I went in for comfortable shoes.
You know - the trendy kind all the girls are wearing these days. Rubber, sneaker-like soles and lines that look more like a ballet slipper or flat than a tennis shoe. Delicate straps and cute details like contrast stitching or sparkles.
I thought a black pair of those shoes would be perfect for my vacation. Something comfortable and yet understated as I traipsed through airports and museums and cafes - my attempt at being a stylish ambassador for America.
I walked up and down the aisles at DSW, scrutinizing every design and detail - some soles were too sporty for my taste. Others had clunky straps that reminded me more of an Eastern European woman standing in a bread line and less like a worldly woman soothing a case of wanderlust.
I tried on no less than seven pairs of these shoes. All the while my feet, no, my heart longed to cruise up and down the section with the sex shoes stilettos.
And so I reluctantly clutched my pair of Comfort In A Box as I shuffled toward Steve Madden, Guess? and BCBG Girl.
I was overcome with something that could only be described as Shoe Orgasm. I inhaled deeply, smelling the fine Italian leather. I cradled pair after pair of graceful heel in my hands, dreaming of dance floors and sparkling wine bars and sophisticated conversation about Nietzsche and absinthe. Every ounce of me shivered as I was overcome by the romance of the shoe store.
I paused to gaze at a shoe that could only be described as Sex on Stilts. It was this fabulous black leather stiletto. Perfectly understated - with a fine pointed toe - until you spied the shiny, chrome spike on the back. The stiletto heel was made of this gleaming, silver spike that teased of seduction and James Bond espionage.
Where in the hell would I wear a shoe like that?
This is Cincinnati, not the Sunset Strip. I am a 30-something news producer with a busy (albeit mostly conservative) social live. I am not a stripper, I am not Sidney Bristow. I have no plans to rip off a Jennifer Jason Leigh movie scene from Single White Female.
I had to walk way from Sex on Stilts, all while begrudgingly holding that box of black, un-glamorous, quasi-tennis shoes. My conscience was taunting me Ha ha! You're spending more than 60 dollars on a pair of shoes that aren't even fun! Look what your life's become! Ha ha!
I decided to give the sales racks on the second floor a whirl on the whim that something there might satisfy my craving for sweet feet footwear.
Flip flops. Wedges. Tennis shoes. Flats. Uncomfortable ballet flats. Shoes with clear heels and heels of patent leather. I found so many pairs that failed to fulfill my dreams.
And then - Sweet Mother of God - there they were.
A black, satin stiletto with a peep toe. Three and a half inches of sophistication.
Be still, my heart.
I dropped Comfort on the rack and threw off my own shoes, racing to feel that graceful curve beneath the arch of my feet.
I was smitten. I grabbed my treasure and ran away from the racks before I could second guess myself.
I headed to the register and whipped out that debit card So. Fast.
And then the deed was done. The fun stilettos were all mine. Comfort stayed behind among the leftovers on the sales racks.
And as I walked away I thought to myself, Who needs comfortable shoes in Europe, anyway?
The only thing I need there is hot shoes.