The girls cross at the lights, weaving in and out of the cars diagonally over the road. Their heels are vertiginous, six inches at least; they walk as if en pointe. Mostly they stride, as if born to walk on tiptoes, but there is one, tripping along after her friends, who already looks sunk. It is the early part of the evening, the sun has yet to set over the 333 and you can tell that she is feeling them, with every step so conscious of how she places her feet. The kerb almost catches her adrift as she has to negotiate the change in camber, moving as if the pavement slab was Beecher’s Brook. The look on her face is trepidation with a dash of terror.
She is the exception, though; most of the girls strut along the eternal catwalk of life. They trot, skip, run even, some of the bolder ones, all on heels and platforms that look as if they were never dreamt of for moving any further distance than that between chair and bed. They are fuck-me-shoes, the modern equivalent of bound feet perhaps, they are ruining their backs and their calves, they look amazing, they give every man within range a concrete hard on. All the arguments for and against stack up, but it can’t be denied: they do look amazing.
Then I remember, this is an evening of gigs, we are attending, ladies. Not the Met Gala. There will be broken glass, discarded bottles and cracked plastic cups under foot within moments. How will you negotiate darkened dance floors strewn with unloved flyers and trailed loo roll? How are you going to flit between venues when you can’t feel the blood in your toes? How much vodka will you need to drink to still be dancing at 2am?
Which is truly sexier: standing in front of the stage yelling for one more tune because damn it, you aren’t ready to go yet or sending your miserable boyfriend out to find a taxi because damn it, you’re not moving one more step?
Then I look down at my battered, once-white pumps, look back up across the road at the girl limping behind her friends, realise the answer and softly laugh to myself.