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The Tao Of High Heels...Then And Now

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TAO OF HIGH HEELS
alamy

It's a truism that men love women in high heels, and a fact that strong independent, women also enjoy the feminine prerogative of strutting their stuff in a pair of pumps. But after a lifetime on point, my podiatrist has finally decreed, "If you want happy feet when you're older, hang up the heels, except for special occasions or guilty pleasures. "

To be honest, I'm relieved. The current crop of four to five inch pumps, stilettos and platform heels from Prada ($$$$) to PayLess ($) hurt like hell and the later look like 'correction' shoes. Perfect for the red carpet or the bride of Frankenstein, but impossible to run to the office, grab groceries or take the dogs for grooming.

And even at night, who wants to teeter precariously in skyscraper shoes that as we age can become bunions or tighten your Achilles tendons? Truth is it's hard to let go of the outward manifestations of beauty, but when it comes to high heels, the path is clear.

At the height of my looks between 30 and 40, I occasionally wore leather bustiers that any French stripper would envy, and heels the height of the Eiffel Tower. I worked them, got great reviews and wouldn't have missed that phase for the world.

But now while trying to stay attractive for my new husband I have to acknowledge that I've buried two parents who both suffered issues with their feet as they got older from wearing shoes that were too small (my dad) and heels that were too high (my glamorous mom). They were the elders from whom I am supposed to have learned something. So have I?

What the heck am I trying to prove? That there is no such thing as aging? That trying to look young at the cost of your health defies common sense? That to please my man I have to look like a Gossip Girl? That's just not true and I know it.

I take care of myself and look ok for my age; I do Pilates or walk everyday. I color my hair, still wear it long, do Botox twice a year and never leave the house without a belt. But whatever else I do, or buy or conjure will not erase the fact that I am a woman of a certain age. And there is value in that mantle. We have earned the title.

When I was younger, I longed to look like Anouk Aimee or Jean Moreau. The passion and wisdom in their kohl-lined eyes was devastatingly sexy and alluring. You just knew that they knew how to live and love, heels or not. So here I am, at the age I so admired in them and it's time to own it. To trust that the secret in my eyes promises and delivers an inner experience that trumps my younger tricks.

And so with a wink and wave at my younger self, I am ready to take a step forward on happy feet towards acceptance, gratefulness and joy. And occasionally I can still pull my high heels out of the closet to strut my stuff...for me and my husband and just for fun.