Foot binding, Midwestern style

Dooce is one of the best blogs out there (, and I am thankful to my friend Amber for introducing it to me. I in turn got her hooked On Stuff White People Like (, so the ball is now back in her court. Anyway…I about fell out of my chair laughing when I recently ran across a quick blurb on Dooce about new shoes, small feet, and tall girls.

You see, the author Heather was DENIED the ability to even try on a pair of shoes in an 8 1/2 because the salesman thought she had to be at least a size 10. Foot discrimination solely because she also happens to be 5’11”.

Why so entertaining you ask? Well I too have been battling the discrepancy between my height and my feet since adolescence. I have no one else to blame, as I inflicted upon myself a Midwestern style of Chinese foot binding through most of my formative years. Basically that just amounted to stuffing my growing feet into knotted socks and shoes that were too small. And the power of thought. The never ending thought and will of smaller feet. I was absolutely petrified that I would someday have feet the size of my mom and sisters. Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely women and obviously their feet support them nicely; but their feet are big.

In junior high my mother bought me a very nice pair of Nikes. She appeared to believe that she was doing me a good thing by outfitting me in these stylish shoes. Perhaps she thought they would make me popular. Or perhaps they were on sale and she thought that I would GROW INTO THEM and she could get away with never having to buy me another pair of sneakers again. I want you to know that I NEVER GREW INTO THEM. They were at least a size and a half too large and I spent a portion of that horrible time in junior high with legs that were too long and skinny with huge flipper feet protruding beneath them. Add glasses and braces and I was a rock star. Thanks Mom.

My mom eventually found the Nikes hiding in the front door closet beneath a monstrous pile of shoes that only a family of seven can generate. They fit her perfectly and she wore them for years out in the garden. My mother wears a size 10 on a small day. I still do not. I may never know if the foot binding and my ninja mind melding actually did the trick, but my feet remain an 8 1/2 and I am grateful for that. Even though it does mean I am top heavy and fall down a lot, I consider that a small price to pay for cute shoes.

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