When shoes aren’t a woman’s friend

I wear a size 10 when I’m not pregnant. So it’s always been challenging for me to find shoes that I love. The cute little size 6’s they put on display never look quite as good when you pull the same shoes out of their size 10 box. But I always managed to find shoes I could live with, even some that I loved.

When I was about 5 months pregnant, and my feet were a good size larger than normal, I decided I better get a couple of pairs of new shoes. I had been wearing flip-flops on my swollen feet even in the winter. In Alabama you can get away with that, but we were going to Oregon over the Christmas holidays, so I needed something warmer. My husband and I went to one of the largest malls in our area and we spent the entire day looking for shoes. Not only was I looking for a size 11(!!), but I was also bound and determined to only buy from the sale or clearance racks (I would never wear these shoes again, why pay big bucks for them?!). After visiting many stores, I finally asked a salesman for some help and he all but laughed at me when I showed him a cute little pair of dress shoes and asked for an 11.

Do you have these in an 11?

No.

What about these? Do you have these shoes in an 11?

No.

Well, what about these?

No.

Do you have any shoes in an 11?

Haha. No, I’m sorry. It’s not exactly a popular size.

Wait. Hang on. Did he really just laugh at me? I looked at him and burst into tears and I think it was about that time that he noticed my belly and I could tell he felt terrible. And good, he should. I walked away, called the shopping trip to a halt and we went home.

The next day, my husband brought me to another mall and told me, “Look, just find some shoes that you’re happy with. Don’t worry about whether or not they’re on sale.”

And he was right, I was narrowing my search too much by concentrating on the red clearance signs.

So we began our journey again. By the time we reached the third store that day, I was exhausted and totally over the whole shoe-shopping business. I walked in and started browsing, only to be approached by a young salesman. He asked me if he could help me and I told him, yes, that I really needed to find a couple of pairs of shoes in an 11. At this point, I didn’t care what they looked like, I just needed shoes.

That asshole looked me dead in the eye and said, “A man’s size 11?”

And I felt like somebody had punched me in my gut.

My husband said, “Uh-oh” and walked away.

And I very slowly turned away from the shelves of shoes I was browsing and I looked at the man straight in the eye and I said, “No. Not a man’s size 11. A woman’s size 11. I need a shoe in a VERY FAT, SWOLLEN FEET, PREGNANT WOMAN’S SIZE 11. Can you handle that?”

He tucked his tail and hurried to the back of the store, and before I knew it, I was seated on a bench with about 20 pairs of shoes at my disposal to try on.

And what do you know? They were on sale.

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