Fixing Myself

The world is full of funny juxtapositions.

Over the weekend, someone told me (three nights in a row) that I “won” for having the best embrace of the night. I had a number of beautiful dances. A while before that, a visitor mentioned to someone that I am “the future” of my city. Such compliments! But such things never seem to come alone…

Today, my physical therapist told me that the muscles around my hips are messed up. She said that when I reach back with my right leg, it all comes from my right hip tilting—because my psoas is so tight that I literally can’t stretch my thigh backwards from my hip joint. She said that my right hip is constantly tipping forward, and so my upper back is getting tighter. Even worse, despite all that tightness those muscles are also weak. Where were the body-knowledgeable tango teachers when all this happened?

Because my physical therapist is no normal therapist (she does much more than that, and she specializes on dancers), I fully trust that she will fix me. But in the meantime, I am banned from wearing high heels. I am stuck with my jazz shoes and my dance sneakers. And the upcoming festival? Well, at least I won’t be tempted to buy more CIFs.

I hope those leaders were serious about loving my embrace, because my feet won’t be looking nearly so pretty for a while!

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Darcos fashion line

It seems that Darcos is branching out into everyday footwear. And by everyday, I mean very trendy-looking, not-for-everyday shoes! Actually, some of the shoes seem very practical and even have relatively low heels. But many of them are shoes that I would never consider wearing for day-to-day purposes. Not that I don’t still love the designs!

I could actually see myself wearing this black-and-white pair to work. I mean, if I didn’t wear jeans and go barefoot most of the time, even in the office. (Right now I am wearing a plain white t-shirt, flared jeans, and have my sandals kicked off under my desk.) Even those coworkers who are dressed up a bit more still spend most of the day barefoot! But still, I could see myself getting these shoes for the events when I dress up a bit more.

These purple shoes are also FABULOUS. I only wish that they weren’t 9 cm. If I don’t wear heels that high while dancing, I sure won’t bother with them on the streets. But they are fantastic. I love the lines! And the colors. And the overall style. Hmmm … they do have a half-inch platform. That means they will feel like 3.5″ heels …

Actually, the one thing that is probably saving my bank account right now is the fact that Darcos don’t really fit me very well. I haven’t had a lot of luck with feeling comfortable in the pair that I have, and the shoes themselves feel somewhat rigid rather than supportive. That said, I don’t wear them that often … so it isn’t like they have had a lot of opportunity to be broken in. But still, I think I will leave these beauties to be worn by other women—at least until my willpower is worn down a little more!

Tango = happiness

I found a nice article that explains why, in the long-term, dancing tango makes me happier than buying tango shoes. 😉 “Do Experiences Lead to Greater Happiness Than Material Purchases?” on Get Rich Slowly. It is a nice reminder for me, someone who tries not to be too consumerist but tends to throw that out the window when I see a nice pair of tango shoes.

Yes, I love my shoes. Yes, it is very gratifying to find a lovely pair that fits well in a style and color I like and don’t already have. I also find it helpful to share my experiences and read about other women’s experiences buying shoes. If we don’t have the right equipment, we hinder our ability to dance well (and well into the future).

However, I get the shoes so that I can dance. Once the newness has worn off, they are just lovely shoes I enjoy wearing for the purpose of dancing. And the dancing is, really, what makes me happy. Tango provides exercise, social interaction, and an opportunity to get into a “flow” state—all three of which are cited examples of why paying for an experience creates more happiness than paying for material goods.

So there you go. In case there were any question, now it is clear: the shoes make me happy for a little while, but ultimately they are an investment in the greater happiness I get from my tango experience.

New shoes!

Well, I ended up with new shoes—and they aren’t like either of the pairs I described in my last post! That’s what happens when someone with lovely taste and a generous heart brings numerous pairs of shoes (in the right size and heel height!) to sell at a milonga. In fact, I ended up not with one new pair, but with … three. I justified it, however, by telling myself that I was buying those three pairs for the price of one pair of CIFs. And one of the pairs was in fact a pair of never-worn CIFs! So there we go.

I walked into the milonga wearing black pants and a cream-colored top, because I couldn’t find the colorful top I had wanted to wear. But I think it was fate. Right there, on the table just inside the door, was a pair of black-and-cream Comme Il Fauts. I hesitated, because I wasn’t going to buy shoes … but that hesitation obviously didn’t last long! My friend was only asking $20 for them, and I couldn’t resist. I have always liked the look of this style, especially with the wraparound ankle strap. I ended up wearing these shoes for the rest of the night and loved them.

After walking into the milonga and greeting my friends, I was pulled back out into the entryway with the shoes. Two pairs of shoes had been set aside specifically for me to try on. They had three-inch heels and were, incidentally, bright and beautiful colors that I didn’t yet own. This blue pair of Comme Il Fauts was fantastic. Up to now, I haven’t owned a pair of shoes with a single ankle strap. They have been t-straps, or criss-crossed, or assymetrical. I have shied away from single straps across the ankle, because I point my feet a lot and always worry about whether the shoes will stay on my feet. This style, however, is just right—a single strap, but low on my arches so that it stays snug on my foot. The shoes feel supportive and look classy. I hesitated with these shoes because of the lack of blue in my wardrobe … but my shoe enabler came to my rescue and reminded me that they make a nice accent to a plain black or otherwise subdued outfit.

Finally, the third pair. I really wasn’t planning on these. Once again, thought, I found myself looking at a pair of brightly-colored shoes (I didn’t have an all-red pair yet!) with three-inch heels. So hard to resist. I am more concerned about my foot sliding out of these, but after some testing I felt ok about them. And my favorite leader has promised to help me out with further tests! These are Neotango. Simple, clean lines. And goodness knows I have plenty of clothes to wear with these ones!

I can hardly believe I came home with three new pairs of shoes. I feel guilty, but I made a deal with myself: I won’t feel guilty as long as I don’t buy myself anything extraneous for several months. No new shoes, no clothes, nothing. I have plenty of other things I do need to get (a new contact lens prescription, a smog check for my car, a work computer), so I won’t be tempted to throw away my money willy-nilly. I guess July is just my indulgent month.

Did I tell you about my vacation? The one starting next week? I give myself a real vacation twice a year, and soon I leave for a week of relaxation, swimming, and tango in a new place … did I mention indulging myself this month?

I always come back to the shoes.

I have noticed a trend: When I haven’t been out dancing in a while, I start daydreaming about shoes. Suddenly, the shoes become the most interesting part of dancing. (I am reminded of the blog post where Royce dissects a tango shoe. Take a look, if you haven’t already.)

I know what pair I want next. I am wearing summery clothes a lot now, and I noticed that I don’t have a good pair of shoes to go with my light-colored clothing. All of my shoes contain either black or dark brown. I would love a pair of white or tan shoes, preferably a sandal with a thick sling back and a three-inch heel. I am keeping an eye out for a pair like that.

I am also seriously considering a light purple pair. I wear enough purple to justify it, but I can’t decide quite what I would want–just purple? Purple and black? Purple and brown? Purple and some other color? Again, I am just watching what shoes are coming up for sale and making note of anything that looks almost-right.

Good thing I haven’t seen quite what I want, though. I have better things to save up for.