Why time stands still for no woman

Shoe in: Egyptians protest with their footwear
Shoe in: Egyptians protest with their footwear
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Flip-flops. Again. I’ve lived in little else for the last three months. And not out of choice. Or because of the weather (what a flipping joke).

All too often I’m wearing them in spite of the clime; I’m the woman slip-slapping through rainstorms, squishing through puddles and trying to look as if I don’t care. The glances I get on a foul day; I may as well have Vivienne Westwood hair and be pushing a battered shopping trolley down High Street.

No, I’m wearing inappropriate footwear because I have to. That doesn’t mean some freaky rubber fetish is leading me on. Certainly not. Quite simply, I can’t get any other shoes on.

It’s 11 weeks since that blasted fall – down all of two of my stairs. I curse myself for thinking it was sensible to put a load of washing on at midnight after two glasses of wine.

Back in June, the doc at A&E who gently cradled my throbbing right foot in his hands while tragically bearing no resemblance whatsoever to Doug Ross, said nothing broken, just a sprain, expect it to take several months to heal. How I laughed. No, no, I chortled. I’d toppled off many a stiletto heel in my time and always managed to get back up there again in days, if not hours.

Yet despite the elastic bandages, the physio appointments, the popping of enough anti-inflammatory pills to deflate an elephant and desperately wearing one very tight flight sock for days on end, the medic was ruddy well right. The foot is giving me gyp still. I’ll wake in the morning and think, oh, it’s starting to match the other one again, but within hours find it has once again morphed into a pretty fair impersonation of a club foot.

Putting the ache aside, the worst part is that my fashion choices have been severely curtailed for a whole summer. Strappy sandals and any kind of a heel? You have to be joking.

They won’t fit and they scare me now; what if I had another fall? Ballerinas would be all right, if only one foot didn’t spill over the side like Pillsbury dough.

Plus a shoe, or the lack of it, is like the Third Reich of the wardrobe; it dictates what the rest of you can or cannot wear. Dressy dresses, smart skirts and my lovely long trousers and jeans have been on an enforced summer vacation too.

I’ve broken my heart over some beautiful nude suede courts I bought at the back-end of May. The height of this summer’s chic, they’ve only been out of the box once (the time I thought to hell with it, slipped into the new frock they match so beautifully, stuffed my foot into the graceful arc and hobbled into the night helpless as a geisha on Bloke’s arm, hoping people would overlook the one suede-hoofed pig’s trotter).

And now autumn is coming. A whole new season’s shoes and boots are filling the shops and I feel like the Little Match Girl, nose pressed to the window of a world in which she cannot belong.

Is this what it feels like to be an old lady? I’m scared. I could end up scouring the back pages of the Sunday papers for sensible sandals with adjustable Velcro straps and sturdy, non-slip soles.