Hell on Heels

I guess I went on record saying Mother’s Day was the hardest shopping day for guys, because of the built-in failure factor.

Your mother gives birth to you in pain and suffering, makes sacrifices and compromises, has horrible nights and frustrating days with you and yet loves you so much that if you were to get trapped under a bus, the chemicals that would flood her system would enable her to pick up that bus and rescue you.

And you’re going to repay that with what? A bunch of flowers and a box of cookies?

But I have to take it all back. It’s worse having to buy your wife a birthday present when what she wants is eyewear or footwear.

“Shoes or shades,” Mrs. Daddy answered when I asked what she wanted for her birthday.

No prob, I thought, and Mrs. D. even tried to make it easy by giving me the specific brand and even make number and color number (the colors are assigned numbers) of the type of she wanted.

But a) they were hard to find, and b) they were aviators.

Mack couldn’t bring himself to shell out the type of high-end cash rolls (Mack loves cash and pays for everything with little rolled-up cylinders of bills wrapped in rubber bands) they want for sunglasses these days. For aviators.

Mack’s old enough to have been around the last time aviators were “in,” supposedly. They were cheesy then, worn by Texas rangers and motorcycle cops, or guys who just pretended to be Texas Rangers or motorcycle cops as they lip-synched onstage, humping the air with their stocking-enhanced packages, in a band that played no instruments.

Brrrr! No! Never! No aviators. The only way I’m shelling out $200-$300 (plus) for a pair of aviators is if you put two in the back of Mack’s melon and pry the cash from my cold, dead hand. Then, maybe.

So Mack choose option #2: Shoes.

But ladies, do you have any idea how hard it is to buy shoes for you? Mack thought he’d be smart, hedge his bets.

Ms. Mack bought me two pairs of slippers at my request. I happily chose one, the other went back for refund/exchange. Smart.

Mack thought he’d do likewise; Play it smart, buy two pairs. Increase the odds of success. I bought one pair of sleek, dead sexy little almost numbers, black, with a heel that was just a little silver cube and just a hint of toe-cleavage in front.

Beautiful! They were almost…art-like. For the second bet-hedging pair, Mack started hearing a little Barry White in his melon and got a little sexy, black Calvin Klein mule, pointy-toed and devil-may care.

Bzzt! Nixed, both of them. Politely, but without much doubt. The almost-flats: “I LOVE them, Mack, don’t get me wrong,” Mrs. Daddy said, clearly moved by the effort. “But they’re just…not my style.”

The mules: “Too hard to walk in. They’d be perfect if they just had a strap.”

Mack took the flats back. But the Daddy’s gonna see if the mules don’t grow on Mrs. Daddy. Maybe she’ll wear them to events where she doesn’t have to walk too much. Mack even suggested that. “What kind of events don’t you have to walk at?” Mrs. Daddy countered. “You always wind up having to walk.”

True, profoundly so, and Mack has rolled his eyes and bit his lip on more than one occasion as impractically shod women totter around on their impractical shoes, complaining about having to walk half a block.

So Mack’s stumped (my taste in shoes has been praised in the past, but the Daddy’s currently batting .300, at best, in the present dept.)

“Can we please, please declare a moratorium on birthday presents in the future?” Mack begged his wife.

“Sure, we don’t have to give presents in the future,” she said, smiling and stroking the Daddy’s cheek, fondly. “I just love that you went to the trouble.”

But if you think about it: those two statements, expressed above by Mrs. Daddy, are mutually contradictory! They cancel each other out!

In that moment, Mack knew, come this time next year, he’d be back out there, haunting the shoe shops, in the midst of a crowd of puzzled-looking, trying-to-be-helpful shoe-saleswomen, saying: “What about these? You think she’d like these? Or what about these? These are good…aren’t they?”

And probably getting it wrong, which in the end winds up being like flushing money down the toilet. Which is very painful for the Daddy, at this point in my life.