Today I spent my lunch at Chipotle. I like being outside so I can people watch and catch a short breather from having to interact with said people. As I am sitting there, I see two rotund women in high heels very meticulously wobble their way to the entrance of a donut shop next door. Watching them move reminded me of my dog’s seemingly arthritic quivering nature when she drops down to dump a deuce. Each step they take looks like a potential for disaster as their legs bend in and out of their intended trajectory. I’m expecting some ankles to break like a kit kat bar. Or, at least for the heel of the shoe to come to life exclaiming “I QUIT!” as it detaches itself from the rest of the shoe due to the extraordinary amount of load. Seriously, these heels are the true heroes and unlike elevators, they both come with a weight limit but heels don’t beep at you. One thing about this experience is that it was like watching Nascar, I felt guilty that I was hoping to see a catastrophe, but, at the same time, why the heel are you wearing those?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean just these women, but all women. There seems to be no necessity to wear these at all. Every woman that does must have some innate love of S&M to inflict such self torture. I always find myself chuckling at the exit of a club after a long night when I get to watch girls struggle to make their way to the car. Some girls say screw it, I’m going foot commando and whatever I catch from the floor, it’s better than this pain. YOLO.
Now, Is it the aesthetic illusion of longer, more slender legs and smaller feet? Is it the added height that changes the way women feel? Wouldn’t it make more sense for men to wear it and gain that perceived height advantage? By definition, a high heel is anything that boosts 3.5+ inches and I know most men would jump to claim 3.5+ additional inches… in any aspect of their life.
In fact, high heels likely did originate from men. Men used to wear them so that their feet would remain in place in stirrups when riding a horse. They were seen as status symbols because wearing these shoes would be useless on cobbled streets. However, if you were rich, you rarely need to go anywhere so the more incapable you were of moving, the more status. Then, the 1600s come around and women, in an attempt to dress like men, took on the heel. As time progressed, men stopped wearing them and now we only have women wearing them.
Innately and at a subconscious level, status, appearance and size are correlated. Robert Cialdini once conducted an experiment where a speaker was presented in front of a class. The speaker in all instances was the same person, however, each time he was introduced to the class, they gave him a new title: undergrad, teachers assistant, masters student, phD candidate, Professor, etc. After the introduction, the students were asked to guess what height the speaker was. Each title, on average, was 1.5 inches taller than the previous! So on average, the estimate for the same person titled as a professor, was 6 inches taller than when they introduced him as an undergraduate student. Here is another example. In another study, they tested how often people would jaywalk once another person does it first. When the person that starts jaywalking wore a suit, they were 3.5x times more likely to be followed jay walking than when the person wore casual clothing. So, maybe the heel does have a point.