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Best Foot Forward

Rikki Ehrlich

“Just four pairs of shoes. But such class. Such style.” A pause. “Such middos. And she’d draped a string of pearls around one pair — magnificent….”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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sn’t normal.

I was flat on my stomach, halfway underneath my bed, scouring piles of shoeboxes with a flashlight. When Raizy Rabinowitz called to suggest a shidduch and requested a picture of my shoes, I thought I’d heard wrong. I hadn’t even noticed the ads until my friend Tzippy pointed them out. I’d just gotten my shidduch picture redone, actually, after a shadchan criticized my current photo as “too stiff… we need your personality to shine through,” throwing out 300 bucks on hair, makeup, and a professional photographer.

“You can tell a lot from a girl’s shoes — hashkafos, personality, whatever,” Raizy had explained. “I’d never redt a kitten-heels type to a boy I’d set up with an open-toe gal, right? Espadrilles versus ballet flats? Nine West versus Coach? And people got annoyed, the whole tzniyus bit of e-mailing photos, so this is how things are done now. Can you send it by, like, yesterday?” It made sense. I guess.

I yanked out an old pair of black suede ankle-strap pumps, adding them to the growing pile of shoes at my side.

Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty. This isn’t normal.

I have THIRTY pairs of shoes.

Are all females like this, or do I have some kind of disorder? Just then, Shalva and Tzippy burst into the room. “Okay, Avigayil, let’s get moving!” Tzippy announced.

“You’ve got a lot of shoes,” Shalva observed, impressed.

I shrugged self-consciously, rising from the floor and dusting off my skirt. “The gold ones I wear when I wear gold jewelry, the silver ones with silver, and you can never have too many black pairs, right?” I pointed to a conservative ballet flat. “Got these from Saks, with a gift card… The black with gold bling was from Amazon for dirt cheap, and I got the second pair in beige to get free shipping —”

“Hey, are these real Ferragamos?” Tzippy interrupted, pointing at a pair of tan sling-backs. I couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride. “Nordstrom Rack, 80 percent off—” “Okay, whatever, I don’t need the yichus brief,” Tzippy said impatiently, motioning with her hand. “Put them more in the center so we can see ’em.”

We spent the next few minutes arranging my photo shoot. Finally, Tzippy directed me into a pair of black flats with red and gold rhinestones.

“Okay put these on, stand in the center,” she ordered.

I obliged. “Okay, so be honest,” I said, nervously. “My personality shines through, right? What do my shoes say about me?”

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