Rewind to a couple weeks ago when my shoes started becoming unstuck. I don't know if it is because i potter about in the rain without an umbrella, or if it's because i walk and bike and dance and scuff around my shoes like nobody's business, but i rarely have a pair last longer than a year. The most recent casualty is the shoe i bought specifically to go to job interviews last year.
For 15+ years i have almost exclusively worn Adidas Superstars because they fit my foot nicely, they are comfortable, and if you get them all in one color they are acceptable in the office. I generally find it uncomfortable to get fannish over a brand - it's basically becoming a willing slave to capitalism - but Adidas is my exception. I fucking love Adidas Superstars. I have a split triangle tattoo on my wrist that does not have anything to do with Adidas, but because everyone knows me as the chick who wears Adidas, they will point to that tattoo (which looks a bit like the three stripe logo) as further evidence of my fanaticism. And i actually don't mind. Adidas Superstars are as much an amw trademark as the sunglasses permanently planted on my forehead.
One thing that Adidas sucks on is vegan options. Now, the reason i choose to eat vegan most of the time is primarily related to my feelings on carbon output and overconsumption. I do care about animals, but i am not an animal rights absolutist. I think people who own pets are far more guilty of exploiting animals than people who buy leather shoes, but that's a separate topic. For some reason that i can't quite remember, i decided a couple years back that i would try to find a non-leather shoe to become my new trademark. I do know it was another enforced purchase - i needed a shoe for work. Even though i work in the most slobbish of office environments, i get the feeling people would still frown on the battered, multi-colored sneakers i wear in my personal time.
So i found myself a canvas shoe: the Vans Authentics. Being a plimsoll, they did nothing to hide my grossly misshapen feet and those high insteps of doom. They also provided no support, so for the next few weeks i was left comically rolling my ankles every time i tried to walk anywhere. They were stridently average in almost every respect. Covered my feet. Looked smart. Didn't make me feel like a lawyer. Right, then.
Of course after a while i wore through the soles. I ran out the last few months working in Germany with my trashed weekend Superstars.
Flash forward to my shoe-buying for the interview here. I probably wrote about it last year, but i will write about it again. In China, the largest shoe size that tends to be available is 45. And that's pushing it. I'm a 46. For my entire adult life i have struggled with the problem of never finding women's clothes that fit me, because i am much taller and broader than the average woman. I have also struggled with the problem of finding pants long enough - even in men's - because my legs are long. But i never had a problem finding shoes. Well, living in China has destroyed that last avenue of clothes shopping where i didn't feel like an ogre.
There were no shoes in the shop that fit me. Or at least nothing that seemed appropriate for an office. Not only that, but for most styles they could not even order in sizes that fit me. Ah, the irony of living 50 miles from Dongguan - the city that manufactures most of the world's sneakers - and you still cannot buy the sneaker you want. A subset of sneakers are kept for the local market, and their price is pegged at the international rate. For everything else, you have to reimport.
So, i was forced to have the shop order in one of the few pairs of shoes that were available in my size. They were not vegan, and not Superstars either. They were some other flop Adidas model that did not have my beloved rubber toe. A model that, apparently, comes unstuck in the rain.
I'm not sure if it's the rain that's the problem, to be honest. The weird thing is that on both shoes the soles have become unstuck, but even if i had superglue i wouldn't be able to fix them because somehow the size of the sole has stretched to be larger than the rest of the shoe. I can't explain how that happened. I'm not a cobbler, i'm a computer programmer. A computer programmer with two oversize shoes that now yawn open and snap shut on every step.
Dear lord, i'm wearing clown shoes.
Needless to say i should probably buy new shoes. And because i hate buying clothes so very, very much, i have been putting it off. Eventually yesterday i decided to just knuckle down and make it happen. I figured i would buy online. Since i know that any shop would have to special order my size anyway, there is no benefit to going in person. At first i looked at Superstars, then i felt guilty because of dead cow bla bla. So i looked at those Authentics again. They were not particularly comfortable shoes, and definitely not flattering on my foot, but they were functional and felt slightly more ethical. Well, fuck. I'm not an athlete. I just need something to protect me from stepping on broken glass.
Of course there are only two guys in the whole of fucking China that sell Vans in size 46. Both in Harbin, which is the cold ass fucking Siberian city mostly famous for making beer. I guess they also have more tall people up there. Anywho, since this is modern China, i figure it'll still only take a couple days for my shoes to arrive. I hope it'll only take a couple of days, because the monsoon has been dumping on and off for a few weeks now, and i am getting tired of tipping water out of the little ro-ro boats under my toes.
Anyway, the point of this whole spiel is that finding those shoes took me the better part of the afternoon. Yes. Searching for fucking shoes, on the internet, took me 3-4 hours. This is what it's like for me to buy clothes. I feel uncomfortable having to spend such a large sum of money on something i'm only using for work. I hate constantly failing to find something that will fit me. I go off on tangents of self-loathing. I get angry about the politics of shoes made in China being more expensive in China than they are overseas. I get frustrated that i can't even try cheaper local brands, because my size is not available in store. I start pondering different online stores or different vendors and hope i can miraculously uncover a stash of cheap 46s. No, no, no - there goes my whole fucking day.
This is my weekend, i'm supposed to relax! Buying clothes in anything but.
So then, waking up to another reminder that when i was young i was forced to wear clothes that i did not feel comfortable in... Jesus. I hate the culture of clothing so much. I hate that people are forced to wear certain clothes for certain occasions, it is absolutely hideous. It makes me sick to the stomach. I am almost having an anxiety attack thinking back to weddings and other bullshit occasions of enforced clothing. I hate, hate, hate. I am talking myself up into a frenzy right now and that's not good.
Soon i will have to go through this all over again for my tank tops. They are literally threadbare. It's not surprising, since many of them i have owned since before i left Canada. They're just those ultra-cheap tank tops that Old Navy used to sell and don't any more. Nobody sells ribbed cotton any more. I will never find a top that fits me again. I might be forced to wear sleeves! Oh God, please don't make me wear sleeves, please please please i hate sleeves. I am an ogre and i hate myself and fuck my life.
I'm going to make coffee and try not to cry.