Yesterday, at work I met a woman, about my age (early 20s), trying on shoes. She was a very pretty woman with wavy ginger hair, thin, and statue-sq. As she slipped her foot into a bright fuchsia suede pump with a shining gold stacked heel, she asked me, “Do these like make me look like a giant? I mean I’m already so tall, but do I want to make myself look even taller?”
Without thinking, I promptly told her, “Noooooo! Those look great on you!” With an emphasis on the “oooo”. Looking back on it now, I’m sure my voice went up a few octaves too.
Right after the words slipped out of my mouth I knew I was lying. I don’t know if it was the “sales girl” side of me or just that I have hated those ugly pumps since I first put them on the salesfloor in July. I motioned to show her another pair of pumps similar to the one’s on her feet…but MUCH more attractive.
Before I could pull them off the shelf, another woman hopped over the bench from the neighboring aisle and added her two cents. She said, “Look, I’m tall and I think tall is beautiful. You love those shoes, you buy them!”
At first, I was frozen in place, mouth gaping at her sudden appearance. After a few seconds of silence, my shock dissipated and I was in agreement with her statement because she was right. Then, I remembered what the shoes looked like, ‘ugh’.
The ginger haired woman looked up at the 40-something year old blonde woman with a sparkle in her doe eyes.
They began chatting, and complimenting each other’s hair, handbags, Hunter rain boots, etc. I soon felt I was as significant as an empty Starbucks cup, left underneath a rack of dresses.
Walking away, I was glad the ginger haired woman’s confidence was boosted, at least for the moment. But, I had a lump in my throat. I didn’t want her to know what my initial reaction was out of fear of being “unprofessional” & loosing a sale. So, I lied, badly I might add. All while making the girl probably feel more self-conscious about her height, by completely avoiding her question.
I wish I had said this to her, “You know the height of the pumps is not the problem. It’s the style of the pump. You need a pump made of a different material with a heel that compliments your height. You don’t need to accommodate for the shoe, the shoe needs to work for you.” Or something along those lines.
I started to wonder, why did I lie to her?
Was it really because I thought the shoes were ugly? Was it because I didn’t have the right words at that moment? Or was it that I couldn’t totally identify with her being that I am 5’2″?
Usually, the question I ask myself when trying on heels above 4 1/2″ is, “Will I be able to walk in these?”
Although I’m still not exactly sure why I lied to her, I learned something about myself last night. I talk a big talk when it comes to trying to walk in someone else’s shoes, but I don’t always practice what I preach.