The Thoughtful Dresser – An Extract

In Which a Woman Buys a Pair of Shoes

One day last summer, at the moment of waking, I knew that I had to go out at once and buy new shoes. Shoes which fulfilled another function, apart from walking. I wanted highheeled shoes. Ridiculous, sexy, I don’t care how much they cost, I have to have them shoes.

It is my habit always to trust the thoughts that flood the mind as I rise up out of sleep. The closer you are to the dream state, the more likely you are to receive the correct messages. The unconscious knows what it’s doing and what it’s talking about. If it tells you to go out and buy highheeled shoes you can’t walk in, there has to be a reason. I never pay any attention to those deceptive lightning flashes of brilliance from the lurid world of tossing-and-turning insomnia. They are worry thoughts, unlikely to enrich your existence.

As it happened, I had a hairdresser’s appointment that morning. When it was over, I walked quickly down the street, full of the excitement and apprehension of the shopper who knows she is going to make a significant purchase. I was anxious because shoe-shopping is no great pleasure for me, not compared with dresses and bags. I have inherited from my Eastern European immigrant ancestors wide feet, thick ankles and heavy calves, legs developed in the womb to later hold up child-bearing hips and bread-kneading arms. They are not my best feature and no amount of exercise will ever fix the problem. A woman is born with good legs; if you don’t have them, you can’t get them however long you spend doing Pilates. There is no cure for dimpled knees. Growing up, finally, is about understanding that we are limited by our fate. There are unfulfillable dreams. So shoe-buying is always for me work, an operation.

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