The Princess and The Shoe Fairy

Can you get PTSD from shoe shopping? I don’t know, but I think I’ve come close, which is one of the reasons I only do it a few times a year, with the focus of a pit bull and brazen bargain-hunter.

Third-world problem or not, still I have to whine about the hell of trying to score cute, comfortable, well-made size 10 footwear without dipping into my spa kitty. I do not take this budget-hit lightly, so I put it off, checked Nordstrom Rack for a month first. Then, finally I trudged into the Nordstrom mothership during their anniversary sale with a specific list of go-the-distance boots that would get me through the next few years.

Enter a cute little princess sipping her Starbucks latte, smiling coyly at her Shoe Fairy—a short, buttoned-down-looking fellow in a suit. “Get whatever you want,” he encouraged and she batted her eyelashes like a princess playing her best game, and without a beat, pointed out a dozen boots to an eager salesman.

When judgy meets jealously, it’s not a good look, but there I was since she didn’t even have her purse. Who does that? She dove into her shopping spree with gusto while her Shoe Fairy dinked around on his I-Phone. For some reason, when she threw out her size, 6, I sulked inside at the unfairness of someone having a Shoe Fairy AND small feet?

In the end, she hauled off six pair of boots, and yes, it went on his card. I left with three, knowing full well that I was going to have soup for a few weeks and kill the monthly spa trip, etc. Even still, I was proud I’d gotten exactly what I wanted and paid myself. Atta girl.

It didn’t bug me again until the wee hours of the next morning when it dawned on me that the only man who ever bought me shoes was my uncle and I WAS TEN. I also found myself wondering how else the Shoe Fairy had subsidized her life. Had he bought her a vacation, car, flat screen, jewelry or paid her rent?

Why have I never had a Shoe Fairy?

For starters, I had no real-life princess role models, pitied Disney princesses, and leaned independent from the get go. Like learning an instrument, the princess thing is perhaps best honed with an early start and  practice, practice, practice, so it’s probably too late for me to be the kind of woman who isn’t suspicious of random gift-giving beyond birthdays, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. Right or wrong, I tend to conclude that if a man’s buying me stuff, he’s trying to buy me too.

Still, sometimes—well, mostly after a spendy purchase—I wish I was the kind of woman who felt entitled to have men shower her with gifts, although I seriously think it would take shock therapy to reprogram my brain. Definitely, I’d have to delete Ne-Yo’s song, Miss Independent from my IPOD playlist in order to rebrand myself as a chick who expects “stuff” in exchange for companionship, and forget the sweet satisfaction of shouting Yes! when I get the prize for myself. Could I learn eye-batting, helplessness, hinting around for goodies, and develop an entitled sense of what’s his is mine?

Could I start falling for flush-with-money men with strong White-knight syndromes instead of the creative, funny, independent-women-loving men that I am naturally drawn to?

Probably not.

All notions of wanting a Shoe Fairy or Sugar Daddy, are well, imaginary. I like paying my way. It makes me feel strong, capable and free to be my own woman. Now, if by some miracle, cute, comfortable, size 10 shoes were to fall from the sky, well, that would be just fine with me.

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