Saturday, 31 July 2010
Foot in the door
There is something sweet in the air. It is the faint whiff of a job. It is coming from the direction of Yorkshire, from a place that is the opposite of London.
I get the call about the job while looking through a rail of half-price bras at Marks and Spencers. The man calling me is the man hiring. I could be talking to my future boss.
‘Have I called at a bad time?’ he says.
‘Eh, no, I am just... shopping,’ I say, walking in tight circles, clutching a pair of pink French knickers to my pounding chest.
He talks about his job, my job and the job on offer. He tells me to send in an application form and we can arrange a meeting. I make some notes on the back of a receipt I find in my pocket while sitting cross-legged on the cold shop floor.
I leave the knickers and leave the shop. My head is in a spin. I try to regain my focus. I realise that I have no good shoes. Shoes that say: ‘anyone who wears me would fit in well with your company’. I must find shoes. Focus on shoes. Stay calm. Stop walking in circles.
I have been obsessed with shoes for years. Not in the oh-my-god-I-just-have to-have-those-jimmy-choos way women are meant to obsess about shoes. Just obsessed with finding a pair that fit.
My feet are not built for pretty shoes. They are long and wide, resembling slabs of gammon. On seeing my feet for the first time, Southern Man declared that I did not have toes, I had trotters. My wardrobe is filled with shoes that make my feet bleed and spill over the sides (foot muffin top) or ones that look ugly and have heels missing.
As a child I loved having big feet; I was proud of them and willed them to grow bigger than my older sister’s, which they promptly did. I thought big feet were cool. They are not cool. They are a curse.
Fat people are always complaining about clothes shops not catering for their sizes, or only stocking hideous constructions in XXL. It is the same for fat feet. Fat, size 8 feet. Life would be sweeter if everyone just wore flip flops.
After gazing in horror at my blistered, scarred, broken down feet, my mother recently instructed me to go and invest in a pair of shoes from a rather nerdy, wholesome shoe retailer. I was reluctant. Especially as I had spotted nuns and Muslim women in full peep-scarves buying shoes there – not the most fashion conscious of ladies.
But as my head is in a spin and there are large signs saying 70 per cent off, I decide to visit the shop. I try on a pair. I have a Cinderella moment - minus prince and with a chunkier heel.
'Oh they look very cute,’ another shopper says to me. I am so stunned by my feet being called anything other than monstrous, I buy them. If they are the brand favoured by religious types, they might even get me a job. A miracle.