My name is joanne and I am an Imelda.
For those who don’t know an Imelda is a very sensible person who has a great and enduring affection for footwear. Named after Imelda Marcos who was alleged to have had A LOT of shoes – although she did say “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” I’m not going to count my shoes for you – although I’ll give you a clue, there will be an even number – but it’s a reasonably sized herd. They are well trained, impeccably behaved and include some rare breeds from the 1980s as well as a fantastic junk shop find of a pair of 1940s satin dance shoes – which fit perfectly (if I scrunch my toes up a teeny-tiny bit)
A quick and fun way of Imelda spotting is to pose a simple question to a group of women (and yes, I do admit, we’re mostly – but not entirely – female).
“How many pairs of flip flops do you own?”
Non-Imeldas look at you as if you have just dribbled and say “one” in utter mystification that there could be any other answer – after all they’ve only got one pair of feet. Those saying “two” really aren’t trying very hard and the Imeldas will still be counting on their fingers!
(seven –just in case you were wondering…)
If you say ‘sensible shoes’ to an Imelda she understands that you mean that they are roughly the right size (and they’re lovely). ‘Wear something you can walk in’ is quite obviously a foreign language and there is always a style/colour/height of heel/design that you need as there is an unendurable gap in your wardrobe and you just can’t go out in any of the others.
(Yes I know I already have a pair of black shoes. OK – lots of pairs of black shoes. These are different. No they’re really different. Look, I just want them – OK?)
I have shoes that I will just wear in the house so that I can look at them. I haven’t actually gone to bed in a pair because I couldn’t bear to take them off (unlike a friend of mine). Yet. Although there was a pair of rather lovely late 80s boots with numerous buckles and a cut out front that were complicated to put on sober and impossible to take off drunk. Sleeping in those once left me convinced my legs were paralysed when I woke up! Yes, I still have them – yes, I have learned how to take them off…
Each one consists of three small strips of extortionately expensive silver leather and a bit of elastic – but they are very pretty. Shocking pink toenails required with these, of course – a proper Imelda always paints her toenails.
So – how do you know if you are an Imelda?
- Have you ever bought a pair of shoes – but not actually to wear…?
- Have you ever slept in a pair of shoes as you couldn’t bear to take them off (drunken undressing problems excluded)?
- Do you keep your shoes in their original boxes or even buy them special boxes?
- Does an outfit always (always!) start with the shoes and clothes have to go with them?
- Do you own a pair of shoes you’ve had for more than a year but haven’t worn yet because the right occasion hasn’t presented itself?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above then welcome – you’re an Imelda!