This post was inspired by a recent blog post that I read, written by Nina Bargiel, aka The Slackmistress. called The Answer is “NICE TITS!” The blog post is about her awkward experiences growing up as a girl who developed rather large breasts at a young age. From the ages of 11-13 this was something she was teased about at school.
This made me think of my own experiences growing up as a boy with big feet (not that I’m saying it’s exactly the same thing). Remember that old Prince song, “KISS,” where he sings “Act your age, mama, not your shoe size”? Well, for several years, my age and shoe size were the same. It become most notable when I was 11, in the 6th grade, and my feet were size 11. By age 12, my feet had grown to size 12, and by 13, my feet had grown to size 13.
During this time, I’d acquired the nickname “Bootsy” from the other kids in Elementary and Junior High School. I hated it. When I’d complain about my feet being big, my mother would always say that they’re supposed to be big because I’m tall (I was always a little taller than average for my age, which just made me stick out even more), but most of the time when I’d meet someone my height or taller than me, I’d compare feet, and mine were always bigger.
Things might have been better if I had at least been a good athlete but, no, despite being tall with big feet, I couldn’t even play basketball (if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I play basketball. . .) or any other sport. I was too uncoordinated. I can’t even dribble.
When I entered High School at age 14, my shoe size was 14, but that’s when the teasing died down. I guess since it was a bigger school, with more kids, and students who were 2 and 3 years older than me, as well as much taller, thankfully, I no longer stood out.
For the next several years, my feet seemed to stop growing, as well as my overall height stopping at around 6’2″. But then one day, when I was 20 years old, I had bought a new pair of shoes and spent most of a Saturday afternoon shopping in Hollywood. On my way back, as I got off the bus and was walking the last 3 or 4 blocks home, I noticed that my feet were hurting. At first I didn’t give it much thought, since I’d spent most of the day walking around from Hollywood Blvd, to Melrose Ave, to the Beverly Center, I expected my feet to be hurting by then. But as I got closer to home, I noticed that it wasn’t general foot-pain, most of the hurt seemed to be concentrated around my toes. Soon it became apparent: the shoes were too small. I had just bought them, so I knew it wasn’t because they were old shoes. I went back to the shoe store, to measure my feet and, sure enough, they’d grown to size 15!
And that’s where my shoe size remains today (knock on wood). Now, I don’t worry about getting teased anymore, but my major problem remains: finding new shoes. That was especially tough as a teen. It’s a good thing that I was never a “trendy” kid, who always wanted the latest fashions, because when it came to sneakers, it seemed as if most shoe stores stopped carrying the most popular brands at size 13. So I’d just have to go somewhere and ask what they had in size 14, and then just take whatever they had available (if anything).
Now I buy all of my new shoes online. But that’s not always easy, either, since that means that I can’t try anything on before I buy it. And “size 15” doesn’t mean the same thing for every shoe brand. Plus, my feet are also “wide”, which adds another ordeal to choosing shoes. There have been a few incidents where I’ve ordered shoes online, and then received them and they didn’t fit. It’s quite frustrating. Plus, when I do find good shoes, they’re usually kind of expensive, plus I have to pay extra for shipping, so that sucks.
And I still can’t always find sizes available for certain shoes that I want. For example, Soulja Boy (a rapper that I kind of like) has his own brand of sneakers, and there’s one particular style I want, Yums Sweet Series Cupcake Men’s Shoes.
But they only go up to size 14. I’ve been checking since Jan. 09, to see if they’ll ever go up to my size. But still no luck. Dammit.