You can tell the age of a tree by counting its rings. You can determine a woman’s age by counting the cracks in her feet. I used to think it was the wrinkles on her face that gave it away, but recently I decided it is the appearance of her feet. Faces can be altered with plastic surgery, Botox and expensive creams. Feet, however, are left relatively untouched to tell the world of their owner’s travels. Daily, I find that my feet are a reminder of past journeys, foolish choices and years logged under my belt. I remember laughing at my mother’s feet when I was a kid, marveling at her misshapen toes and worn heels. I thought she just didn’t take care of them or had inherited some quirky foot gene. After all, her mother had a bunion the size of Mt. Everest. Based on what I know now I’m surprised mama didn’t put one of her dry, cracked size 6s up my butt, because no matter how well you baby your feet, you just can’t undo the damage from decades of pounding the ground.
The first foot clue to a woman’s age is the height of her heels. There are some middle aged women who hang in there with the stiletto pumps but most of us have to give them up by age 35 and definitely by age 40. When it comes to heels, the rule is: The older you grow, the lower they go. That can be applied to boobs, butts and guts, too, but that’s another post. Hooker heels are back in style these days, and every time I look at them, I tally up the emergency room bill in my head. I couldn’t wear those fifteen minutes without pulling my heel or wrenching my ankle. There’s a small part of me that wants the leopard pumps, but they’re not worth the $500 health insurance deductible so I shop in the aisle two rows over from the Sass lace-ups instead.
Foot ailments are the best clue as to the owner’s age. Bum nails, hammer toe, flat feet. The list of stuff that affects your step goes on and on. It starts to creep in around age 40 and just gets worse and worse. Tendonitis in my heels prompted my first visit to the foot doctor about two years ago. It was quite humbling to sit in the waiting room with so many senior citizens. It was even more humbling to discover that the foot doctor was obviously younger than me. However, it is rare that a young handsome man plays with my feet, so I got over it as soon as he started rubbing my instep. How about a little Marvin Gaye or Barry White on your sound system, Dr. S? A little more pressure on the left heel, please. Just a tad more. Right there. Oh, where was I?
I’ve spent a lot of time staring at my feet lately, marveling at how they’ve survived 42 years of walking, running, tripping and falling. 42 years of bad shoe choices including plastic mary janes from the Fair Store, pointy toed pumps and flimsy flip-flops in eight different shades. 42 years of mashed, stomped and stubbed toes. 42 years of walking barefoot on gravel, asphalt, concrete and grass. My feet look very much like my mother’s did at this age. My daughter laughs at them. I’d put my foot up her butt for it, but it would probably inflame my tendonitis.
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