I didn't even realize I had ugly feet until I was about nineteen years old. Up until that time I was existing under the delusion that my feet were not only normal, but cute.
I liken my discovery to that time in The Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first figured out they were naked. I don't recall the specifics, just that one day I saw my toes clearly for the first time. In a terrible flash of self-awareness, I knew.
How could it have taken so long for me to notice that my big toe is a good half-inch longer than the rest of my teeny tiny ones? Or that two of my toes are semi-connected? I had always thought it was neat that all of my toes were exactly the same length, minus one, of course. Not so, not so at all.
Now that sandal weather is upon us, my thoughts once again turn to all things flip flop and strappy shoe related. Herein lies my challenge: to find a sandal that conveniently covers most of the toe area, preferably with a flower or some sort of distracting design.
It pains me, Dear Reader, truly it does. More than once I've been riding the subway and have watched as my feet have actually caused someone to do a double take. When the staring person in question has finally been able to unglue their horrified eyes to peek at the face belonging to such feet, they find me staring daggers at them. It's fun to shame people that way.
Seriously, though, ladies with adorable, symmetrical feet have no idea how easy they have it. What I wouldn't give to have free reign over the shoe section, snatching up any old pair my freakish toes desired!
Loved ones are always eager to give counsel. My Grandmother advised me to grow out every nail except the one on the big toe, in the hopes of evening things out. This short-lived experiment really only made things grosser. Hubbers likes to tease me by saying I could go to the podiatrist and be in and out with a few simple snips. I always knew he was only joking, until one morning when he woke from a dream where he had won the lottery and surprised me with a gift of plastic surgery for my feet. What the?
I used to amuse my younger cousins by taking an eyeliner and drawing in where the separation between my second and third toes should be. The kids really got a kick out of that one.
Of course, not everyone is repulsed by my toes. Several years ago I found an audition in Backstage for a zany comedy review. I called to find out more and talked to a man who I could tell was a real character. And by character I mean freaky weirdo. But I went just the same, after all, an audition is an audition. On my way there, I remembered the ad had mentioned something about auditioning barefoot? Come to think of it, hadn't the man on the phone said something about that also? I decided he was probably joking.
In acting school we were taught to be humble, open, and ready for anything. So when the sign on the door said to leave your shoes upon entering, I did. (Hey, I could go with the flow, I could be zany and wacky, I could improvise...)
The man was filming the audition. I read with another guy and it went very well. When it was over, he said, "OK now, let's get a looksie..." referring to my feet. Was this guy for real?
"Well, I don't have the prettiest feet, I have to warn you" I nervously joked.
"Well, let's just see..." He was still eagerly filming. Immediately I felt uncomfortable, but when he asked me to grip his pointy finger with my toes I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Upon leaving, I called my Mother. "Mommy, is it dirty if I had to take my shoes off at an audition?"
This unfortunate anecdote circulated amongst my loved ones in record time and was the cause of much amusement. (For everyone except myself and the violated regions below my ankles, of course.) Needless to say, my toes and I didn't attend the callback audition.
This summer, I shall remain optimistic that I will experience much success in the way of appropriate footwear. Although I won't kid myself, I'm sure this won't be an easy task. Sometimes I even think I should start a line of open-toed shoes designed specifically for people who are toe-challenged. That might be a nice, humane thing to do with my spare time, don't you think?
Ugly toed people of the world, unite!