How do people walk on high heels?
This evening the husband and I went to a preview of the Paul Sandby exhibition at the Royal Academy. Sandby (1731-1809) was, so it is said, 'the father' of English watercolour painting, and there were some under-stated little treats in this show. I was particularly taken with his clever little images of "London life" (below) and the big views of the Thames, west and east from Somerset House (showing how, before the Embankment was built, the Somerset House gardens stretched right down to the river).
So it was fun. But these parties are a bit odd when (it being Lent) you are off the booze. You find that you become much more observant of other people, and -- of course -- what they are wearing. On this occasion, I found myself with a fellow guest observing the various shoes on display. It seemed to me an achievement almost beyond imagining that so many women could actually function on heels quite so high. This is a skill (?) that I have never managed to acquire. I simply fall over if I try. And that is not just in later middle age and weight. I have NEVER managed it.
Maybe it is a lower leg problem of my own. In fact, maybe it is connected with another skill I have never mastered in the leg area: namely getting on a bicycle by scooting with my left leg on the pedal, then bringing my right leg deftly round, while on the move (other people seem to find this simple, but I have to climb onto the saddle and fit my feet onto the pedals from that position).
Or perhaps I just haven't practised on heels enough.
All the same, I cant help thinking that they are a very perverse piece of footwear -- and that in 200 hundred years they will be on show in costume museums as a weird example of the way women were trapped by fashion (the crinoline of the twentieth and twenty-first century).