On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.

5.12.2006

In The Land of Giants, This Lilliputian Walks Tall

So I'm back from good ole U-S-of-A. As always, I mightily enjoyed the supreme weather in DC. I love sunny, 80-something days. I didn't have a huge shopping list this time but I was on a mission: to buy shoes.

I have tiny feet. I mean really tiny feet. Yah, I know your sister wears size 6 and you think that's small. But since the fattening of America (and the unacknowledged update of sizing charts) my usual size five is now a size four. Not even Nordstrom - famous for its shoe selection - carries much in my size. A salesman at Neiman Marcus informed that all their small sizes go to their store in Hawaii. A lot of good that does me.

Suffice to say, my quest to find summer and wedding shoes in DC went unfulfilled. I returned to Holland empty handed.

Few people really grasp the challenge I face. Now that I live in the Netherlands, home to the tallest people in the world (and still growing apparently), it would seem that I have no hope. Last Winter, I managed to find a pair of boots at a kids' shop, but the spring line (pink sandals butterflies affixed to the ankle-straps) isn't exactly appropriate for me, the old and decrepit thing that I am. Store clerks suggest I go to Italy where ostensibly they only stock small sizes.

Oddly, my shoe shopping spirit was not quite quashed in the States. It seemed that my determination had grown even stronger -- or I'm a masochist. This week, I quietly trolled shops in The Hague. As I wandered in and out of store after store I started to wonder, "at what point do you cease being tenacious and start being pathetic?"

Yesterday everything changed. En route to yet another kids' shop, I shuffled into a store I hadn't been to. Behold! A sign in the back of the store sparkled like a diamond, "34". Thirty-four! THIRTY-FOUR! They had an entire THREE shelves of shoes in my size (European sizing obviously). I turned to a saleswoman and said, "Oh! You have small sizes as I shyly looked down at my feet." "Yes," she said as she smiled back at me. She knew what this moment meant to me.

I bought two stylish pairs and I was on cloud nine! I could barely refrain from skipping down the red-brick road to the kids' shop. There, I found a kindred spirit. The owner of the shop prefers styles with wider appeal than the Buster Brown looks in the other kids' shoe stores. In the middle of admitting that I was actually shopping for shoes for myself, I came to realize her motivation. I looked down and saw that her feet were as small as mine. I struck gold. Not only did I find another pair of shoes in her shop, but she also tipped me off to two more stores in The Hague that carry small sizes - one that might even stock something I could wear with my wedding dress. I was elated.

This morning, Nigel accompanied me to Kijkduin. Tucked away in an unassuming mall was a store chock full of shoes starting at size 35. Some designers run small, so I gave 35 a shot.

I am going on record with the following statement: "The Netherlands has better shoe diversity than the US" -- with little incentive! Happy Happy! Joy Joy! I will not be attending my wedding in sneakers.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous redsnapper said...

Having big feet, I can attest to the Italian small-shoe thing! A very nice shop clerk seriously and politely recommended I "just squeeze into" their largest pair, about 3 (euro) sizes too small.

2:04 PM GMT+2

 
Anonymous redsnapper said...

... and warn a body when you're coming stateside will ya!

2:08 PM GMT+2

 
Blogger Suchismita said...

Hi,
I too have tiny feet and I am relocating to den Haag. Can you please share the names of the shops where you could find size 34 shoes?

Thanks in advance.

8:40 PM GMT+1

 
Blogger Suchismita said...

Hi,
I too have tiny feet and I am relocating to den Haag. Can you please share the names of the shops where you could find size 34 shoes?

Thanks in advance.

8:40 PM GMT+1

 

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