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Manolos make it better.

Byline: By LOWRI TURNER Western Mail

The average Welsh woman now spends pounds 80,000 on shoes in her lifetime. This would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Most of us only ever wear about three pairs.

The rest sit in boxes. I know women, admittedly control freak ones, who attach Polaroids of the shoes to the outside of each box, ostensibly so they can find the right pair in a hurry, but really so they can admire their own financial lunacy.

I blame it on Sex and The City. Carrie was forever hobbling down New York streets in the rain in her Manolos. Shoe obsession has also become a staple of bad chick lit novels. However, spending the equivalent of the price of a flat on footwear is not glamorous or amusing. It is tragic. Think of what else we could do with that money?

I don't mean dig wells in India or anything like that, although, obviously, that would be very noble. I just mean travel, go out to nicer restaurants, build a back extension on the house, have a life.

Shoes are like cats - emotional props for women trying to fill a hole. Plus, you never get too fat to fit into your shoes. I should know. I used to be a shoe-a-holic. I was photographed for a magazine with my haul. I had a cupboard full of gorgeous little sling backs and strappy high heels. I had at least two pairs I had never worn as I actually couldn't walk in them at all but they looked really good in the shop.

When I was feeling down, I went shoe shopping. When I was feeling up, I went shoe shopping. I did an especially nice line in revenge shoe shopping for when I had a row with a partner.

Sky-blue peep toes - that'll show him!

Two years ago I looked at my home - wood floors - and my life - two small children - and realised that I probably didn't need another pair of high heels.

I went shoe cold turkey. My sole footwear purchase since then has been one pair of flip-flops on holiday. It is only once you stop doing something that you realise how pointless it was.

But it's more important than that. Shoe shopping is not a harmless and slightly amusing female foible, like eyebrow plucking or watching EastEnders.

Shoes have become a kind of mass feminine displacement activity. They used to say God was the opiate of the masses, now, for girls, at least, it's Jimmy Choos.

We don't have time to change the world because we're too busy waiting for the girl to get back from the stock room with a pair of black tasselled pirate boots in a size five.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
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