Hi, my name is Jessica, and I have a sample sale problem.
My favorite pair of shoes are so uncomfortable I can’t actually wear them (you’ll notice they are photographed on my book shelf as opposed to on my person for a reason). Despite the fact that wearing them makes me want to sever a foot, we just can’t bear the thought of parting ways.
I remember when I first knew I had to own these shoes: I was at a taping of Oprah in Chicago (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the guests, and it was one of those defining life moments when all the stars align and magic and fashion can happen) and Oprah walked out onto the stage barefoot, holding the shoes up to the live studio audience. I fell in love.
It wasn’t until she sat down that she actually put them on, but I decided to put my better judgment aside (as I am wont to do) and overlook this minor detail at the time. I subsequently made it a goal to hunt them down and own them. When I finally met them in person on the sale rack at Barney’s, I was so in love that I was blinded by the fact that the last pair did not technically fit. But, since I’d already fantasized about our future children, I bought them anyway.
That was almost five years ago, and they have since become a permanent fixture on my bookshelf. I’ve tried everything; I took them to my miracle-working shoe man, I tried stretching them, I even tried taking a kitchen knife to them to open up the toe box myself. That’s when my roommate had to sit me down and intervene…
So I thought to myself, serrated steak knife in hand: Am I crazy?
The answer, obviously, was yes. But I am not alone.
Upon further investigation, it turns out that about 80% of women keep clothes that don’t fit, and 67% think they’ll be able to wear them again. And then there’s the occasional (delusional) individual who is still holding out hope that her feet will shrink…
So what is it that makes the idea of parting ways so difficult, even if the item in question is no longer functional?
I spent some time researching this phenomenon and discovered that the degree to which we develop emotional attachments depends on the degree to which the item is irreplaceable. E.g. the degree to which we bought it at a sample sale... Nowhere is it suggested that the item has to function properly (aka fit) in order for it to develop emotional significance. Go figure.
As I evaluated these claims, I realized that, given my current trajectory, in six month’s time I’ll be blogging about my debut on Hoarders: Buried Alive.
I’m holding out hope that my future daughter will have slightly smaller feet than I, or perhaps, one day, I’ll lose a toe. But until that happens, I’ll continue to put on my lovely shoes for 15 minute intervals at a time in the comfort of my apartment, occasionally tell them stories, ask them for advice, read them novels… and then return them to my bookshelf where they will silently watch over me.