Not just any wooden shoes — wooden shoes with a heel. A platform heel. Because I was fifteen and saw Lizzie McGuire Hilary Duff wearing them in a Candies ad and thought that I should buy some. If the girls in the Kohl’s advertisements are wearing them, they must be “in”, right? This is Candies. I’m not over in the old lady section – this is the juniors section. It’s like I’m shopping in Hilary Duff’s closet, I bet she wears these every day.

So I bought myself some wooden shoes with a platform heel. Whoever said advertising doesn’t work has clearly never met a desperate-for-style fifteen year old girl walking around Kohl’s with her mom.

Before we get any further, there are a few things you should know surrounding this story:

  • This was before Lady Gaga wore meat to the Grammy’s (was it the Grammy’s? I don’t remember. But we all know she wore meat that one time and raised the question of, “Is it fashion, or…. is she making a statement, or… is she just kind of weird?”)
  • This was in a very small town. Like a very, very small town. In the middle of the  mid-west. Our high school was surrounded by cornfields. Who wear heels to go to school in the cornfields? Beyonce?

So on this fateful random morning before school, I woke up extra early, straightened my extra frizzy hair, squeezed into my extra ‘too-tight-can’t-breathe’ jeans, and brushed on some glittery white eye shadow. The other girls were wearing blue eye shadow, but I was a trend setter – I wore white. (or as my dad once said, “Did you just draw all over your eyelid with a white crayon?”… to which I replied with confidence, “No, Dad! That’s the LOOK!”)

Oh, yes. I had a “look”. Apparently that day it was “amish hooker”.

But I was confident! I looked good. I played imaginary scenarios in my head of a Princess Diaries moment where my crush would see me standing at my locker with my new look (read: straight hair, and wooden shoes – don’t forget the wooden shoes)  and say, “Wow. You’re so beautiful, I don’t know how I couldn’t see it before.” And then I would blush and giggle and act like we’re at a 1950’s sock-hop, while Cute Boy says, “Can I carry your books to class?”

Because that’s normal. High school boys say things like that all time.

I imagined stepping into school that morning and parading through the halls as Kelis’s “Milkshake” played through the intercom speakers. (I frequently imagined my life as a music video in high school.) I was convinced all of the boys would come to my yard. And there would be wind blowing through my hair.

Because that’s also normal. What kind of high school doesn’t have a wind machine? (Answer: All of the ones that aren’t on the Disney channel.)

Everyone would stop and stare and say, “Wow! Is that Jenn?!” And no one would look at me the way people looked at Lady Gaga when she wore meat to the Grammy’s. “Is it fashion, or…. is she making a statement, or… is she just kind of weird?”

Come on, people. I wore platform heels. To school. Made of wood. I was the Lady Gaga of my tiny high school, before Lady Gaga was famous. So, basically, Lady Gaga is me.

People stopped, and they stared. And said things like, “You look… nice” (read: “people are talking about your shoes”), and “You’re so… dressed up!” (read: “people are still talking about your shoes.”) Eventually my best friend came up to me at lunch and asked,”What are you wearing?” and I was like, “What? This? It’s my new look. I’m going to dress like this every day from now on. People will think I’m SO fashion-y.” And she was like “You’re wearing wooden platform heels. To school.” And I was like, “I know!! Aren’t they soooo cute?!” (Because I still didn’t get it.)

Finally Bestie was like, “You’re a head taller than everyone else.” (Did I also mention that I hit my growth spurt Freshman year and was 5’9″ all through-out high school?  “Your crush is going to think you’re a giant,” she said. And I was like, “Or maybe he’ll think I’m a super model!” (Sure.) And she was like, “Yea… but… if he decides he’s fallen madly in love with you and tries to kiss you… he’ll have to stand on his tip toes.”  What can I say? Bestie always had my best interests at heart. (At least she didn’t straight up tell me I looked ridiculous, even though I did. What are best friends for?) #FashionFail #AmishHooker


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