Teacher Shoes

When did I get old? I’m not (I’m only thirty-seven), but if you ask my kids, I’m outdated. Worse than that, I’m not cool.

I made the mistake of taking my kids shopping with me the other day to purchase shoes. I was looking for a pair of black flats I could wear with everything and not get tired of wearing as the day wore on. Something comfortable. I just didn’t realize ‘comfortable’, in teenspeak, meant old.

After walking through two aisles, I finally found a pair of slip-on MaryJanes in charcoal. Comfortable and simple. Shoes I actually liked. Success!

“What do you think?” I asked my girls (my son, I knew, didn’t care and would only grunt in response).

“They look like teacher shoes,” my oldest daughter stated quite matter-of-factly.

“Teacher shoes?” I repeated, offended on behalf of their instructors, who spend all day on their feet, dealing with loud, talkative and diva-like students. Like my daughter. “That is not nice,” I told her.

Then I remembered my teachers from grade school. They were seemingly all fat and old, and wore ‘old lady shoes’ – the patent leather grey, black or tan orthopedic shoes that were made for comfort, not style. Because I was much shorter than my 5’2″ stature back then, their shoes were the only thing I got a good look at, and boy, were they ugly.

I looked at the shoes in my hand and felt really old all of a sudden. But what choice did I have? The alternative was the pair of five-inch stiletto heels, with a one-inch base, in a reflective, restrictive grey material my daughter assured me was cool and not outdated. I bought my old lady shoes and went home; at least I would be comfortable in my old age.

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