I woke up this morning concerned that I might have a shoe addiction. Every so often, I wake up with various concerns. This one occurs when I haven’t bought shoes in awhile and I’ve spent the previous night wondering if I’ve been missing out on anything crave worthy. And then I wake up the next morning pervasively worried that I suffer from addiction issues. I really wear all styles pretty equally, and with equal appreciation for each, and sometimes that seems pretty fucking close to needing more and more with no end in sight. If you think about what makes a sex addict an actual addict and not just someone who loves sex, the defining features are that the sex addict cannot limit him/herself to the point of it interfering with a functional, professional life as well as his/her personal relationships, and is incapable of discerning preferences within the category of his/her addiction due to the intensity of his/her need for the act itself. His/her.
My shoe shopping doesn’t interfere with work; I don’t cancel teaching or miss rehearsals in order to catch shoe sales. There are rules:
the shoes have to be on crazy sale, they have to be different from all the ones I already have, and I have to be able to pay for them without the aid of a credit card. Missing work is so far removed from what makes another pair ok, that it doesn’t even make the rules list. I discern differences and assign value to them pretty readily: I tend to prefer expensive materials and/or eco-friendly ones, I have to be able to walk in them, at least on flat surfaces, but lawns or gravel would be a really important perk (I’ve had too many issues at weddings for this to not be a regular consideration), and amazing black shoes are amazingly hard to find so if you see a pair that adheres to the rules, always get them. It’s not the quantity or the act of putting a new pair on my feet that attracts me; it’s how they make or break an outfit. Which is, I assume, why everyone likes shoes – but probably just not as ridiculously as I do. (ok, I also enjoy that regardless of whether or not I’ve worked out recently, all my shoes will still fit – that’s very consoling.)
So I took a second to process all of what I just typed, realized that it doesn’t sound like an addiction, and thought maybe ‘fetish’ was a little closer to home. But then I looked it up just to be sure, and all the explanations involved sex and/or magic somehow. There are no sex issues at the root of my shoe collecting. Nor magic, although I am kinda sad about that.
If I ever find magic shoes, I will edit this part of the post; promise. I guess stress might trigger desire for shoes – but that’s just the easiest distraction, not a solution to the stress. And it doesn’t always get satistfied, unless I feel a situation has been difficult enough to warrant my getting a new pair. I usually require the situation to be resolved, too, before I allow for shoe buying to occur. Ie, I have to healthfully handle whatever the bonanza is first, THEN get shoes. Like a reward. Or there’s just a crazy sale of unique awesome; Rules #1 and #2.
And anyway, stress and sex aren’t always linked, so I’m not sure my stress connection to shoes is enough to render it a fetish.
Thusly, we are left with the relationship description. Most of the definitions I read involved a description that used the words ‘the state of,’ which includes changes of attitude and intensity. It also allows for the connection to go from simple to complex and back again, without the category label changing to something else, like a fetish or addiction.
I used to be bad at shoes.
I only recently got into fashion, and I’m not even entirely pleased with myself for doing so. It’s completely material; if I was spending hundreds of dollars on actual handmade, one-of-a-kind, completely unique, wearable artwork, that would be supporting the ‘art of fashion.’ I can’t afford that, even though the idea makes me so excited, I kind of giggle every time I think about it.
So I go the cheaper route, which has all sorts of bad karma attached to it; sales take advantage of cheap labor and cutting corners in areas that shouldn’t be cut, having stuff that is mass produced supports economic things that I am trying to avoid, and wanting more outfits than I need is just lame. But I like having the choices, I like wearing funky stuff that feels a certain way against my skin, flows a certain way when I walk, and makes the colors catch a certain way when juxtaposed with other pieces that I get to choose. I kinda let myself off the hook by telling myself that I do lots of other things to help out (recycle, buy as much eco friendly as I can elsewhere, buy local, buy organic, use less electricity, use less gas, save pets, clean up other people’s litter, reuse whenever possible, etc), but eventually my guilt will catch up with me, and I’ll have to learn how to upcycle my clothes, and that will be that.
But anyway, getting good at shoes took practice. And time. And I go through periods where I only wear slippers and the occasional pair of running shoes. So I think I may have a bonafide relationship with shoes. Which is somehow more depressing than a fetish or addiction, because those two things are actual conditions or issues that can be dealt with in a final and socially acceptable way. If what I’ve got with shoes is a relationship, then that just makes me weird and ridiculous, which I already knew. Sweet jesus, why do I write.