She sighed. We were sitting outside a cafe near the beach on a chilly winter day with our coats buttoned up tight and steaming cappuccinos in our hands. There were also two glasses of Cabernet…as chasers.
“I don’t get it. Some days I really think I’m over this and can do it all myself. Who needs him? He doesn’t do the things I ask him to. It’s almost like he doesn’t do them on purpose because I’m asking! Then just when I’m ready to end it he’ll do something amazing and I love him again. But next week…it’s the same thing all over.”
I looked at her. “Men are like shoes.”
I pointed to her black stiletto boots. “Do you expect your shoes to change to fit your feet?”
She looked puzzled. “No…”
“Then why do you expect men to change to fit your needs? Those boots are hot, but I’m sure after a while they hurt. What happens then? Do you try to lower the heel and reshape them, do you kick them off and go barefoot…or do you slip on a more comfortable pair?”
She laughed. “You can’t be serious. Men and shoes?”
“Oh, sweetheart, of course I am! Think about it…the relationship and love between women and shoes can be as complicated and inexplicable as it is between any woman and man. If you don’t expect your shoes to change, don’t expect a man to change. Some are pretty and uncomfortable. Others fit great but lack flair. Some women can only love shoes that hurt their feet. However, sometimes you love shoes that don’t change, but loosen up. They become your favorite. So comfortable, that even when they start falling apart, you’ll never want to get rid of them. “
“Oh, wow. That makes so much sense. Where did you come up with that?”
“I didn’t. For a couple of years, while I was living in France I found that the French have a vastly different and much more honest way of looking at things. It was there that I heard the saying ‘men are like shoes.’ The more I thought about it, the saying clicked with me. I had a much better outlook of relationships afterwards. Namely, not being disappointed or bitter. It simply was what it was and I brought this saying back to America to amuse my friends.
Some shoes fit better than others. Sometimes you go shopping and there’s nothing you like. And then, as luck would have it, the next week you find two pairs that are perfect, but you don’t have the money for both.”
We drained the last of our wine.
Gathering our bags to leave, I looked at her and smiled. “Your time and energy is valuable. Don’t waste too much of it expecting your shoes to change. Shoes that pinch don’t have to be part of your life, you know. Sometimes you have to try on a few pairs to find something that is the perfect fit for you. C’est la vie.”