When a man has big feet, one assumes that he might be the proud possessor of monumental genitalia. When a lady has big feet, one hopes she is not the proud possessor of monumental genitalia, and prays she can find decent shoes in her size without being obliged to order them from tawdry cross-dresser catalogs where tranny firemen shop—unless, of course, she/he is one of the aforementioned tawdry cross-dressers, in which case she might also have a big willy.
God, it’s all so confusing!
One thing I can tell you for sure: Manhattan is Sasquatch Central. Between the towering fashion models, overachieving career viragos and basketball-player-sized transsexuals, there are more oversized chicks with giant trotters per square mile than anywhere else in the world. What do I base this on? Well, I run into them everywhere I go (or at least their knees), and all I see are those gondola-sized shoes and bulging bunions.
Last week, for example, I encountered giantess publicist Nadine Johnson (size 12—narrow). She was sporting a fab pair of strappy sandals. Blahnik? Prada? Pierre Hardy? “Payless, cherie!” purred the gravelly-voiced Belgian. “Payless.com! Nineteen dollars—six pairs for under $120. Plastic! Gasolina! And very sturdy.” For Ms. Johnson, Payless has vanquished the agonies and heartache of being a fashion Frankenstein. “They go up to a 13 wide, mon petit chou!” she enthused. “And they are chic! If you sprayed the soles hot pink, people would think you were wearing Louboutins!”
Ms. Johnson—formerly married to Richard Johnson of Page Six—shared her discovery with her pal, New Yorker editor Susan Morrison (size 11). And she told a friend …. Ms. Morrison’s school-aged daughter (size 10 wide) is now a giant aficionada of the hugely hip collection, which is put out under the label American Eagle.
Mother and daughter Morrison refuse to feel marginalized by their membership in the Bigfoot club: “I don’t think it’s a stigma,” said Susan, also a former Observer editor, when I chatted with her on Good Friday. “The mark of a good designer is how those shoes look in a big size. A bad designer will just stretch them—like a limo—and they look ugly.”
This super-sized sisterhood is not all fashion tips and cozy Kumbaya, however. Ms. Johnson admitted to me that she and Lola Schnabel (the size-12 daughter of Jacqueline and Julian) fight “like hungry dogs” every season over the large sizes in Jacqueline’s designer-shoe collection. (The Schnabel shoes can be purchased at Jeffrey. Check out the bamboo-wedged sandal named Phukhet.)
O.K., now let’s get to the elephant—or elephant’s foot—in the room. The un-P.C. bit. I’m talking about ladies of color. Let’s face facts: You black sisters tend to have large feet. We know it and you know it, so let’s just get on with it.
Last week, I ran into Veronica Webb’s coffee-colored shins and addressed the issue head-on.
“Oh, honey, when I was 10 years old, I had size-10 flippers!” guffawed La Webb when I asked her about her lifelong struggle to stay chicly shod. The glamorous Miss Webb—in her modeling heyday, she enjoyed the attentions of Spike Lee and Prince (tiny feet), among others—is now married to a nautical side-scan sonar specialist and spends much of the year in Key West, where she and her two daughters enjoy a barefoot, warm-weather lifestyle. She did, however, wear shoes during both pregnancies. Nice, hard, tight ones: “I was determined not to go up a size,” explained the more-gorgeous-than-ever former Lagerfeld muse. “Then I would be into the special-order category, with two decades of couture-collecting down the drain.”
After a week of bashing into shins and tripping over massive hooves, I began to search for solutions for these big-footed broads. Needless to say, one presented itself. If Tom Cruise can, as he claimed last week, cure 9/11 lung maladies with Scientology-based treatments, how about large-footed ladies? Since he is always marrying women who are taller than he is, one assumes this is a problem with which he might have at least a glancing familiarity. Give it a whirl, Tom. It would be a riot: I can just see all my tall girlfriends now, sitting in rows and gossiping, their feet stuffed into weird, Niacin-impregnated, steaming Uggs while you, in lab coat and clipboard, skip back and forth monitoring their foot-shrinkage.
And if it worked, imagine what a great recruiting device it would be!