have a "look"...i had a bizarre collection of anything that i thought looked "surfer" or "preppy"...two looks that do NOT go together. oh how the epic battle between the gap and roxy raged in my high school closet. but, in a single moment, i found what i believed was the most perfect opportunity to blend those looks.

the platform flip-flop.

the 4" platform flip-flop.

the red 4" platform flip-flop.

i wore those suckers every day. not only did i feel, very deeply, that they effortlessly blended my inner surfer with the black capris and cardigan that was one of my favorite outfits, but i discovered the TRUE reason why designers have long tortured women's feet with platforms and heels of all shapes and sizes.

they make your legs look bangin'. and really, really long.

in no way, as a 17-year-old girl, did i need to be making my legs "look bangin'." OR really, really long for that matter. at that age, i had already reached my maximum height, which was well above average, and was consequently taller than almost any male at my high school. that fact remains true to this day. nevertheless, i was in love with those platform flip-flops, and a version or two of them would be with me until well into my senior year of college.

This was my first foray into platform shoes...in college, the obsession grew to include platform boots (ankle, calf, and knee), platform clogs, platform slides, platform strappy sandals, the inevitable (and still glorious) platform wedge, and the Nirvana to my Viking: platform sneakers.

now, this was before i really understood the concept of developing a "shoe budget" for myself. i believed that quantity outstripped quality in terms of importance, and so I took to the DSWs, Shoe Pavillions, and Famous Footwears of the Greater Los Angeles area in search on anything i could put on my feet that would make my legs look longer. I've since discovered that they have really great shoes and deals at these stores, but at the time, my eyes were only for anything platform and hideously ugly.

back to the sneakers.

i cannot, for the life of me, remember what possesed me to purchase these platform sneakers. I bought them on Melrose Avenue, in one of those stores that kind-of-sort-of-maybe sells black market knock-offs of things like Dickies jackets. i was with a group of my quasi-goth friends (it would be easy to blame this on them...but it would be a lie), and i remember one of them buying a floor-length black suede jacket with safety pins holding it together on the sides, with a distinctive dragon pattern stitched in silver thread on the back. the jacket cost $400.

the sneakers cost about $30. they had black suede uppers, with black rubber soles of a height measuring 2". black laces. the soles had a single thick red stripe. on the sides of the shoes, right where you would see a Nike swish or Adidas triple line...on each side...bright red, orange, and yellow flames. that's right. big, bright, obnoxious flames. they went perfectly with the uniform i was required to wear at the restaurant i worked at, and were the perfect balance between leggy excellence i sought in platforms, and the "hard-core rocker" attitude i wanted everyone to perceive me.

it goes without saying that no one, outside of the four friends i was with at the time of purchase, thought they were that cool.

after a while, i didn't think they were that cool either...but the novelty never wore off. after i quite the restaurant job, i wore them for a couple of halloweens, as a joke...but, maybe it felt dishonest to be joking about something i had once been so excited about...long after i'd grown out of my platform boots and flip-flop phase and into the strappy, peep-toe, platform pump part of my adult life, for some reason, the be-flamed platform sneakers stayed in my closet.

until this past weekend, when, as i went to go add my latest (platform, slingback, black) purchase to the closet, i realized that something had to give...and i didn't want it to the structural support of my shoe shelf...so, along with a 10-year-old pair of running shoes and a pair of aged black Steve Madden pumps, the platform flame sneakers found their way to the good will pile...

adieu, sweet friends...

photo to come...