The other day my friend Sherri and I went shoe shopping with May. I had been wanting to spend time with May and thought this would be some good “girl” bonding time. We arranged to meet May at Central Festival – a huge six floor mall here in Pattaya. I wasn’t entirely certain where a “gal” like May would go shopping for shoes but was quite curious… wherever it was would certainly have my size. As a farang with size 38-40 feet (in America, that would be a size 8 or 9 depending on the shoe) finding out where to shop for shoes is quite important. I had noticed before however, that May and I have different styles. May prefers shoes that add at least 2, if not 3 inches to her stature. I, on the other hand, would fall over should I wear such a shoe and prefer something a bit more basic…. chacos or flip flops or hiking shoes are my usual favorites and if I want to dress up there won’t be any additions to my height due to my choice in footwear.
As the frigid air inside Central welcomed us in from the heat of the day, I debated between asking a tall “gal” in the cosmetics section of the store where she would shop for shoes or if I should simply call May. I opted to utilize my phone instead of my networking skills but just as it was ringing, I saw May in Lyn with about five or six other “gals” that she seemed to know. Of course, the shoes here were May’s style… I only found a few flats that I even considered trying on. Most were far too frilly for my taste. Or I could tell by looking at them that they would, despite being flats, cause excruciating pain by the end of oh, about 30 seconds. May was trying on a pair of back 3 inch heels and trying to decide if they were worth the sale amount of over 1,700 bhat. She tried on a few others as well… and at one point coaxed me into slipping on the black heels she had just had on.
Once my feet figured out how to go into them, I stood there with my ankles trembling… I felt somewhat like the little five-year old girl that had played dress-up with Mommy’s shoes and had clicked across the kitchen floor draped in a colorful scarf. I think that was the last time I had worn heels. May was laughing at my efforts and gestured towards the mirror saying, “Oh, perfect very incredible. Come see.”
I opted to sit down instead and as I traded the black heels for my comfy black flip flops I glanced around the shop. More “gals” and girls had come since Sherri and I had arrived. The “gals” all wore heels or at the very least platform shoes that added to their height by at least 2 inches, all with the exception of one who stood at over 6’3″ in flats. The girls all were content to wear more sensible and comfortable shoes – flats or shoes with a small platform. And I realized that just as I felt that I was a five-year-old playing dress up, in many ways I was surrounded by five-year-old boys playing dress up in grown-up female-looking bodies. I wanted to ask them about their stories.
The more stories I hear from these “gals” the more I hear that when they were a little boy, around five-years-old, they started wanting to dress up in their grandma’s shoes or play with their sister’s barbies. Somewhere in their journey, they tried to leave that little boy behind but he is still lurking in the corners of their hearts. “When I was a little boy…” they say. “But I am a lady now.”
Though we left the shoes on the sale rack, these thoughts, like shoes, have come with me everywhere this week. Jesus, come, on behalf of these little ones.