6 Inches

Kate Rowan

I am finding it difficult to forget the night before. If it does slip my mind, I need only stand up to have a sudden reminder of mistakes made. And no, it isn’t the room-spinning hangover (this time), but the equally terrible pain I inflicted on my feet. For many women, high heels have become an essential part of their night out and the height of the heel seems to equate sex appeal. 3 inches just won’t do, unless you’re looking in Clarks for some sensible interview shoes.

While out drinking in York last night (stick to Manchester, seriously), the divide of heel-wearers became apparent; those who can handle it and those who can’t.

We all want to be in group 1 – the sexy, confident woman who strolls to the bar, flashing extended legs to the room. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen group 2. The poor girl who stumbles about, shoulders hunched – the look of concentration as she attempts to carry her drink back. Of course, it could be the alcohol but I’ve seen these women during the day lolloping home. They cannot walk upright, because they cannot deal with the pain but refuse to admit defeat and bring out the trainers.

I should mention, there is actually a third category. The worst one of all, which most of us occupy – the Wannabes. Sure, we can walk in high heels, and we can look good in them, but we know we can’t handle heels for an entire evening. So, we cheat. If there is a chair, we have a sit down. Extra trips to the toilet are used to pull toes back into shape and massage blood back into the balls of our feet. We watch the girls in flats enviously, as we masquerade in group 1. We aren’t brave enough to ditch the heels, till the end of the night when we tiptoe around barefoot until a kind friend in sensible footwear offers a piggyback.

Every time I wear heels, I regret it. Particularly the next morning – such as this one, when I realise the little toe on my right foot is numb. NUMB. Why my left toe was spared I don’t know. While the lasting effect of alcohol is expected (and quite well accepted among us students) my aches in my feet are met with unsympathetic tones. One friend suggested I should have drunk more, to numb the pain – is this the answer? Increase our hangover to the point where foot pain is a mere flicker on the scale?

I started googling high heels to research my point and found a disturbing article about nerve damage – I nervously poke my little toe. I wanted to write something urging women to ditch the evil heels and start wearing trainers to nightclubs. The internet provides countless valid reasons to stop. But, do we stop drinking because of our hangovers? Somehow we’re stuck, agreed on the beauty and allure of heels, which I at least, will continue to suffer for.


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