Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Any Questions?

I have a few questions today.  Not for anyone in particular, just general musings that have passed through my head in the past few days, and since I haven't got anyplace better to put them, I'll make a post out of them.

First off, yesterday was International Women's Day, but I didn't have time to post because my kids had the day off.  It used to be called Working Women's Day, but I guess all the stay-at-home moms found that offensive.  Truth is, there are plenty of women who stay home with their kids who work just as hard as many who "go" to work.  But I'm not here to argue about who works harder, I just want to know why this isn't a national holiday here in Spain. 

If we really want to celebrate womanhood, why don't women get a real holiday?  And, come to think of it, every woman should get a free massage by some guy that looks just like Viggo Mortensen...and a little champagne and chocolate wouldn't hurt either.   Can't have that?   Well, then at least it should be a holiday. 

And it's particularly ironic that Women's Day fells in the middle of Carnival Week this year, so most of the kids have off from school.  The kids get a holiday, but the women don't...way to go!  And while we're on the subject, why not have a Men's Day too?  I mean if  we're going to go on about how men and women are equal, then men should get their day too.  Fair's fair.

Second, I have a question about the dressing rooms in most clothing shops.  Why is the lighting always so awful?  I've just been out shopping for SAM's upcoming birthday and I couldn't help but stop off to try on some clothes myself.  The problem is, every single dressing room I've been in has absolutely atrocious lighting.  It highlights every single flaw a woman could possibly have, magnifying them to hideous proportions, and I doubt that even the youngest and most perfect fashion models out there would look good in that light.  I know I never have, not that I'm any fashion model, but at sixteen I wasn't bad, and I can safely say that I always looked a hundred times better outside the dressing room than in it. 

Makes you just not want to buy anything at all. 

And with all the news about how people aren't spending money because of the economic crisis, blah, blah, blah, I wonder why the stores haven't caught on to this little fact yet.  I'll bet that if they invested in more flattering lighting, sales would skyrocket...after all, how can you resist buying something that makes you look good?

And third, what's up with the shoe sizes in Spain?  I have enormous problems trying to find shoes that fit my enormous (at least they are in Spain) feet.  Okay, this is nothing new, but with the younger generation getting taller all the time, there are more and more women with "big" feet all the time.  And you would think that as the large foot population grows, the availability of shoes would as well.  But the shoe manufacturers here in Spain don't seem to have caught on yet, and they still don't offer much in my size.

To make matters worse, shoes are shrinking.  I swear, it's true.  Technically, I should wear a size 41 (size 10 in the U.S).  Aside from the fact that 41 is not available in all models, many of the shoes I try on don't fit.  This never used to happen to me.  I used to ask for my size and if the store carried it, I could be sure it would fit.  Not anymore.  Okay, you're probably thinking that my feet have just grown with age, but that's not it.  I have measured my feet to see what size I have, and it's still the same as always, a definite 41.  With some brands I have no trouble at all, but with most I end up with sore feet.  So, it would seem the shoes are shrinking, but why?  I've seen this happen with clothes, but the other way around.  What used to be a size 40 is now labled 38.  That's a great psychological trick.  Wow, I used to be a 40, now I'm a 38...and I didn't even have to diet.  It's a miracle!  And the jeans sell like "churros", as they say here.  If they paired this with better lighting, it's frightening to think what might happen.

So, back to the shoes.  I'm now condemned to being a 41 and a half, which is a problem since half sizes are extremely rare in Spain. So, what about getting a size 42?  In Spain?  Not likely.  Why?  In the past it was understandable; Spanish women were generally petite.  But now there are plenty of tall women around, especially among the younger generation, and many of them have large feet. 

I don't walk alone.  It's not an empty street.  I walk the Boulevard of Broken Feet.  Suffering the curse of shoes that don't fit.  But I don't walk alone...

I had a look around internet, and there are hundreds of women out there, desperately searching for shoes that fit.  There are whole threads in numerous forums on the subject.  And Spain's not the only place with large foot sufferers, although over here the problem is accentuated by Spanish women's history of small feet.  And what's the conclusion they reach?  Buy shoes over the internet.  It's ether that, or wear men's shoes. From what I've read, many go around with shoes that are too small for lack of a better option, because wearing men's shoes is just not a pretty sight.

We need a large foot alliance or something to let the world know about our woes.  Maybe we could even have a holiday in our honor...International Large Feet Day.  But then I guess the small feet people would get on the bandwagon too, and be wanting their own day as well.  And then the whole thing would get out of hand, and no one would take us seriously.  So, let's leave it at getting the manufacturers to recognize that there's a whole market of large feet out there, just waiting to be catered to. 

Come on guys, throw us a bone already...or better yet, a pretty pair of ballerinas that don't pinch our feet.

So, what's a woman with large feet to do?  Oh, I suppose I could buy shoes over the internet.  But even if you know your size, shoes need to be tried on, because the fit doesn't just depend on the size.  And the thought of having to send them back and keep trying until I get just the right pair just doesn't appeal to me.  Besides, even those specially ordered shoes are often not all that attractive.  Why can't big feet have cute, sexy shoes?  My feet are not unattractive (I even wrote about it over here once), but for some reason I can't have nice shoes.  Sure, Uma Thurman has big feet and wears sexy shoes, but she's got enough money to have Manolo Blahnik himself down on bended knee, kissing those big puppies, and offering her any shoe she wants, right down to Cinderella's glass slippers.  But I don't need anybody to kiss my feet, and glass slippers are highly overrated.  No, all I want is to go to a shoe store and have a decent selection of pretty shoes that fit, and that don't cost me an arm and a leg in the process.

Then again, maybe if I start selling off my toes to buy shoes, I could end up wearing a smaller size

Okay, I'm done.  Any questions?


  1. Men's Day? Isn't that the other 364 days of the year?

  2. This is the kind of rant blogs were designed for. Bravo!

    I don't have any answers, just applause.

  3. I was told, in a shoe store here in Catalonia when I asked about this same question...size 40 here, and so is Youngest!!! That girl could walk on water. ANYwho...they told me that the stores, if they want a particular model of shoe, they have to buy a pack. So they will get, say, 10 pairs of 31-33, 20 of 34-37 and 10 of 37 − 40. Maybe, or maybe not, a couple of really tiny and really big ones tossed in. Basically the distributors have decided what percentage of women have what size feet and the stores have no choice, and since they do sell out - as in big and tiny footed women go without or buy on line, they have no reason to change.

    So what does all this mean? We have to talk to the shoe stores and get them to push the distributors to alter the pack of shoes so there are more bigger shoes in the shops.


  4. I am with you on the dressing room lighting thing, but if the lighting is so bad, why does it have to be the WORST in a bathing suit dressing room. Makes one just to give up and go swimming suitless.

  5. Now that you mention it I have three different pairs of shoes, old sneakers, dress shoes, and a pair of sandals. Its weird, each is a different size but all fit my feet perfectly.

  6. I think most guys would tell you that "Women's Day" is in fact Valentine's Day.

  7. Well, I have to disagree that feet don't grow, my feet have been growing every ten years!

    20s...size 7.5
    30s...size 8
    40s...size 8.5-9
    50s...size 9-9.5

    I thought it was because of weight gain over the years, but nope, I found out it was because of the FLAT shoes with lack of arch support inside.

  8. But it not only happens with larger sizes, I've always used a 37 foot, and now I can get to 39, according to the manufacturer.
    Sorry for my bad english.
    These are the shoe I know of in Madrid. I hope to serve you.

    Special Shoes.
    · Dirección: C/Santiago, 6
    · Tfno: 91 547 78 32
    · Metro: Sol
    De lunes a sábado, de 10 a 14 y de 17 a 20 horas.

    Costanilla de los Ángeles, 15 (Plaza Santo Domingo)
    MADRID 28013, detrás de la gran vía y en D. Ramón de la Cruz, 63 MADRID 28001
    Tlf: 913 092 822
    Tlf2: 913 092 823
    Tlf: 915 470 837

    Tallas especiales.
    Números grandes y pequeños. Zapatos y Sandalias Tallas Especiales
    C/Marqués de Urquijo,25
    28008 Madrid
    Telf: 915471738

    C/ Marques de Urquijo, 29. Madrid. Telefono: 915599284. Tienda de zapatos numeros especiales.

    (No sé como se llama)
    C/ Doctor Fleming, 41. Madrid. Telefono: 913451430. Zapatos, Numeros Especiales.

  9. Personally, lighting for me has never been the problem. I take aim at the mirrors. Who stands 6 inches from a mirror when trying to decide if their butt looks too big in those jeans? Why not make the dressing room it's own little empty cube and put the floor length mirror out in a common area (still in the privacy that is the 'dressing room zone') with GOOD lighting.

    Sales would double too if they offered up one of those fun house mirrors that actually make you look skinny. Ya' think?

  10. Jajaja estás loca, me ha encantado tu post. A ver.. mi cuñada calza 41, mi suegra también y ellas me dicen que padecen lo mismo que tu, nunca se compran zapatos en rebajas, bueeeno, rara vez, siempre tienen que ir cuando comienza la estación porque esos números son los primeros que se agotan, a mi me pasa algo similar pero con las tallas del cuerpito :D

    Hoy he leido tu pos en inglés ;) no me funcionaba el traductor :(
    Pues a mi me gustaría unos masajitos de Colin Firth, no se si se escribe así... ese hombre me encantaaaaaaaaa, jajaja

    Y en cuanto a quien trabaja más, no se, la pregunta sería quien se agobia más, hoy estoy acá con un dolor de cabeza y de hombros, la gordi lleva tres días esquisita, llorando hasta porque se le cae el pelo en la cara, será la adolescencia infantil?

    Un besote y a ver qué día me llamas :P

  11. I ran out of the Mango dressing room the other day and even complained to the saleswoman!

  12. Love to read your blog, takes me back to home, lived in Spain for 20 years since was a child. The shoe dilemma really hit home too, the spanish really don''t have bigger feet do they?

  13. The old make lemonade out of lemons trick... do I smell a kick-ass new business opportunity? Large size woman's stylin shoes, foot massages on the side, and but of course, great floor lighting.

  14. Simon: Guess you have a point there.

    Erik: *bows* Thank you! :D

    Oreneta: How old is your youngest now? I hope she stays at 40. At least you can find some nice shoes in that size. 41 is much harder, and 42, impossible! I've heard about that having to buy the whole pack thing before, but on top of it, most manufacturers don't even make larger than size 41 for women. At least I can still get Converse, since those are unisex, although the "girly" colors only come in sizes up to 41. You're right, we'll have to unite and put some pressure on the shoe stores!

    Lanita: Tell me about it! I just don't get it, with all the effort that is put into strategically placing the merchandise and having the right music and colors in the shops so people will want to buy more, it's amazing that so little thought goes into the dressing room lighting.

    Beach Bum: Just goes to show you, you can't go by size alone.

    Asha: Probably. :D

    Wanda: Oh, I know feet grow, but mine haven't in a long time. I have shoes that I haven't worn in years that still fit. They're dress shoes that haven't been used much, so they aren't stretched out or anything. And I've seen a real change in the size of the shoes here...most of the 41s are about a half size smaller than a few years ago. Maybe the manufacturers are trying to save material.

    Maria: Thank you very much for all the information on shoe shops. The next time I go to Madrid, I'll definitely have a look!

    Pickle Pits: So true. I have seen some stores that have mirrors outside the dressing rooms, which is an improvement...but the lighting still sucks. And a skinny-making mirror, not a bad idea. :D

    giozi: Comprar zapatos en rebajas? Yo ni sé que es eso. Incluso si espero a mitad de la temporada, no queda casi nada. Es un rollo! Colin Firth, eh? Vale, le añadimos a la lista. Y a ver si la gordi se mejora pronto. :)

    Jimena: Mango's lighting is horrible, but Bershka's is worse. But then, maybe I shouldn't even be in Bershka at all. But the lighting thing even happens in El Corte Inglés, where you would think it would be better. But no, it's not.

    Windmill Tales: Thanks! Come visit whenever you like. And nowadays the Spanish do have bigger feet. Several of my daughters' friends have 40 or 41, and it seems that as people have gotten taller, their feet have as well. So there's no excuse for not having large sizes anymore.

    Rea: Hey, there's a thought. I'll have to look into that.

  15. I have smallish feet: I used to wear a size 6 (US) and have moved up to a 7 over the years. My problem isn't finding shoes in my size but finding shoes that (a) are wide enough in the box for my bunion-prone toes and (b) narrow enough in the heel for my, well, narrow heel. Not to mention the fact that I am on my feet a lot at work and can no longer wear any kind of heel or a flat with no arch support.

    My solution: Earth shoes. They are wide in the box and have a negative heel, which keeps pressure off the ball of the foot. Sure, they look a little clunky, but in a hip way (or so I tell myself). And my feet are happy in them. In fact, I only have two pairs of non-Earth shoes that I wear at all anymore: a pair of Sketchers Shape-Ups which have a very thick, squishy sole and a pair of low-heeled tall boots that I wear now and then when I want to feel "stylish." I own one pair of heels, Clarks, which I very rarely wear but can wear without reducing my feet to bloody stumps after an hour or two.

    I think every woman has a shoe saga in her life ...

  16. You're absolutely right on the question of why International Women's Day isn't a holiday, but rather than Viggo, I think Johnny Depp. Poor guy would have to stretch himself pretty thin, I think .. but we all have to make sacrifices.

    As to feet. Yours are at least elegantly long. Mine are stubby and rather wider than most shoe manufacturer's believe a foot should be. Therefore, not only do I find it hard to find shoes in my size, I can never wear heels or ballerinas or even what used to be called 'court' shoes. *Sigh*

  17. Bud: Well, you're lucky you found the right shoes for you...and yes, I think we've all had a shoe saga at one point or another.

    Jay: Mmm, yeah, I sure wouldn't mind Johnny Depp either...I like both Johnny and Viggo quite a lot, so maybe they could take turns. ;)
    Oh, those aren't really my feet, it's a photo I found when I searched for "large feet". I was just too lazy to take a picture of my own feet. :D

  18. I vote for Johnny Depp, too. Viggo can be backup for when Johnny can't make it :)