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September 15, 2008

Can I try your shoe on?

September 15. Day 77.
After dinner, a friend came over to Dr. B and her husband's house so we could all eat some nectarine cupcakes and watch Gossip Girl. I was planning on going out afterwards, to make a few phone calls, work on the dissertation and, of course, ask. But as this woman, a high school history teacher, settled into her corner of the couch, I caught sight of her shoes and decided there was something I could request, right there.

She was wearing cool shoes.

Sporty shoes, the kind I wear to play tennis or go hiking, but with an open back. Sneaker-clogs, you might say. They seemed comfortable, yet stylish. Nothing I've seen before. Nothing I'd ever own, because I'm just not that practical, but suddenly I was overcome with the desire to see how comfortable they were.

I kept eyeing her shoes during the commercials, waiting to make a move, but it always seemed incredibly awkward. Every time there was a split second pause in the conversation and I opened my mouth, someone else started talking. Anyway, what would I say? "Hey, I like your shoes. Would you mind if I tried one on?" Or perhaps a more neutral approach. "I've been thinking of investing in some shoes kind of like yours. Are they comfortable? Oh really? Great. Could I see what they feel like?"

Eww. With every scenario I realized I sounded like the Prada salesman in Sex in the City who gave Charlotte free shoes in exchange for playing with her feet.

Well, Serena and Dan broke up, the show ended, and with it, my chances for asking were swiftly diminishing.

The friend got up and headed to the kitchen. I grabbed a plate and followed her. There, she and one of my hosts were talking about -- I couldn't tell you what. I was getting more and more worked up, thinking about how I'd ask. There I was, a houseguest, trailing the hosts's friend so I could try on her shoes, while everyone around me assumed I was interested in movies and politics like the rest of them.

A moment of silence.

"I like your shoes. Are they comfy?"

"Yeah, pretty comfortable." As I bent forward a little, she extended her foot so I could get a better look.

"Could I try it on?"

If she considered my request odd, she handled it very graciously. She took her foot out and let me step in.

Now what would I do? Walk, like at the shoe store? Stand on it?

I decided to run. Around the kitchen.

"Do you go running in these?" I asked, still in motion.

By now I think we were both weirded out. Why didn't I just give it back immediately, like any other person would have? Oh wait, because no one else would try on some random woman's shoe...

"No, I have other shoes for that. I mean, if I'm in a hurry I'll run in them, but they're not designed for that."

I quickly stepped out, and nudged it back toward her.


Gained: getting over my stage fright.

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