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Flat Foot

Flat Foot

Picture 6

Everyone’s abuzz about BlogHer: what they’re wearing, what they’re bringing, what parties they’re going to, what Tim Gunn will be wearing. I understand this happens a lot in the weeks leading up to this conference each year: I missed the insanity last year, since in July I was still just splashing around in the blogging kiddie pool, and not really reading enough of the “right” people or in the right places to know that I was supposed to feel left out. This year, I will be one of the one thousand people in Chicago for the conference, and while I don’t feel left out, I’m a little bit worried about how I will function once I’m there, and if at some point I won’t just feel a little bit overwhelmed by everything and seek refuge in my room, where wireless internet and room service will be readily available without the nagging need for face-to-face socializing.

I mean, I can always eavesdrop on what everyone’s doing by reading Twitter, right? Will there be updates provided like the ones during the aftermath of the Iranian Election–instructing people to avoid the elevator in Tower 2 because somebody is having a bitchfest or because somebody finally revealed the true identity of ChickenLiver? Wait, do we already know who Chicken Liver is? Do we care? Will the people who aren’t there color their Twitter avatars purple and orange in support? Is that suggestion offensive?

Other questions: What is security like at the MamaPop party? Is there a doorman I can sweet talk to get in, or will it be a case of jumping over a wall in the back? Because I’m ready, either way. Will I feel compelled to wear my badge everywhere, or will I want to hide whenever possible? Will I be able to pass as just somebody who happens to be in the hotel at the time? Or will everyone immediately realize I must be a blogger and expect me to start talking to them? If I go to the popular culture panel, will all of the Mama Pop people know who I am, or can I pass for some other, nicer, less objectionable blogger thereby avoid potential problems? Will people guess who I am or not notice me at all? When I go down to the fitness center to exercise, will there be anyone there that I need to impress? Should I be working on my sprint trials now, just so I’m prepared? Where do you put a pack of business cards in lululemon stretch pants? So many questions!

One thing that is annoying me is the talk of stilettos. I know it’s bitchy of me to say it, but listen: where I come from, you don’t wear stilettos for a bunch of other women. And if you have wide, fugly feet like me, you really don’t ever wear them. Because it would be like trying to balance an elephant on a pencil, people. And besides, I’ve never had the whole shoe thing down–I know it’s supposed to be something you do to sort of fit in with your gender, but I don’t get it. I think feet are generally gross. I don’t like to spend a lot of time looking at them or thinking about them. And high heels, particularly stiletto heels, are really uncomfortable.

But more upsetting, really, is the stiletto discourse that I see emerging here. We are not just wearing stilettos, but we are talking about wearing stilettos. Did we do this before 2000, or is this yet another annoying Carrie Bradshaw-inspired cultural construct? Does everyone wear them at BlogHer? Do you walk hobble around from panel to panel, wooing sponsors in your stilettos? Is it OK if I decide which panels I’m going to based upon the panelist’s comfortability with me wearing shorts and flip flops? It’s hot here right now. I have shorts and flip-flops, or gym clothes. That’s it. Maybe a couple pairs of jeans. I know we’re supposed to be all professional and talking to sponsors and everything, but let’s face it: they don’t take us seriously anyway! So who cares? Maybe we should show up in bathrobes?

Maybe we can get them to give us bathrobes! Quick, somebody get the people from Kashwere on the horn, I’ve got an awesome opportunity for product placement . . .

Comments (17)

  1. Here’s the thing – I’ve been saying I’m not going to BlogHer because I’m incredibly broke, but the real reason is I have feet that defy reason. Skyscraping arches and wide toe boxes. I shouldn’t even be able to stand upright on these beasts, and there’s no way in the world I could jam these things into heels of any height. So, the real reason I’m not going to BlogHer? Shoes.

    But mostly because I’m broke.

  2. Jul 16, 2009

    Hey, girlfriend! I won’t be wearing stilettos either. I love fashion. And I will be wearing comfortable shoes (at least in the daytime, maybe at night too). I don’t feel self-conscious about it at all. If my feet hurt, I’m not happy. That’s life!

  3. Jul 16, 2009

    Hi. Self proclaimed stiletto here. I have high arches and comfortable heels and feel naked w/o my shoes at night which I have been wearing before the days of Sex in the City. But that’s my thing. I remember slipping into my mom’s heels as a little girl and watching her get ready for a night out. I love to feel feminine. But again, that’s just my thing and why I call myself a stiletto ho. I think lots of people are talking about dressing up, in heels, because they don’t generally do so as a mom on a normal basis. And it’s exciting to get dressed up.

    Can’t wait to meet you Anna. I’ll be the one in stilettos. 😉

  4. Jul 16, 2009

    @OHMommy You make a good point–dressing up can be fun. I guess I just am jealous of people who can wear shoes like that. It’s really very difficult for me, with wide feet!

    Looking forward to meeting you, too!

  5. Jul 16, 2009

    @fadkog, don’t you live around there? Why don’t you just crash on one of the days, or for one of the parties? That would be awesome to meet you! I cannot imagine that they’ll have security checking badges and everything . . . I mean, maybe I’m being naive, but I think you could probably show up without paying any fees.

  6. Jul 16, 2009

    People are wearing stilettos? Please. It’s a conference. You wear comfortable shoes at a conference. If you don’t, you’ll look like you don’t get out much. Corporate people would laugh their asses off at the suggestion of stilettos at a conference.

    I am sort of glad I decided not to go to this thing. I am not used to conferences that involve a lot of hand-wringing and outfit-planning. I’m used to the kind where you mostly talk about whose PowerPoint sucked the most. This seems way more judge-y and intimidating. Plus it sounds like there’s a lot of celebrity-watching going on, and the only “big” blogger I read regularly besides you is Dooce (well, and ChickenLiver), so I could be standing next to someone important and not even know it.

    I am almost certainly having foot surgery this fall so as to be able to wear something other than Crocs…but if you catch me in a pair of stilettos, you need to call 911, because someone is obviously holding me at gunpoint. I think the last time I wore a heel taller than 1″ was in 1992.

  7. Jul 16, 2009

    Well, in their defense, I think the stilettos are mainly for the parties at night. But I think the anxiety has to do with this being ostensibly a work conference for some people and more of a for-fun social event for others. So how do you dress knowing that? When I was in academia, I would wear semi-nice professional stuff at conferences if I was giving a paper, but not as much if I was just attending. Plus, academics are hopelessly unfashionable, so there’s not much anxiety about what to wear to an academic conference.

    But it’s a giant group of women (mostly) and there’s definitely the potential for cattiness, etc. I think everyone is projecting their own insecurities mostly. That’s what I’m doing, anyway. 🙂

  8. Jul 16, 2009

    Thank you for this primer on preparing for BlogHer. If I ever finally decide to go, I’ll be sure to pull this out in an effort to properly ramp up my anxiety levels prior to arrival.

    I, too, love to dress up and wear pretty, fancy, girly shoes. But when I blog, and do these other things I spend all day doing in front of my computer, my feet are bare. Blissfully, gloriously bare. Therefore to prepare for the last two events I attended that seemed to demand stilettos, I spent weeks in advance “preparing” my feet for the torture I was about to put them through. Then? By the end of at least one of those events, I was dancing. And there was a little pile of stilettos in the corner by the dance floor.

    Probably not a lot of dancing at BlogHer breakout sessions, eh?

  9. Jul 16, 2009

    I’m 5’11 3/4″ (unless osteoporosis has set in) so I look like a fewl in stilettos. Even if I didn’t, I fall down in the shoe department whenever I try to wear them. So, there’s that. I’ll be in flats.

    I hope we get to meet at some point. I, too, may choose to hide at times. I’m thinking this is going to be sensory overload. If I recognize you from one of your pictures and you are walking alone, should I ignore you??

    By the way, are you Chicken Liver?

  10. Jul 16, 2009

    No, you should definitely not ignore me. Or else I will be wondering why Laurin is ignoring me. 🙂

    Do you know that Neil Kramer told me that he was convinced I was Chicken Liver for a while? I told him I was insulted because her writing is so bad, but he pointed out that it would take a good writer to fake writing that bad. Which, yeah, touché.

    BUT NO, I’m not Chicken Liver.

  11. AKD
    Jul 16, 2009

    Well, if stilettos are a requirement for BlogHer, then I am never going. Plus I don’t have a blog.

    Just to take the conversation in a different direction, does it bug anyone else that on “What Not to Wear” (American version) every single person they make over has to wear heels? I mean, sure, having a pair or two of nice heels is a good idea for certain outfits, but it’s also important to have some good-looking yet comfortable shoes. Do none of these people ever have to run to catch a bus?? Or go to a conference where they are on their feet all day? Or, perhaps, are already taller than most men wearing flats? (Laurin, I’m right there with you)

  12. Jul 16, 2009

    I don’t think you have to have a blog to go to BlogHer. But maybe you do have to have stilettos. Not sure.

    Yeah, @AKD, I have always been annoyed by those makeover shows because they put people in clothes that are just not realistic for everyday. I mean, most people have work clothes and leisure clothes, and if you’re a mom, you are just not going to run around in heels all the time. And if you work all day, you’re not going to want to wear formal clothes later in the day. It’s crazy. If it were that easy, then everyone would look good all the time.

  13. Jul 16, 2009

    Not going to BlogHer and rarely wear heels (even at 5′ 1.5″), but nosiness made me check to see if anyone gave CL up in the comments… }:-)

  14. It’s about a nine hour drive from where I am to Chicago, which I’d love to make because it would be fantastic to meet you, too, but the rate I’m going, I’ll finally get to a BlogHer when I have to travel four days by boat to get there.

  15. Jul 16, 2009

    Oh man, for some reason I thought you were right near Chicago. Bummer.

  16. Jul 17, 2009

    I don’t believe in stilettos. I don’t believe anyone can walk in stilettos. And I don’t believe in BlogHer. (I’m the jealous on across the pond.)

  17. Jul 17, 2009

    I’m so happy to read this . . . I planned to wear jeans and flips until I read all the hubba-la-blue about heels and fancy dresses! I’m sticking to comfort!

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