Saturday, May 25, 2013

The High Heel

I often wonder if the inspiration for stiletto heels came from medieval torture devices. I wonder if someone was reading some Burton-esque version of Robin Hood where the Sheriff of Nottingham was questioning a suspect about the whereabouts of a certain outlaw. Imagine it:
"The Sheriff circled his victim much like a wolf 'round an injured doe, shoulders tensed and brow creased in equal parts agitation and anxiety. He placed the (insert name of particularly cruel device here) on a small separate table, and retrieved the instrument next to it. The Sheriff admired the instrument's weight in his hand momentarily, the slant of it against his palm, the way it jutted out at both ends. On one end wresting an atypical grasp upon the back of the Sheriff's hand was a spike wrought of a curious metal. One would think it were hollow should they examine it as the Sheriff did, yet in experienced hands the tool could incur both chronic and permanent pain, their levels of severity entirely dependent upon the recipient. The other end was rather like a hill meeting a plateau, with the end rounded off like a corner. For some reason he imagined the butt of an axe, balancing its bladed counterpart. It was almost the same here, though the spike could never be an axe, and the jutted corner was too flat to balance anything. The whole things was odd to look at, like an unfinished 'N.' The Sheriff felt the prisoner's eyes on the instrument, and he put it down and reached for another."
Voila! An early version of a modern-day fashion staple. By the by, I personally have nothing against high heels, owning a pair or two myself. But I was shopping the other day and just gawking at these five thousand different pairs of high heels, and all I could think was, "Dang! That looks like it would hurt." Truly, though, hats off to whoever came up with the engineering where anyone over 85 lbs can walk around on this three inch spike and not have it snap like a twig. And some credit has to go to the people wearing the darn things. You are braver than me.


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