Thursday, March 25, 2010
The 100 pound Flamenco dancer/teacher said to her newest and oldest student, "I have a beautiful pair that don't fit me quite right. Wear them and they will make you feel sexy and when you dance the Flamenco your passion will be fearless and consume you." She brought them from her closet where I glimpsed dozens of Flamenco dance shoes in a million different colors and dresses that fit her skinny frame tightly and made her look like a wild electrified energy rod. Here I was just fifty, newly divorced and wanting so badly to be skinny and sexy again and I was now convinced these shoes she placed on the floor near my feet would bring me back to a state of grace. "How much?" I asked. A hundred and fifty. They were from Madrid after all and hardly worn and she was charging me just twenty dollars less than when she had purchased them a few months ago. They were blood maroon with a strap across the face of them and studded heels so that when I moved my feet, the familiar clicking sound of the Flamenco dancer resounded and echoed across the dance floor. "Well, try them on, " she said, knowing even if they didn't fit me I was going to purchase them any way. I slipped them on and walked and fell in love with the way they lifted my rear and straightened my back and I made a singular dance move with assurance and pride and I beamed. "I will take them, I said and we both smiled. Three weeks later I stopped taking dance lessons and the shoes sat, still sit, in my bedroom closet because I made the fatal mistake of wearing them to a jazz club and while on the street, the blisters they caused made my feet bleed and my toes got infected and I ended up not being able to walk for a month. I have never worn them since that day but I can not sell them or give them away. I would like to have them dipped in bronze the way they used to dip baby shoes in bronze and plant a rare orchid in each one of them. A reminder to never try to be what you are not: skinny and under 30.