Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #9. Wearing Heels Everywhere, All The Time

Despite the fact that, yes, I own at least 20 pairs of them, I firmly believe that heels are some sort of sadistic device invented by men back in the day when they were brainstorming ways to prevent ladies from fleeing their manors, carriages and other dignified, claustrophobic locales (for the record, the same goes for hoop skirts, corsets and foot-binding. Except that only one of these things is still popular). I accept wearing heels in exactly three situations: 1. For job interviews/other important looking-like-an-adult moments; 2. For fancy parties and/or theater events; and 3. That one time every month or so that I feel like getting way too dressed up, going out dancing and getting drunk enough that I don’t notice how much my feet hurt.

This is just one of the myriad reasons why I would be a terrible Colombian. Women here wear heels everywhere. To work, to commute, to the hair salon, to the fucking grocery store — if a place exists in Colombia, I guarantee you that there is at least one woman there wearing heels. I seriously can’t explain this phenomenon, since I can personally think of few better ways to torture oneself than insisting on wearing heels everywhere. However, many people in Bogotá do tend to dress more formally than what I’m used to, and they definitely pull out the stops when they dress up to go out, especially in the nicer parts of town. Still, it doesn’t explain the woman I saw this morning, wearing heels to walk her dog.

The upside of this seemingly masochistic custom is that Bogotá is like paradise for anyone with a shoe shopping problem habit. Since everyone wears heels constantly, and the weather is here is so destructive toward footwear that it almost seems deliberate, I can only assume the women of Bogotá constantly need to replace their shoes. And luckily for them (and for future me, when I someday get over my fear of falling out of high heels), there are shoes sold all over the place, from tiny neighborhood shops to bright neon-lit mall stores. There are whole neighborhoods known for having good shoe shopping, and they even have Payless! Score!

Some of my friends here have told me they primarily wear heels to be taller, which I guess is the best explanation I’ve heard so far, since Colombian women generally tend to be fairly short. As an exactly average-height American woman, statistically speaking, being “tall” is not a normal experience for me, but I’m told at least once a week here that I’m tall (to which I usually respond that no, I’m normal, it’s just that everyone else is short. Which is so considerate. Ten assimilation points for me!). Although this is still weird for me, it does mean I can get away with not wearing heels most of the time, since the corollary to most Colombian women being shorter than American women is that many Colombian men are also shorter than American women. Heels would only exacerbate the situation, so I use that as my excuse.

I will say I’m definitely a bit of a weirdo at school for wearing my boots every day — because I am a logical person who refuses to wear heels when I have a twenty-minute walk each way back and forth to school. Besides, who am I trying to impress? My ninth-graders? Pretty sure I stopped trying to impress ninth-graders when I was halfway through ninth grade. Still, it’s amazing how much social pressure, or not even pressure so much as overwhelming social norms, can influence a person. At least twice in the last week, I’ve actually considered wearing heels to work, for no other reason than the fact that everyone else does it. Luckily, both times I’ve come to my senses and remembered that the only thing worse than walking home in rain every afternoon is walking home in rain in shoes that might betray me at any moment.

But check back in with me in a few months. It’s possible this place will work its magic on me and convert me into some strange being capable of walking in heels without falling on my ass. The Catholics do believe in miracles, after all.

 

Other Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love:

#10. ’80s Rock/Hair Metal Bands

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #9. Wearing Heels Everywhere, All The Time

      • Thank God! I just moved to Colombia and I thought I was crazy for feeling the same way about women wearing heels every place they go. No to mention their extremely tight clothing. Such a different world here for me. Thanks for posting this.

  1. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #9. Wearing Heels … | Booties

  2. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #9. Wearing Heels … | Women's Platform Boots and Shoes

  3. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #9. Wearing Heels … | Womens Boots On Sale

  4. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #7. Horrifying Jeans | a year without peanut butter

  5. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #8. Malls | a year without peanut butter

  6. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love: #6. Colombia’s Got Talent! | a year without peanut butter

  7. Hi! As a Colombian woman, I can give you another reason women here wear high heels. Women here care about their appearance, we want to look put together, sexy and elegant (even if many times we don’t quite achieve it. See “horrifying jeans”).

    Wearing high heels just gives you a boost and you feel more confident.

    I personally don’t wear high heels every day, certainly not if I have to walk a long way (like most women in Bogotá).

    The good thing about Colombia is that we are very tolerant. If you don’t want to wear high heels, that’s totally cool with us, especially if you’re a foreigner. So go ahead, wear your boots to work!

    Nobody will condemn you for it.

    • That’s a really good point — women here take a lot of pride in their appearance and usually look fabulous (which makes me stand out as a foreigner even more, since my definition of putting effort into my appearance is brushing my hair). It’s a lot to live up to sometimes, but I say that if it makes the ladies of Bogotá feel more confident and lovely than they already are, they should keep rocking their heels! Someday when I’m an adult and learn how to walk in them, maybe I’ll even try it.

  8. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love #5: Inappropriate Uses of English | a year without peanut butter

  9. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love #4: Agua de Panela | a year without peanut butter

  10. Pingback: Top Five Travel Clothes | a year without peanut butter

  11. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love #3: Aguardiente | a year without peanut butter

  12. Pingback: Totally Inexplicable Things Colombians Love #2: Giving Unsolicited (Beauty) Advice | a year without peanut butter

  13. It’s more the Latina culture. Hispanic women are similar. They always want to look good, and this is a sure win.
    American women don’t seem to have that same drive, and the American men don’t seem to really care. So, it works out.
    I personally know the power of heels, and wear them always. 🙂

    • I guess I’ve always felt like I can look good without having to wear heels or other clothes like that, but I’ve definitely noticed there’s a stronger emphasis on dressing very traditionally “feminine” here, vs what you might see in the States. I totally respect women who have the skills and ankle strength to wear heels every day — since I don’t have that same talent, I think I’ll stick with my boots for now! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s