Fashion, Writing


The good news: Last night’s reading went incredibly well. Jaclyn Friedman and Toni Amato were fucking awesome (Jessica Valenti had strep and couldn’t make it, unfortunately), I met loads of Boston fatties and a few Shapelings — including, finally, Miss Conduct! — and got way more positive feedback than I deserved. And we sold out of books! Yippee!

Thanks so much to Jaclyn and the Center for New Words for setting it up and inviting me. I had an awesome time — except for one thing. 

So, I brought this pair of heels along with me to wear for the reading. Very sensible heels, mind you — thick and sturdy, with a pronounced rubber sole. I’ve worn them many times and never had a problem, except for the occasional heel blister.

Unfortunately, everyone I talked to in the greater Boston area was flipping out about the weather, to the extent that I somehow forgot I live in Chicago and manage snowier, icier, slushier streets than that on a regular basis (albeit not uneven cobblestone ones). This, plus the fact that I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy some slightly dressy brown boots anyway, meant I could not possibly wear the THICK, STURDY, TESTED heels I’d brought with me. I had to go shopping!

As soon as I saw these, I was done shopping. They were exactly what I wanted — casual but stylish, heel not too high, comfy, great color. As a bonus, since they’re slouchy on top, they don’t rub anywhere — no blisters!

You know what else the slouchy top means, though? No ankle support. This will become important later.

Here, I need to rewind and tell you the story of the Mary Janes That Made Me Fall. The story is: I had these mary janes that made me fall all the time. Otherwise, they were perfect — incredibly comfortable, cute with jeans and skirts, no blisters, etc. — but something about the design of those shoes and the shape of my feet meant that about one out of every 3 times I wore them, one of my ankles would collapse, and I’d take a header. I never did more damage than an ankle twist that hurt for an hour or so, though, and I loved everything else about those shoes, so it didn’t really faze me. (Here, I should rewind and mention that between 1987 and 1989, I sprained my ankles badly enough to need crutches no less than 5 times. So I do have a history of weak ankles/not being so slick at walking — but because I hadn’t had a serious ankle incident in so long, I figured all the scar tissue had toughened them up or something.) 

So, one day Al puts it together that every time I fall down (he’s there about half the time it happens), I’m wearing those same mary janes. And he’s having none of it. Over the next few months, we have many conversations like this: 

Al: When are you going to get rid of those fucking shoes?

Me: I’m not. I love these shoes.


Me: But I never really hurt myself! And they’re cute and comfy!


Me: Small price to pay. 

Then comes the day when I’m wearing the mary janes as we’re crossing the street, and I fall down. Hard. Purse and glasses go flying, so Al has to scramble to collect them and me before the light changes and I get run over by a car. I’m still not actually hurt, but I really no longer have a leg to stand on, so to speak. 


Me: All right. You win.

Shortly thereafter, The Mary Janes That Made Me Fall went to Goodwill. 

And here’s the thing I didn’t take into consideration when I bought the cute new boots yesterday: The heels are shaped exactly like the ones on The Mary Janes That Made Me Fall.


So. I get to the venue, settle in, meet some people, all is well. Then I go out into the hallway, hit the edge of a rug, and fall down. Hard and loud. A bunch of people scramble to see if I’m OK — which I am, at this point. It wasn’t fun, but I’m not hurt, no biggie. Except that I now know from the way it happened that these are going to be forever known as The Boots That Make Me Fall. My left ankle just totally collapsed out of nowhere, and it felt exactly like it did when I went down in the Mary Janes That Made Me Fall.

But oh, well, nothing I can do about it — and hey, at least I’ve already had my fall for the night, right? 

So. I read. I make it on and off the stage without falling. It’s all good. Then I head out for a smoke. 

Same rug. Same ankle. Katy go boom. Landed on the same knee, too. Which sucked, and hurt a little more than the last time — but it’s still no big, nothing that’s going to hurt for longer than 5 minutes. 

Then I come back in from smoking. SAME RUG. SAME ANKLE. SAME KNEE. Now, my ankle is officially twisted — like, it’s-gonna-hurt-tomorrow twisted — and my knee officially hurts. But still, I’m mobile — if a little slow — and there’s an after party to get to.

Did I mention that up to this point, I’ve been drinking nothing but water? Yeah. (I have a feeling that by the third fall, and the third time I screeched, “It’s these goddamned boots! They’re just… something about the shape… weak ankles… I used to have these mary janes my husband made me throw out… goddammit!” people weren’t really buying that. But it was true!)  

Anyway, I get to the after party, and all goes well for a couple hours. I have two cocktails and do a lot of talking with Miss Conduct, Marina, Colleen, Cornflake, Monkey, and various delightful others. It’s a blast. Then Miss Conduct and I get up to leave.

You’ll never guess what happened.

This time with the power of two martinis behind it (on an empty stomach, no less). And yep, same ankle, same knee.

And this time? I can’t even get up right away. This time, my left ankle and right knee are both like, “FUCK YOU, LADY. EVERY TIME WE LET YOU GET UP, YOU JUST DO THIS TO US AGAIN.” So I’m sitting on the floor of a bar, trying not to cry, with a bunch of people around me wondering if they need to call an ambulance, which is always an awesome place to be.

Eventually, I get myself up (with a little help), and I immediately realize I can’t really walk, to speak of. But my hotel is only a few blocks away, so it seems ridiculous to call a cab. Miss Conduct kindly offers to walk me home, and after the first block or so, I can make it without wanting to scream in pain, but I’m still wincing a lot. It’s official: My goddamned ankle is sprained. Didn’t happen the first time, or the second, or THE THIRD, but the fourth was the charm. Furthermore, my other knee is bruised and swollen all to hell, what with having +/- 200 lbs. come down on it 4 TIMES IN ONE NIGHT — the knee actually hurts slightly more overall, but it’s easier to put weight on that leg, so it’s kind of a draw. 

Get back to hotel. Call Al. (“YOU’RE GOING TO THROW OUT THOSE BOOTS IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT?”) Take 3 Advil. Go to bed.

The more-or-less happy ending is that today’s air travel went as smoothly as possible (verrrry much unlike Wednesday’s), and I’m home now. Fortunately, I had a pair of much more sensible boots with me — flat snow boots with excellent ankle support — which got me through the airports slowly but surely. But both legs still hurt like a bitch, walking still sucks, climbing the stairs to my apartment really sucks, and I suspect those things will remain true for at least a few more days. 

There is something sort of poetic, I guess, about the combination of doing my most well-attended and well-received reading ever, meeting loads of people who gushed about how fabulous I was — and literally falling on my face. Four times. Instead of a swelled head, I got a swelled knee and ankle. That seems about right.

So, yeah. That’s how Boston went. Ow ow ow ow ow. But fun! Thanks a bazillion to the Shapelings who came out.

87 thoughts on “Owie.”

  1. Owie indeed! Kate, glad everything but the falling went well, though, and hope you recover quickly and nicely!

    And if it makes you feel any better, I have a pair of Pumps That Make Me Fall that I insist on wearing constantly because they’re just so fucking cute. My hip still twinges occasionally from a really impressive Kroger wipeout.

  2. Oh, the other thing I forgot to mention is that when I tell people I fell down 4 times, they inevitably go, “Oh, the weather was so awful and icy! Everybody was falling!” Yeah, no. Fell down four times INDOORS. I’m talented like that.

  3. I had a pair of Clogs That Made Me Fall, except not when I was walking, just when I was standing, most spectacularly in the cafeteria in between classes during law school with a tray full of food in my hands…

  4. Oh man, I feel guilty for laughing so hard at your misfortune.

    Also, I was sad to miss the postparty but I was ridiculously tired, to the point that my conversation had stopped making sense. I’m glad you had a good time in spite of your epic battles with gravity.

  5. Dansko clogs have heels like that and always make me fall. I have two pair. 0_o

    It’s mostly when I wear thin socks, instead of warmer-wintry socks (which is more often than not, since they’re cold-weather sorts of shoes). I cannot understand how nurses wear these. My guess is that they wear another style. Or are Super Nurses.

  6. I find it rather comforting that I’m not the only one that completely lacks grace. At least you can blame it on the shoes. I have no excuses. There was a pair of shoes a couple years ago that were a problem though and I insisted on wearing them even though just about every time I did, I would fall. But all the other 999,000 times I have taken a fall, it’s all on me.

    Just last week at work, I was coming down the stairs (2 of them, TWO) and somehow totally misjudged where my foot was supposed to go and went flying, landed face down and bruised from head to toe. Felt like I had been tackled by an entire football team for a week. And the best part, it was all captured by our security cameras. I’ll know my boss has actually reviewed them when he comes in laughing at me.

  7. I’m so sorry, but this line Miss Conduct kindly offers to walk me home, is AWESOME. How many people get Miss Conduct as a personal escort? :)

  8. Poor Kate! That type of heel is highly deceiving and I can see how it’d totally throw everything off. Cute. though.

    I have a pair of sandals that make me fall (well, slide and then fall) but only when the ground or floor is wet so I’m so not getting rid of them. What kind of world would we live in if we let the shoes win?

  9. Oooouuuuch! And those really are cute shoes, too.

    But I’m so glad you refused to be vanquished by the evil airlines and boots! The reading was great and I was—as I believe I may have mentioned… repeatedly—super-excited to meet you.

  10. Oh, no, Kate. Four times? The fourth time, or, really, even the third, would have had me crying. Especially on top of the stress of traveling and the anxiety of the reading. Definitely, tears of pain and frustration right there on the floor while I waited for the Angel of the Lord or maybe a kindly nurse to come and pick me up, pet my hair, and feed me sweetmeats. :( Poor you!

    I had a terrible ankle sprain a few years ago (which still hurts occasionally, even this very day), and it coincided with airplane travel a week or two later. I had a cane (I needed it–not for sympathy and respect a la Guy Caballero), and that got me into the pre-board line. Were you able to work that? It helps.

  11. and that got me into the pre-board line. Were you able to work that? It helps.

    I thought about that, but actually went the other way. I was in “seating group 4” anyway, so i just waited for everyone else to go first.

  12. As Kate and FJ know, I fell down my damn stairs (on the least icy day this month) and sprained my ankle about three weeks ago. On my way to have dinner with Kate and Al. Maybe Kate is an ankle curse?

  13. What kind of heels, SweetM? I even had a pair of flats that would do me in, because I ran down the heels (which were hard plastic covered in “stacked-heel” veneer), and they would go right out from under me.

    Yea, I say unto you that Kate is heel-cursed… but I don’t think it’s a transitive property.

  14. I have a pair of adorable black velvet platform sandals like that…usually my ankles just roll and I stumble a bit, but at least once I managed to totally bite it in front of all my friends. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be 29 years old and have skinned knees? Sheesh.

    (Yes, I still have them, and I still wear them. I’m not very smart.)

  15. *snrk* I can just so TOTALLY hear Al’s side of that conversation, as though he were standing right in front of me. You guys are adorable.

  16. I have the highest arches you’ve ever seen… I walk on unstable triangles as a result, and have the same kind of issue with certain shoes. I ultimately got orthotics,and those support my arch and prevent the side-to-side jiggle which contributes to the instability.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been walking down the street and one of my ankles (usually the right) just gives out and (if I don’t catch myself), I wind up on my knees…

    Sighhh!!! It also means I have to be extra-careful when wearing high, sexy shoes (which won’t accommodate orthotics)

    –Andy Jo–

  17. Would it be concern-trolly to recommend a chiropractor? I love mine, and she lines up every joint in my body properly after I do something boneheaded like step in the dog hole AGAIN. Makes things stop hurting in hours rather than days.

    Cute boots, such a shame. I had some like that in High School, but I’d break my neck in them now!

  18. I busted one ankle after the other in junior high. My orthopedist gave me a hunk of surgical tubing knotted into a circle, which I was to loop over my big toes and sit with my heels together and sort of butterfly my feet out against the resistance. It looked completely ridiculous while doing, but I have ankles of steel that don’t turn over now. So, if you enjoy toe bondage…..

  19. Four times? I would have broken down into crazed laughter.

    But I think that damn rug was just as much at fault. You were wearing the heels all four times, but the rug played a big role in the first three. It wore your ankles down so that you were primed for the ankle-spraining fall at the end of the night.

    I’ve twisted my ankle, the right, only once. It happened on a set of three steps behind the Geology Building when I was in college.
    The window of a first-floor classroom looks out onto these steps, but the view from inside the classroom is blocked a bit by a wall, so that you only ever see the top half of people (I knew because I had a class in there).
    I was wearing Keds tennis shoes, but not their most supportive style. I have very high arches, so my ankles do have a tendency to collapse outward to the side, but that only ever causes a minute of pain or so.
    I don’t know why I tripped, but I did so on the top step, and I went down. The right side of my body went down harder, and my right ankle took most of the fall. I’m sure it looked hilarious to the people in that classroom to see someone suddenly disappear behind the wall. (I actually am laughing at the image myself.)

    I sat there on the step for a little while, holding my ankle, and trying not to cry like a banshee. It was extremely painful.

    Also on that campus, there was part of a sidewalk that had tilted up away from the ground and the neighboring slab of sidewalk. It created a little lip that you wouldn’t notice unless you looked down as you walked. This was along a high trafficked sidewalk.
    Lots of people, including my husband and me, would run into it with the toe of a shoe, and usually it would just cause one to skip but not fall. But oh man, did I see some nasty falls from afar. I think it was like a rite of passage for new people.

  20. Oh Kate! Ankle busting is just the shits! But thank you for sharing your awesomeness AND humility…it just makes me love you more! Take heart in the fact that as you age, the flexibility in your ankles decreases, making it less and less likely to sprain your ankle. (Coming from an ex-twister with the clunkiness of a spare tire).

    Since we’re sharing stories….just last week I was shooting hoops with my 8 yr old daughter (yea..fat people do that) and in all my gracefulness, was chasing the ball so it wouldn’t roll down the hill, and tried to use my foot to kick the ball into the grass and save myself from having to run after it down the street.

    Well…my life being ruled by Murphy’s Law and everything…I overshot the kick to the ball and my foot ended up ON TOP of the ball..and since a ball is round and built to roll…that’s exactly what I did. My foot rolled a 180 forward with the ball, causing me to do the semi-splits coming squarely down on the opposite knee while my “stupid” foot and leg was stretched out in front of me.

    I actually laughed the second I knew I was screwed and as I came to a stop, raised both my hands above my head and said “TADA!!!!”, just in case the neighbors happened to catch my acrobatics.

    My knee now makes a clicking sound when I climb the stairs. Hey! I have my own music now!

  21. Kate, please don’t hate me but me and my friends giggled our way through your entry. I’m glad you’re badly hurt and I’m even more glad your book reading went well!

  22. Aww, poor thing. I know the joys of falling, and I have a habit of falling in shoes that folks don’t normally fall in.

    Sneakers (fell down the stairs of my dorm, and slid down them on my butt. In front of God and everybody. Good times.)

    Flip-Flops (Fell down the stairs of another building on campus, slid down on my butt. Just in front of my best friend though.)

    Flats (Fell out the bus one rainy morning. In front of God and everybody. At least the bus driver climbed down to check on me.)

    And the one time I stumbled in heels? It was an actual stumble, and a handsome man caught me. Heh. That one was a really good time!

    Oh, and IntellectualFeminist was at the reading last night, and she told me she enjoyed it immensely!

  23. My mother has been warning me about this my whole life. I’m grateful I seem to be fairly… I don’t know… not graceful… I guess weeble-like. I wobble but I don’t fall down.

    That being said there was an ice storm earlier this week and my whole campus in a death trap. But I’ve yet to actually fall, I’ve had a few times where there was about 5 seconds of sheer panic that I was going to but managed to right myself.

  24. Once, on the way to a conference, I got so caught up in complaining about a particular historian’s prose style that I ran right into a pole and smashed my knee (the second time in my life I’ve incurred such an injury–the first time, I was ten and my cousin was chasing me with a cicada shell). Then I got to limp into the hotel on my swollen knee to deliver my paper. So at least the injury waited until after you’d read! :)

  25. Oh man, I can relate. About 13 or 14 or so years ago, I had a boyfriend who had connections that got us into a bunch of these music festival/campout things in California like Strawberry and Live Oak. EVERY FRIGGING TIME we went, I wound up twisting an ankle after tripping on a rock, and going down like a house of cards. In sneakers. I actually got a reputation for it; in the infirmary tent, I kept getting, “Oh, you again.”

    So now I am extra extra picky about shoes and how they are constructed. People can snortlaugh at my Birks all they want, but I’ve never fallen down in them once. (Tripped over cracks, yes, but not gone down. Important distinction!) I will not wear heels bigger than one inch, ever, and the heels have to be chunky heels, and NEVER EVER if it’s raining. My sneakers must be high-tops. Also, I have a high instep and because of that I’ve worn the shit out of these Lands’ End clogs they no longer make, because they don’t squish my instep, and the winter/fall clogs they make now suck for my feet.

    And ice! Don’t even get me started. I actually had to slide down one hill on my ass, literally, last year because I could not walk on it. Yeah, I used my butt for a toboggan! Whee! If I do wind up moving back east, I am getting ice spikes, I don’t give a crap how ugly they are.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  26. Oh, and IntellectualFeminist was at the reading last night, and she told me she enjoyed it immensely!

    I enjoyed meeting her! (At least, assuming that’s the person who identified herself to me as a good friend of yours.)

  27. All three times I sprained my left ankle I needed crutches.

    My left ankle is a wet noodle. I can’t wear anything with anything resembling a heel or a rounded sole (like running shoes/cross trainers.) I fall down all the time.

    I was walking down the street with a bunch of friends one day and just went down for no reason at all. Didn’t trip over my own feet. Didn’t roll my ankle on anything. Wasn’t wearing insufficient footwear. My ankle just said, “I’m bored,” flopped like a noodle, and down I went.

    I skinned my knee and got to walk back to the hotel with my friend’s very cool skull and crossbones print bandanna around my knee to stop the bleeding.

    Take care of that limp noodle…and don’t buy crap shoes just because they are cute ;)

  28. Oh, wow! Well, at least you have a good attitude about it. And thanks for linking the boots — it’s good to know what type of heels I should avoid.

    I have weak ankles and they just kind of collapse all the time. Someone up thread mentioned Keds. When I was a kid, I was playing on the playground while wearing Keds. I jumped up and when I came down my ankle turned. I ended up with a Jones fracture

    Anyway, after that little incident my mom banned Keds in our house.

  29. Oooh, OW. My sympathies are definitely with you. I recently sprained my ankle back in November, and boy, that was a fun experience- it was caused by my stepping off a curb into a pothole. I not only sprained it, ooooh, no. I sprained both sides of the ankle, and it was swelling immediately.

    All this, on my way to work. Turns out, it was a moderate sprain, and the walk-in doctor was surprised it hadn’t fractured. I count my blessings, huh?

    (Combine that with a nurse who thought I was crazy for not wanting to step on the scale with a sprained ankle, and was blatantly shocked that I had good blood pressure even though I was in intense pain, and it was a fun day).

    Here’s hoping you heal fast and stop hurtin’ soon, Kate. :\

  30. I broke both my left arm and my right wrist (in separate years) through random falls growing up. I also had shoes about six years ago that made me fall down like your mary-janes, and that’s how I wound up with a weakened ankle (in spite of the many many many sprains I had growing up, it wasn’t until later that it was weakened) –but they had no heels, they were Dansko boots with lots of padding. For a long time, the only way I could be sure of avoiding a turned ankle (and insta-sprain) was to go barefoot. Now I just wear Vivo Barefoot shoes instead :D

  31. I once managed to nearly fall headlong down a flight of stairs in hiking boots. Brand-new, ankle supporting, great traction…the top set of hooks were actually these little jutting spar thingies, and I managed to get them locked together. I went home and sawed off the homicidal hooks.

    Oh, and a coworker of mine lives for high heels. In our line of work, heels aren’t allowed (or practical for the most part), so she changes into sneakers for the shift. And she’s fallen several times in sneakers, and complained that she’s never fallen in heels…I personally think her feet have Barbie Syndrome: permanently stuck in the high-heels setting.

  32. I’m sorry to hear about the falling — I’d be worried about defensive behavior, ie putting out your hands to catch yourself on the way down.

    I broke my elbow doing that 10 years ago.

    Also, don’t assume that your body can take it every time you fall — my bf fell on the ice and broke his ankle in 3 places. Required a screw through the joint and a plate on one of the bones to heal up, plus 2 surgeries to place and remove the hardware.

    In short, *take care of yourself.* Falling is not good for you. Al’s right; throw out the shoes.

    For the record, though, Boston’s average snowfall is 41.8 inches. Chicago’s is 35 inches.

    Here in New England, we know snow :-)

  33. My best evil shoe story involves this pair of really cute platform tennies I had once. I was semi-jogging, chasing after a dog or something, rolled the ankle, tripped a little, and didn’t even fall down. I did, however, snap the outside bone of my foot, such that I was forced to seek medical attention (by which I mean painkillers and crutches one of those booties they made you wear before they had that fancy aircast technology).

    Did I mention that I didn’t even fall down?? Yeah, platform tennies are not for me.

    If it makes you feel better, Kate, I can tell you stories about me biting it in large public venues in front of audiences in four cities. Often, for some reason, a show just isn’t complete until I take a header. Hope you heal quickly!

  34. Sorry Ms. Kate..but YAY for the succesful event. I hope you feel better and the swelling goes down.


  35. I’m glad the reading went well. It’s sucks that you were injured though.

    The DC meetup was great fun last night, too.

  36. Oh, this is too funny, in a “I can totally relate” sort of way. I’ve got a pair of heels that I absolutely love to death, except that they’re very slippery on linoleum or tile floors, especially right after they’re waxed. Conveniently, the office is scheduled to be waxed this weekend. I KNOW I’m going to slip right in front of my boss’s office, just like I did the last two times the halls were waxed, and yet I can’t help wearing those shoes.

  37. Ouch! You poor thing!
    I’m glad that the reading went so well (and I I still lived in Boston I totally would have been there!), but OUCH!
    I have a pair of things I trip over all the time. I call them “feet.”

  38. Y’know, normally I frown on people trying to control someone else’s clothing choices – but in this case I was totally in Al’s corner. :D

    Glad you weren’t seriously hurt, and glad you weren’t handicapped until AFTER the presentation. And wanted to remind you that “all publicity is good publicity” – “Hey, went to a reading the other night, and the presenter fell down THREE TIMES.” “Wow. Good times. Was the book any good?” ;)

    coworker of mine lives for high heels. In our line of work, heels aren’t allowed (or practical for the most part), so she changes into sneakers for the shift. And she’s fallen several times in sneakers, and complained that she’s never fallen in heels…

    I used to wear four inch spike heels on a pretty regular basis (although I usually switched to flats for walking to the bus and what not); broke a heel off of one once on the stairs but never fell while wearing them. OTOH, the two times I’ve sprained my ankle and ended up in crutches, I was either barefoot (on the rebounder) or in supportive running shoes (cutting through this bushes-and-wood chips corner I landed on an unexpected round, wet, and slick sprinkler cover). Plus the one time I had a spectacular and public fall down a full flight of stairs I was in flats.

    Actually, I took up spikes in the first place because I’d dealt with so many darn pairs of flats (and a couple pair of more reasonably heeled boots) that offered no traction what-so-ever, while the spike heels not only had the spike (which didn’t mar floors but gripped and stopped moving right where I wanted it to as I stepped), but the part under the ball of my foot had some texture to it as well and didn’t slide around on me even on wet, slick floors. So I sort of agree with your coworker that high heels per se can get a bum rap when they’re blamed for falls. It’s more about the shape and materials and the individual’s stride, in my book.

  39. My husband and I have that exact same conversation (not mary janes, no f-words), but still. Sorry you got hurt!

    Kate, will you be joining Jaclyn Friedman at the reading in Milwaukee? I’d love to meet you.

  40. As Kate and FJ know, I fell down my damn stairs (on the least icy day this month) and sprained my ankle about three weeks ago. On my way to have dinner with Kate and Al. Maybe Kate is an ankle curse?

    I was totally thinking about this when I read this post. FJ, WATCH OUT!!!

  41. I once went arse over tit in a pair of Ked-like plimsole things in full view of several of my friends. We’d been staying in a holiday caravan in Wales and we’d cleaned said vehicle from top to bottom, as it was our last day.

    It had rained very heavily and the gentle grassy slope I was walking down had reached saturation point so the surface was like glass. I literally flew up in the air arse first and landed flat on my back. I was wearing white pedal pushers which were now completely caked in wet mud and was made by my giggling mates to disrobe behind a towel in full view of the entire caravan park because I couldn’t squelch mud all over the interior. When I returned home I went to the doctor as I still wasn’t feeling to great a week on. Turned out I’d sprained my neck. Good times.

  42. Four times is unbygawdbelievable and could only happen to a writer.

    Psst. Pilates has foot and ankle strengtheners and exercises to go with them. I don’t fall, but I am (was) prone to the belongings-scattering grand stumble — especially eloquent when off a curb — and I’ll never skate again, but my stumbling percentage has reduced significantly since I’ve acquired them.

  43. How many people get Miss Conduct as a personal escort?

    Must … not … make … inappropriate … joke …

    On another note, I’m sorry for Kate’s injury and the pain the rest of you have experienced, but I have gone all my life thinking that I was unique in my ability to fall off my shoes. I’m so glad to know this is not just me!

  44. Put martinis on it stat!

    Just kidding, I hope you’re feeling better. I often twist my ankles in flat shoes with great support, so it’s nice to know it isn’t just me.

  45. Kate, but what if we find out you have the power to make us fall down with your mind? You just might be that powerful.

  46. oh dear! I didn’t realize you were hurt that badly, I’m so sorry! Here I was trying not to make a fuss cuz I’m usually the one falling and I want nothing more than for everyone to leave me alone and pretend it didn’t happen, and it turns out you actually were hurt. :( I hope you are healing well at least!

    I currently have a pair of shoes-that-make-me-fall that I must get rid of. ‘Course I’m perfectly capable of falling in: sneakers, Teva’s, bare feet(!), etc. but some shoes are worse than others. I have weak ankles, I have to choose shoes very carefully: if they have a heel the heel must be the full width of the shoe and not rounded at the edges, no higher than 2″ and not squishy but not so hard so there’s no give at all. All this on top of wearing a 10.5. yeah, this is why I don’t particularly enjoy shoe shopping.

    Anyway, just thought I’d add to the general chorus of adept fallers!

    I will also add to the chorus of “The reading was awesome!” So glad I went, and it was wonderful to meet you Kate! I’m not sure I actually managed to say what I meant to say to you, which is that this blog, and FA in general have made my life so much better over the year and half-ish since I’ve been reading (and made dealing with the ups and downs of food restrictions, weight gain, etc. of a digestive illness and side effects from various meds so much less crazy-making than I can only imagine it would have been without FA). So thank you. and you rock!

    also? dude, I met THE Kate Harding. And? and? she mentioned me in a post! dude. okay. done with fangirlishness now. ;)

  47. Oh, beautiful heels. Why must you be so difficult??

    Around this time last year, while wearing sensible running shoes, I fell down a flight of stairs while carrying my bike over my shoulder. I landed on my back, and my bike landed on my face. Good times! I ended up with a black eye, a bruised face, and a cracked cheekbone. I must admit I felt pretty hard-core. Even now I have a dent in my face that wasn’t there pre-fall. (But actually it just looks like a dimple and I kind of like it.)

    Anyway… that was around the same time I started reading SP. It’s like Kate can make people fall all the way across the continent!

  48. I used to work in shoe sales and I always heard from their research that heels that were angled from the back of the foot in caused more falls than those that were straight down from the back. Also, they break off easier.

    I’m graceful enough to fall down barefoot and in flat “keds” style shoes. Friday I went face first into a snow bank, which I found funny because I’d just gotten off of a warm bus. Later that night I was terrified of flopping over again because I’d been waiting for the bus for an hour.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better Kate.

  49. owie, indeed!

    I can’t wear heels like that, either. i’ve had flat feet all my life, and i compensate (unconsciously) by rolling my feet out and walking hard on the heel and outer edge of the foot (and no amount of orthotics or ankle exercise have changed that, but i have a *bizaare* gigantic inner ankle muscle!).
    anyway, since i roll my feet, when i wear a heel with an in-going down-angle like that (or, hell, really anything but a chunky heel the same width as the shoe the whole way down or a flared edwardian heel), the roll in my footfall catches the angle and slides the ankle suddenly and dramatically inwards and sideways towards the other foot. it’s pretty darn wrenching!!

  50. As soon as I read the Kate/Al conversation all I could think about was Agador from “The Bird Cage.” “I do not wear the shoes… because… they make me fall down.
    .” As my own “Maid of Honor” has been known to call me Agador, I can relate to your plight, Kate.

  51. I laughed at every *mary janes that made me fall down* It’s that kitten heel shape…remember to never buy again. I think kitten heels were designed by a woman who didn’t like to walk or a really fetish driven man…I’m just not exactly sure what the fetish is.

  52. flared edwardian heel

    Yes, what happened to these (a/k/a “Louis heel”)? They were so comfy and cool-looking, and I haven’t seen them since the early 1990s, except on Fluevogs, which are too narrow in the instep and wide in the heel for me.

    Someone else should bring them back, because I love them.

    Things I do not love include having had to miss the Yes Means Yes hootenanny, because it sounds like a hoot indeed. I’m so glad it went well and that you had fun despite the falling-down stuff, Kate!

  53. Ice, pills, ice, pills…don’t go back to the same doctor that you mention in your Feed Me essay. Because I’m sure you already know that losing weight would help, since research shows that skinny people have knees that are made of rubber and rainbows and don’t bruise or crack when they hit the ground at full force.

    Because rubber and rainbows are indestructible.

    And I suppose if I pointed out that you would have only fallen once if you didn’t smoke, that would make me an asshole? I’m always the asshole that points out reasons people shouldn’t be smoking. :)

  54. I think it’s the style of those heels. I had some kitten heeled shoes with a similar shape to them. They had a little bit of tread on the bottom for traction, but somehow I’d manage to step on the edge of the heel just so and skid or slip across the floor. Sounds a lot like what synj describes…

    In one particular ‘graceful’ maneuver, I was walking out of Target, caught the edge of the heel, and slipped onto my knees, all while holding up high the bags I had in each hand to keep them from getting damaged (baby shower gifts, you see). Somehow, without using my hands, I managed to get back up to a standing position almost immediately and keep on striding out of there. Amazing what kind of power you can summon when you’re embarrassed as can be.

  55. And I suppose if I pointed out that you would have only fallen once if you didn’t smoke, that would make me an asshole?

    Yes. You’d also be wrong. There were two falls unrelated to smoking.

    Seriously, I know you were joking, but don’t be that asshole. I’m well aware of all the reasons not to smoke. I watched my mother die after/from 45 years of smoking, which only makes it more irritating when strangers think anything they could say will make me go, “My god, I never thought of that! I’ll quit directly!”

    Unlike fat, smoking really does have deadly consequences, according to the best available data — not to mention my own personal anecdata. But setting aside from the fact that addiction is complicated, as we’ve discussed many times here, health is not a moral imperative. If a smoker’s blowing it in your face or on your kid, you have every right to tell them to take it somewhere else. Otherwise? The lectures are every bit as rude and annoying as the fat lectures.

  56. I just watched a baby totally wipe out this weekend, so my perspective on this has changed — I now think “aren’t we lucky we’ve learned to fall on our knees instead of our faces.”

    Of course, I also stepped in a hole this weekend and almost became the third SP blogger to sprain her ankle within a month. The “we” in the above comment absolutely includes me.

  57. Ouch. D: I hope you (all three of you! Jeez xD) have speedy recoveries.

    On the subject of boots, does anyone know good places to buy wide-calf boots online? I can vouch for Bennett’s Boots as having quality boots, though they don’t always have all sizes in stock. I’ve heard Torrids has good goth-ish boots, too, can anyone attest? xD

  58. *cringes* OMG! My ankle is hurting just thinking about it! And my knee! I hope the yummy yummy pain pills are working.

    Bean: I, too, thought of Agador! Now I’ll have to go rent that movie tomorrow. Whee! ^__^

  59. Hi DRST

    I fall up stairs too and have done so several times. :-)

    A couple of weeks ago at lunch I was regaling my best friend with all my falling stories and she mentioned how embarrassing it is to trip in public. So I explained my post-trip/fall routine.

    So you’re walking down the road and you trip over…a dust ball or thick air or something. Don’t be embarrased. Immediately whip around and glare accusingly at the pavement. Then mutter audibly about “those damn shoes again”. Look extremely annoyed and march off as if nothing strange happened (even if you’re in pain – don’t show it!). If you do it confidently enough people won’t assume you’re clumsy.

    My friend chuckled at my theory and we parted ways to return to work. A little while later I received an email from her…she’d tripped on her way back to the office and, remembering my words, had done exactly what I described! She said she didn’t know if she’d fooled anyone but she felt a lot better so it did some good. :-)

  60. I’m late reading this… but – Kate mentioned me in a post! Squee!

    Kate, those boots are cute but wow, that heel looks like a death trap. That kind of curve is just begging to slide out from under you! I’m with Al – they’ve got to go. And heal quickly!

    My amusing-falling-down stories are mostly from skiing – I go infrequently, maybe once a year, and usually with my brother and his fiancee. She likes to go down the hill really fast, then she falls, gets back up, bombs down the hill again, falls, gets up, bombs on down, lather rinse repeat… whereas I tend to start a lot slower, and almost never fall. When I do fall, it takes me FOR.EV.ER. to get back up again, with lots of flailing and cursing and sliding down the hill on my butt.

    But usually, I don’t fall at all while I’m actually skiing. It’s when I’m standing in line for the lift, that I just topple over sideways. Just standing there, and then – splat. Because I’m awesome like that.

  61. I generally do have enough social ability (just barely, lol) to tell where I can and can’t say shit, who I can say it to and how I can say it without actually being an asshole. But those things tend to not translate well to teh internetz. Which, I suppose, can make one sentence (or two?) that would be gentle teasing in real life sound like a lecture in text. And in case you were wondering how I even got there, it sounded like the last two falls were like directly on the way in and out of a smoke break.

    My real-life sense of humor (or at least penchant for witty banter) is contingent on tone of voice, I tend to forget how poorly that translates online. So yeah, sorry if I came across as some sort of moral high ground, I assure you that in real-life conversation it wouldn’t have. I tend to forget that the way I read stuff back to myself in my head isn’t necessarily how someone else will read it.

    Anyhoo, I have a tendency to not check weather forecasts before leaving my apartment, so I was recently trying to walk back from the subway in sleet while wearing heeled boots with no tread whatsoever. I had to take baby steps in order to survive. Thankfully the only time I actually ate pavement the only witness was a speeding taxi. And you think I’d learn, but no, I still neglect to check the weather before I get dressed (all I have to do is hit F4, but nooooo that’s too much work for me).

    Besides, my boots that have treads just don’t look good with everything. I should just carry around those metal cleats that they use for climbing glaciers.

  62. Hmm, there goes my ability to lord it over my thinner friends with my theory that I never fall down because I’m built like a Weeble. I honestly thought I was onto an evolutionary fitness thing there. So glad the reading went well, Kate! Feel better soon! And you stick to your guns with your shoes : )

  63. OW OW OW OW OW!

    I’ve fallen off my feet due to wonky ankles in everything from sneakers and penny loafers to clogs and high heeled boots. The only thing that’s helped at all was doing a ton of yoga to strengthen the inner part of my ankle/arch and change my stance a bit.

    I would tend to blame the shape of those heels. It looks the slant of the heel shifts where your heel strike happens and changes where you expect your center of gravity to be which could certainly cause some stability problems.

  64. So yeah, sorry if I came across as some sort of moral high ground, I assure you that in real-life conversation it wouldn’t have.

    Thanks, Liza. And for the record, I didn’t really mean to rant directly at you so much as to make a public service announcement inspired by your comment. :)

  65. This is the thing about shoes and the patriarchy. Men’s shoes are made to be comfortable, protect the feet from extreme weather, and keep the wearer upright in most situations. Women’s shoes are made to conform to strange and unnatural beauty standards and in the process not protect the feet from much of anything and also cause the wearer to fall flat on her ass a large amount of the time.

  66. Damn, Kate, how did I miss that you were gonna be in Boston? Those are my stomping grounds! When are you coming baaaack?

  67. oh dear. oh honey! TAKE THEM BACK. well, it’s probably too late for that, as i’m sure you’re home now. but i walked out of a shoe store with a pair of horrible shoes once, and within 10 blocks i knew they were going to kill me. i walked straight back to the store and said so, and they sold me another pair of what i’d been wearing when i came in, in a slightly different style, giving me the full return amount for the ones i’d just bought. (merrils, i think – i’m not fashionable like you with the footwear.)

    i feel horrible for laughing too – but you’re so damn funny about it! i kept waiting for the roadrunner to appear and BEEP BEEP at you, geez lou-fucking-ise.

  68. also, i’m wondering if it’s the magical angle created by a certain height of heel. you know, that makes your ankle collapse. this has to be a geometry problem a person can solve. measure carefully and never buy that height again. figuring in for the height of the toe area, of course, a lot of shoes are chunky on both ends so the heel has to be measured in proportion and not alone.

  69. It was lovely to meet you too, Kate! And nobody thought you were drunk etc., even at the bar. Actually, I meant to tell you at the bar as you were leaving but didn’t get the chance that the patch of floor you tripped on had a bit of sticky spilled something on it, so it wasn’t *just* the shoes deciding to screw with you one last time for laughs. They had help.

    I heartily approve of getting rid of the shoes though! Suppose the moral of it all is that it really is best to have the clothes, even shoes, that your body wants & that work well with your body, no matter how hot they are in the store. So, like, a FA lesson out of a pair of crappy-ankle-support shoes.

  70. Okay, now I see the announcement about the Cambridge reading. Where I FUCKING LIVE for chrissakes. Serves me right for not checking in more regularly. Come back soon, please please!

  71. Hello! Maybe I’m a little late here but I wanted to mention that I always used to twist my ankles, and since I’ve come to uni and gone out dancing more often they seem to have strengthened :) (or maybe I don’t wear heeled shoes that don’t fit anymore. either way it’s good)
    good luck with the cute shoes.

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