“Hey, guess what? I bought my first stilettos!” said Jon, my gay best friend in Singapore. It was three years ago over sushi when he told me about his new high heel love affair. He continued, “They are women’s black boots from Topshop with a front lace opening. I wore them for the first time yesterday to the club and they were so painful, my skin peeled off! But I will wear them again!” Jon was a shop assistant for Salvatore Ferragamo; helping ladies pick beautiful heels everyday − no wonder he built up an obsession with high heels.
He told me a week later he would get custom-made red stilettos. I felt sad that some men are only able to buy high heels in made-to-order or cross-dressing stores. I wish Jon could have his stilettos and didn’t have to experience his high heel hangover. In most stores, the best that men can get are those built-in lifts to make them slightly taller (think Tom Cruise), or the 1.5 inches Cuban and Cowboy boots.
In a previous age, heels used to be more popular among men than women. Christian Louboutin wasn’t the first Frenchman to use the classic red-sole; King Louis XIV beat him to it by over three centuries. The “Louis Heels” was designed by shoemaker Nicholas Lestage to boost the 5 feet 4 inches tall king’s stature. The sole was always red, an expensive dye.
Unlike King Louis XIV, Jon didn’t want to wear heels to be taller. Loving high heels is not always about the desire for height. Heels change the attitude of the wearer; they are more than just things to walk in. They are surely powerful; and yet, that power has become extremely gendered today.
Nowadays, men wearing high heels are still controversial. It is still pretty much relegated to the queer community. Men like Jon have a hard time finding the drop-dead gorgeous footwear in their size. Even though I haven’t seen him in a while, I am sure Jon would be happier if men’s shoes became beautiful again. Furthermore a new perception of high heels for men will show just how much gender equality has developed. Don’t you think we need more man heels available in retail stores? (MT)
Boboltz, Sara. “High Heels For Men.” Huffpost Art and Culture. Huffington Post, 13 March 2015. Web.
Robertson, Casey. “Where Did High Heels Come From?” Mental_Floss. Mental Floss Mag., 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.