the magic of hong cons

Hong Cons

I love Converse shoes. If I had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of my life they would be cons: All Stars, of course. They’ve got to be the most versatile shoe. You can walk for days, dance for hours, and with a rubber sole like that, you can clean out the gutters without a fear of sliding off the roof. And, if I’m not too fussy, I can make them work with any outfit.

So I kinda live in the county, right. So there’s kinda no shops around here. So I default to the online mega-mall: ebay.

I don’t understand why there isn’t a universal shoe size. My first pair of cons are a size 4 now with holes in the soles. The next ones, worn out and tired, are a 4 ½. I chalked that up to a spreading foot and ordered a replacement pair of 4 ½ shoes from Hong Kong. These are too big. And I mean like clown shoes too big. I hid them from my husband somewhere in the garage and ordered another pair, size 3.

I’m truly not sure which shoes are the counterfeit shoes and I have no idea what size I am. That’s the magic of Hong Cons. So I’ve been thinking, if there can’t be a universal shoe size, we need to add the counterfeit size to the list of sizes.

“Do you know your size?”, enquires the shoe store attendant wearing the obligatory shoe store pair of shoes.

“Oh yes, I do!”, I proudly announce. “I’m a European 36, USA 5.5, UK 3.5, Japanese 22.5, and a Counterfeit 3… Do you have these in a counterfeit size 3?”


I just want something to wear to dinner

I struggle to understand why I can’t just wear my jersey pants and fluffy flats to dinner.

Too often going out for dinner turns into a fashion faux pas. I’m looking for something pretty, but sophisticated, and of course, something with a bit of give in the midriff. The reality is that after I’ve gorged myself on my dinner and several glasses of wine, holding my tummy in isn’t going to be achievable nor consistent.

It’s a 1950’s black pencil dress with some leopard pumps.

I start out looking great, by the time I’ve had my main course I can only remember to hold my tummy flat on the way to the bathroom but not on the way back. I’m alternating between looking great and looking frumpy. I’m confusing people.

My friends decide to go to the local bar now that the restaurant is closing. It sounds like a great idea.

I’ve completely forgotten that my dress has a long slit up the back thats now riding up quite high to compensate for my pot belly out front (that I couldn’t possibly hold in now).

I arrive at the bar feeling the confidence of my last drink but look like the martini, three glasses of wine and two courses that I’ve consumed.

My clumsiness is incompatible with the slit in my dress. Someone should really tell me not to bend over. And the phrase, dance like no ones watching, didn’t originate from this teetering shuffle – because let’s hope they’re not watching.

The next morning its the jersey pants and fluffy flats that make me feel like me again. That, and the alka seltzer.

Alka Seltzer Roy Lichtenstein 1966

image: Roy Lichtenstein, Alka Seltzer (1966)

perhaps I’m just easily impressed

On a recent trip to the beautician I was overwhelmingly impressed with what turned out to be an underwhelming everyday item.

About to have my first pedicure in a long time, I had arrived at the (new to me) salon feeling that mix of excitement and awkward anticipation that you only get before someone you don’t know is about to scrub the calloused skin from the bottom of your hoof. I walked in and casually jumped, crawled, wiggled and clawed my way up onto the ‘work bed’.

The bed was surprisingly warm and I started to relax into my magazine as she assessed the damage. I was assuming there was some amazing wizbangery at play. Some incredible tool – a dazzling mutli-function treatment bed – perfectly designed. It must cost a fortune to set a place up with all these beauty gizmos. Where does one even buy hot wax? I’ve never seen a nail file like that before! Thank goodness there aren’t too many mirrors in here. And now they’ve got heated beds! (My mind can be quite busy)

I complimented her on this exceptional treatment bed. Perhaps a little too freely… So maybe I was bordering on gushy, but I said, “wow, great heated bed, I love this, so cosy, I need one of these, it’s great, really relaxing, so amazing…”. Never deterred and always focused on her professionalism, she smiled delicately and said, “well, yes, you can get one, it’s just an electric blanket”.

does this make my bum look fab?

Maybe we should give the poor man a chance. I mean, we are all guilty of the “Does this make my bum look fat?” question at some time in our feminine lives. It could be mildy disguised by “Do you like these pants?” or hidden in the slightly loaded statement “They’re my new pants! …” but ultimately – it’s that question.

Why do we have to bring the poor man into it. He was just harmlessly doing his thing, wearing his jeans and some shirt that has a hole developing in the side. What does he really care? In fact, it almost shows how much he cares. I’m trying to make an effort here. It’s so easy for you, I mean geez, did you even brush your hair? – He’s collateral damage at this point – And how the heck do you get a hole there anyway?! I’m thinking who does he think he is, Yves Saint Laurent?!

He stumbles aimlessly, blinded by the frailty of his conviction. He can see the cracks* forming, “umm… well, you know, it’s just drinks…”

Like it being ‘just drinks’ makes the size of my bum in these pants inconsequential.

It’s a no win scenario.

So I propose a simple letter change: Fat / Fab. Love the question – and the response.

“Does this make my bum look fab?!” … “Hell yeah”


one for the fashion unconscious

This is about ridiculous shoes. You know them. Heels that go forever. Pointless straps that try to make us look delicate. Platforms that make us seem a foot taller. We all love them. We want them. We buy them. We just wish we could walk in them.

We can’t help it, push it too far, all common sense leaves us. “Oh, these are fabulous!” we quietly croon to ourselves while getting dressed. It’s that significant social function. Perhaps a wedding, maybe a party. You’re going to be a star! You’ve obviously forgotten that you’re going to be in those shoes for hours.

Each step is agony. You start to wish that your dang heel would just snap off. Hobbling. Leaning. Politely wincing. Hunched over like you might almost be about to start crawling.

Someone once said, some rubbish like, ‘a woman never takes off her shoes’ – but they obviously haven’t tried walking in a pair of 14 cm platform pumps. Its do or die out there.

Looking great needn’t be a near death experience, just do them up tight, limit it to 20 minutes, maintain focus, stay on the carpet, be carried on stairs, don’t drink and don’t walk!