the toughest part: shoes

I suck at shopping. If I can do it online, I’m usually all right, but within 20 minutes of mall shopping I develop those wobbly mall legs. It feels like low blood sugar, and I get really, really crabby. This is what I’m faced with tonight, the fact that my online shopping attempt has failed and tomorrow I have to face the mall.

Having just moved, it is time to find a j-o-b. Unfortunately, regardless of the workaday dress level, interviews call for interview shoes. And I can’t find mine, which I’ve worn maybe a dozen times in their six or so years. We went through the two boxes of shoes I know of and they’re not there. No matter what sequence of events have brought me to this point, it’s shoe-shopping time.

The good news—at least in theory—is that words like “vegetarian” and “vegan” have popped up on shoe sites such as Zappos and Planet Shoes. Then there’s MooShoes, Alternative Outfitters, and Vegetarian Shoes and Bags. But the selection (except for mary janes) is pretty limited and expensive, and the veg-specific sites charge for shipping and have more difficult return policies. Oh, and I don’t need my vegan shoes to say “vegan,” either literally or figuratively. I don’t want a sole made from recycled bike tires to look like a bike tire. I don’t want ratty hemp uppers. I want a simple, well-made shoe that just happens to be made as cruelty-free as possible (that’s human cruelty too). And I need them now.

So for my trip to the mall, do I expect to find that perfect shoe? No. I’ll probably end up at Payless because I’ll be able to try on an inexpensive pair of invisibly black interview/funeral loafer-type shoes with no leather. I will close my eyes and hope the adhesive isn’t of an offensive origin and they weren’t made by a 15-year-old girl who’s too old and weathered to be sexually profitable in the Marianas.

If I do get an office job, I’ll have to pick up a pair or two of girly office shoes with more personality than you want to volunteer before they agree to pay you—I spent the last three years as a copy editor for a car magazine, where I could wear a “slut magnet” t-shirt and get away with it, so I’ll have to pretty much start fresh. Let’s hope for a more positive post then.

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