Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Sex & The City My Arse

I read a story on the BBC website this week about a shoe fetishist recently at large in London, Apparently, Omar Abd-el-Gowd suffered from such an out of control obsession with shoes that he would creep up behind innocent women and steal the shoes from their feet. FROM THEIR FEET!!! Can you imagine; the absolute cheek of the man. Why didn’t he just go to Payless and buy his own?

Luckily for him he operated in south-east London since I cannot imagine the well heeled women of New York are to be trifled with when it comes to their footwear. Anyone attempting to steal the shoes from my feet is likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a stiletto. Not to mention my teeth, I’m on the petite side and will use any means necessary to defend my footwear. Well, of course I say this, but in reality I’m likely to wee my knickers in fright, should I have the misfortune to come across a foot fetishist intent on stealing my favourite plum suede D’Orsay cut pumps.

These are my favourite pair right now. I love them so much I splurged $350 on a navy blue wrap dress in Searle to wear with them. A dress I have only worn ONCE to go out for posh nosh at Gordon Ramsay at The London. I am ashamed of myself. The shoes were a bargain by comparison, although admittedly the wrong side of $200 for a girl from Yorkshire with working class roots, but on a cost per wear basis they’re an absolute steal, down to about $5 by now I’d say.

My shoe fixation is a relatively recent development. I blame/thank New York. I was never like this when I lived in London; in fact my shoes were decidedly on the dull side, functional and comfortable rather than fashionable. I was 25 and shared an attitude to footwear with my eighty year old grandmother; I really don’t know what was wrong with me.

Shoe love is about the only thing I have in common with the women of SATC. I am definitely lacking their skills in the dating department, as it seems are most other thirty something single women I know. In fact if one more out of towner sidles up to me acting all ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ and asks if I’m “living the Sex and The City lifestyle” I may have to smack them upside of the head - I don’t know what’s wrong with me today I’m showing a distinctly violent side, biting, smacking. The audacity of Omar the shoe fetishist stealing shoes from women’s feet has me really riled.

No, I haven’t dated nearly enough men to qualify for the SATC lifestyle. I’ve been here almost seven years and I’ve dated two men, TWO. It’s embarrassing. I was celibate, although not by preference, for my first 2 years, very much to the surprise of friends back home that seemed to assume that, American men would so bowled over by a British accent that I’d garner dates galore with hunks to rival George Clooney. Not remotely true, although it’s occasionally a conversation starter, usually with people asking “so, where are you from, Australia or New Zealand?” Duh!!! An error most likely due to the fact that Americans equate a British accent with the likes of Hugh Grant’s cut glass enunciation and not my flattened Northern vowels.

I’m far from alone in having so few notches on my New York bedpost since almost every thirty something woman seems to be in the same boat. In fact I’d say there’s a near epidemic lack of dating going on among thirty-something women in this city. Our brunch conversation is much more likely to be about the latest show on Broadway than the latest performance in the bedroom of apartment 5C. Carrie and friends would be soooo disappointed by us.

I know a couple of twenty-something women at work who are out of dates every night, but the thirty-something women…love lives as arid as the Gobi desert. It’s not that we’re reluctant to date, we’re just rarely asked. It’s true; it’s a common complaint among my friends that men in New York just don’t particularly act like….well, men anymore. They do a lot of looking, but they’re a bit impotent when it comes to the asking, with actual straight forward requests for dates as rare as hen’s teeth, and as for online dating…well the ‘kid in a candy store’ mentality is all too pervasive for it to be a good way to meet anyone who's serious about dating.

Gloria Cahill summed it up perfectly for me when she was quoted in a 2005 article in New York Magazine on dealing with changes in her life following a dramatic weight loss. “Men notice me more now…..but the thing is, when you’re obese and relationships don’t go well, you could blame it on, well, nobody loves a fat girl. If you’re thin and can’t find a boyfriend, what do you blame it on? A friend of mine set me up on a date with a terrific man recently. We got along wonderfully . . . and yet I never heard back from him…….Before, I was never any good at recognizing men who were interested. But now, when I think I recognize men who are interested in me, I’m completely flummoxed, because they don’t do anything.”

Welcome to my world Gloria, welcome to my world.

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