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and with enthusiasm. The corresponding emotions might first be confusion or relief, followed by a moment of genuine pleasure, which is expressed regardless of whether or not the interviewee truly enjoys shoes. It is the pleasure of being asked such a frivolous, even ridiculous question – which, as psychotherapist and counsellor Kimberly Moffit confirms, “is like admitting an indulgence.” For that is in part, as Anne Naugler and others say, what makes shoes so much fun. They are a bright and colourful distraction from the day to day, and a rare treat for a women who may otherwise rarely take much time for herself. Leave the black and brown at home; a woman’s shoes may be as bold as she chooses. Shoes give her the freedom to express herself confidently in a way that clothing, so often associated with body image anxiety, cannot. She may choose the height and style that suits her assertiveness and mood, and enjoy the instant confidence that comes from wearing them. That which she has desired – the pair that she has specifically chosen – now makes her feel more attractive, beautiful, desirable, powerful, in control.

One piece of practical advice: men should conduct the experiment themselves. Asking a woman about her shoes always triggers a response of some kind; at best, it might provoke a rare insight into the female mind. If not, many women are utterly charmed by the subject of shoes, and that someone has noticed hers – and doesn’t every woman deserve to be charmed? That’s a secret George Clooney understands. We can’t all be like George, but if you know something about a woman’s shoes, you don’t have to be – studies would suggest you’re already sexier than he is. How’s that for an icebreaker?

Matt Shaw puts ideas into words for corporations, charities, social enterprises and publications. He couldn’t walk in heels if he tried.

Common themes among the responses include practicality (“I love shoes, but I’m more of a practical person”), previous youthful immaturity (“Well, I used to really love shoes, but not so much anymore”) and gender (“I love shoes, but I just can’t explain it to you”).

Despite her considerable shoe collection, Anne’s attitude towards her shoes is not so much different from that of many other women, even if she has acquired more shoes than most. She is also not immune to the telling momentary pause or verbal nuances that hint at a deeper layer of a woman’s complex feelings towards her shoes. She answers the question, “Do you love your shoes?” as do many others, with the usual pattern of pause, relief, and positive response – followed by a qualifier, an explanation, or a fullon recant. She loves shoes, but is wary of appearing to love them too much. Common themes among the responses include practicality (“I love shoes, but I’m more of a practical person”), previous youthful immaturity (“Well, I used to really love shoes, but not so much anymore”) and gender (“I love shoes, but I just can’t explain it to you”). Both Dr. Joti Samra and Kimberly Moffit suggest there is an element of shame in these responses – the shame of financial irresponsibility or appearing overly indulgent. Men, and Women’s Footwear Perhaps it’s more than any man could hope to understand. Are these deflections merely cautious or polite, intended to ward off an interloping male, or do they indicate deeper, more complex layers of meaning?

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What Makes You Happy Magazine - Issue 1  

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What Makes You Happy Magazine - Issue 1  

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