Zen of the Stiletto

On Wednesday night I was sitting talking with my friend Michelle at our friend Steve’s monthly Yoga Potluck in his gorgeous Green Home in Santa Monica. The teacher Ted had just given us an hour and a half power calming yoga class and now we were onto the eating and socializing portion of the evening. The topic of our conversation was “shoes.”Now you might wonder why we would be talking about shoes after a relaxing yoga class where one definitely doesn’t wear shoes. But that’s really the point. As a yoga student and teacher for many years, I have spent so much time being barefoot that I have been feeling a little bit out of it since I don’t know how to wear high heels! (Yes, I am living in the environs of Hollywood now so this subject does come up.)The truth is – I CAN’T WEAR HIGH HEELS! I get back pain, my ankles feel like they are going to twist and sprain, and my entire foundation feels extremely unstable and like I am going to crash down at any moment. From yoga I know that if your foundation is weak, the rest of the posture is going to have a hard time finding strength and the practitioner will definitely have a hard time opening up. A great life metaphor!Knowing that wearing heels causes me pain, instability and discomfort, why would I ever want to wear them and why do I even care?Michelle, who was out visiting me from New York, also expressed a curiosity about wearing heels, but she as well has issues with them. “I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do everything I need to do. I walk a lot and I rush around too much for them,” she said. And then there was an unfolding gleam in Michelle’s eyes and she seemed to be in the midst of an ‘AHA’ moment! “Maybe that is just it,” she said. “You can’t rush around in them. Maybe they get you to slow down. Maybe there is something zen to them!”We got a big laugh from this and then our friend Mark chimed into the conversation. He told us about a woman from his work who he says, "always wears stilettos." “She is a very good looking gal, but when she stands up and tries to walk, she can barely move. It is painful to watch her! Everything that she spent on looking beautiful just goes right out the door when she gets up from that desk.”This was so sad for me to hear about this woman not being able to walk and I doubted that she was wearing her stilettos for zen reasons (although you never know). Michelle seemed like she might be onto something with her epiphany, but I still wonder these things:1. Why as women are some of us fascinated with high heels/stilettos?2. Are they empowering? And if so, why? (make us feel taller, sexier, enhance certain aspects of ourselves that we really like?)3. Are they disempowering (make us unstable, weak, not steady, uncomfortable, and objects to be admired but not comfy?)4. Why can some women wear stilettos and others not?5. Are men really attracted to women wearing heels/stilettos. And if yes, why?6. What would life be like if NO ONE wore stilettos?To get some of my questions answered I am going to be a guest on the Fashion 411 radio show this Friday hosted by celeb stylist, Barbra Horowitz, and get a chance to dialogue with Tina Aldatz Norris, the creator and president of the super successful business, Foot Petals. Tina created Foot Petals to help those who have a love/hate relationship with sexy shoes! If this is you, check it out! ************************************************************************Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.