There is an English saying that I have always liked. When someone wants to mean that they should put themselves in their clothes, they say “put yourself in my shoes”. It’s not very different, yet it is. Because it is one thing to put on another person’s clothes. It is one thing to put on your shoes. Shoes are the part that wears out the most, by dint of walking in them. And they come in all shapes and colors, comfortable and uncomfortable. Of fascinating and painful…. And even if it is a metaphor, at times, we should really take it literally, as I once did….

A long time ago, when I was still a young university student, I happened to know one of the most annoying representatives of the Y chromosome in my personal history.

Assigned to the same study group by a professor unaware of the abject being that was hitting me, I had to endure his complaints and criticisms for almost two months.

Actually, the sacrificial victim of his temper was not me, but his girlfriend, a one-year younger student in our own course. This girl evidently had not witnessed the evolution of the Disney princesses and had remained with the Cinderella prototype, because she did practically everything that the above-mentioned guy asked of her. From getting him coffee and a croissant every morning, to what for me was a real torture: always wearing high heels.

For this guy, a woman without heels could not deign to call herself a woman. Now, beyond the fact that in my opinion everyone should be free to wear what he wants as much as and when he wants within the limits of decency, for a woman wearing those monstrous shoes every day is equivalent to a walk on fire.

Yes, because as beautiful, wonderful, perfect as they are seen in the shop windows, once they are worn one soon realizes that the more beautiful they are, the more uncomfortable they are! The more charming they are, the more your foot curls up inside them like a shrunk can. A tragedy!

I LOVE high shoes, but I’ve always wondered if the maker is a sadist or a jerk, as they’re designed for four toes, not five. The little toe where should we put it? Should we cut it off?

Instead of taking a rib from the man, do we donate a little toe?

For heaven’s sake, there are women who, against all anatomy, suck their feet into high shoes every day, but that’s a good choice for them.

The guy demanded it, ordered it.

Nevertheless that the sweetheart could send him to hell, so there was a fifty percent guilt, there was an episode where I felt I had to intrude, if not in defense of the X chromosome, at least the poor feet that support us all day!

We had gone out downtown for an aperitif. Anyone who has been to Rome at least once knows that center means cobblestones and cobblestones means sprained ankle.

Affliction to those who touch the cobblestones! The two mayors who tried to propose a classic asphalting were fed to the lions of the Colosseum; but it is beyond question that it is not the most comfortable flooring in this known world.

Especially on heels.

The guy as always had “suggested” to his girlfriend to wear the shoes of pain, while the others had been pointed out with jokes and giggles for the parade of boots, sneakers or ballet flats.

The fact is, that halfway through, the poor girlfriend could hardly walk anymore, so many of those holes and twists she had taken. The guy blamed her by saying she didn’t know how to carry them.

So, I blurted out. With extreme calm, however.

I stared straight into his eyes and said “I’d like to see you walking with them”, he laughed. But I was serious. Everyone supported me (evidently exasperated by the guy and his theories about women, as much as I was), so we went to a shoe store, got the highest shoes possible, and made him wear them.

The challenge was to walk in balance for at least five minutes.

The guy boasted, he said “let’s even do ten”.

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Poor visionary.

Already when I put on the shoes, I saw he whiten.

Getting to his feet cost him the first minute. The girlfriend was calm but in my opinion, inside she was dancing the macarena.

The next four minutes I heard every bone in his legs creak and at least three times I saw he grip to something or someone to keep from falling.

He then justified himself by saying that it was the emotion, the first time, that the male foot is different from the female one. In short, there was no loss.

But, who knows why, from the day after the girlfriend began to show off boots, ballet flats, even flip-flops….

It is really true that before judging you should… put yourself in his SHOES!