The Red Shoes

Firehouse red, they are. Or, better known to some, “fuck-me” red. They’re shiny, too, but too cute to be called slutty. Given their modest heels,  I’d describe them as flirty. They’re downright irresistible and in excellent condition.

I bought them for $10 at a hospice thrift shop.

A hospice thrift shop? you ask, thinking, My God. Not only does she buy used shoes, but dead people’s used shoes.

Well, I’m not ashamed of either. Okay, maybe a little about them being used. But the dead part, not one bit.

Look. It’s not like I waited by the woman’s deathbed and wrenched the shoes off her feet as she took her last breath. Or that she fought for them, leaving claw-marks down the sides. Nor had I read the obituaries every day, hoping that a woman with a closet full of Ann Kleins, Jimmy Choos or Guccis — and was a confirmed size 7 — had dropped dead.

If that was my modus operendi, I’d be prying opal rings off of bony fingers and diamond earrings off of dry, shriveled ears.

I would never go that far.


Say what you will. In the final analysis, if the dead woman had known me, she’d have wanted me to have those shoes. I know this as surely as I do that macaroni and cheese and Nutella won’t bring back my waistline.

I am the woman who, in better economic times, passed an obscene number of hours in shoe sections of every major department store (and Marshall’s Super-Shoe Outlets) from here to Idaho. (I live in New Jersey.) Who matched her clothing to her shoes, rather than the other way around. Whose computer screen-saver is a close-up of her cherished blue butterfly mules (purchased online four minutes after she learned she owed $1,300 in taxes).

I am also the woman who has developed Achille’s tendonitis and is warned by her podiatrist not to wear high heels or flats.

This effectively retires 98.3% of my adorable shoe collection. It’s a barbed swizzle stick through my heart, causing anguish on par with that of my parking trials.

You know what I think?

I think if the dead woman had known me, she’d have left me all of her shoes, and a couple of scarves to boot.

Insomnia: An Email To My Guy Friend | The Duck Man

43 Responses to “The Red Shoes”

  1. No shame in that for sure. Someone had to get those ‘red shoes’ and it happened to be you.
    Let’s just hope that those shoes don’t start doing things that you don’t want them to, just like in the movies. You want to go left but they take you to the right. You want to walk, but all of a sudden your feet start dancing. If the dead are not really dead, then anything can happen if you’re wearing one of their shoes, ha ha ha ha.

  2. June O'Hara says:

    Oh, Rum Punch, that’s hysterical!! Too damned funny. Glad to see you!

  3. Perry Block says:

    I have just decided to bequeath all my shoes to you. You’ll love the orthopedic wingtips!

    • June O'Hara says:

      Perry, you are such a funny person. With an emphasis on the SUCH.

    • Agent 54 says:

      I thought I was the only one with orthopedic wingtips (they are great)

      Is my OCD as bad as June’s? I hunt for pennies at circle Ks with a metal detector so I can clean them and put them in a jar in my computer room.

      Don’t answer that!

  4. I always buy used. And why not, the stores have terrible selections! Cute post, June!

    • June O'Hara says:

      Jodi, you always buy used? That makes me feel better. The only thing about it is, the sizes are usually upwards of a 9. Have you noticed that?

      Great to see you!

  5. Hey, nothing wrong with ‘fuck me red” pumps. Always sexy no matter where you got them. Just hope they don’t make you walk over to strange guys in bars!


  6. I’ve never heard of a hospice thrift shop, but it makes perfect sense. I’m sure whoever-she-was is pleased to know those little red shoes have found a new home on your feet.

  7. June O'Hara says:

    Helena, They’ve found a wonderful home. That comment really made me smile, too.

  8. You can have all of my shoes when I’m dead. But they are mostly slippers, which, are totally podiatrist approved.

  9. June O'Hara says:

    I’ll take them, Meleah! But I’m sure I’ll be waiting a long, long time.

  10. Chris Dean says:

    I’d offer you my shoes, but sadly I’m relegated to the world of uber-flats, light weight, tie ons. Which basically means I live in men’s canvas tennis shoes. *sigh* (Probably a good thing I’ve never had much of a shoe fettish.)

    • June O'Hara says:

      Ah, Chris. You never had a shoe fetish. I didn’t until relatively late in life. Then. . .I did. It’s not a pretty way to live. I’m glad you escaped it.

  11. Mulled Vine says:

    I’ll never look at red shoes in quite the same way again. :)

  12. So, I know this is about shoes, but I really seized on the macaroni and cheese and Nutella…do you mix them together? Suddenly I’m getting a weird craving.

    Seriously, before my father-in-law died, he worried about making sure that we found homes for all of his stuff…and since he was a bit of a hoarder, there was a lot of it! I think she would love to know that her shoes were being worn, loved, and written about.

    • June O'Hara says:

      Nadine, Bwaaahhh! Nutella and mac and cheese and cheeseburgers (which I left out because I didn’t want to use the word cheese twice in the same sentence. It never occurred to me to mix them together, but it has occurred to me to restrict my diet to only those three foods. Sure, I’d get fat and die early, but it might just be worth it.

      What a nice thought about the shoes. Thank you.

  13. Ben Ellard says:

    Never flirted with a shoe, and to the best of my knowledge no shoe ever flirted with me. Nevertheless, 10 bucks sounds like a good price, dead or alive.

  14. June O'Hara says:

    Interesting point you make about the flirting, Ben. I suspect you’ve seen flirty shoes but were oblivious. But don’t worry. That doesn’t make you a bad person.

  15. annieboreson says:

    I have always found that “fuck me red” turns into “fuck up red.” Either I trip in the damn things or walk with some sort of grave deformity due to the height of the heel. Hard to be sexy when you’re wincing in pain.

    Once a long time ago a woman died with a closet full of brand new shoes. I’m not kidding, not a scuff. She had this shoe fetish…bought a walk-in closet full, and then died. Since my foot was the only one that fit her Stuart Weitzman taste, I got every pair. Wonderful you might say, but I never go out to something fancy enough to wear them. I have resorted to clomping around in the condo just to put a little tread on those beauties.

    Love the post, June. So many funny lines and images. Cracks me up!

  16. June O'Hara says:

    Some kind of grave deformity…hard to be sexy when you’re wincing in pain…I can see it all too clearly, Annie. You’re right, and it’s hysterical.

    A walk in closet full of pristine Stuart Weitzman, etc.??? Fuck my podiatrist! The thought takes my breath away.

    Thanks for such a great comment!

  17. MikeWJ says:

    Not to be critical — you know I’m all sunshine and rainbows — but a photo illustration would’ve gone a long way here.

  18. Lauren says:

    hah! Two things: First, she’s dead, so you know she’ll never take them back. Second, my husband’s recently departed aunt died with a closet full of shoes. I wonder if Annie knew her. Alas, all the shoes were size 8 1/2. I can’t even wear the ankle boots with two pairs of socks.

  19. June O'Hara says:

    Lauren, you wonder if Annie knew her…laughing! About the closet full of 8 1/2’s, though…not as much. It’s just not right!

    • Lauren says:

      We think she had Alzheimers. She kept money stuffed in a bunch of purses and had stacks of papers all over the place. OMG! Stacks of papers. I must have Alzheimers, too.

  20. Cheryl P. says:

    I totally agree that the dead woman would of left all of her shoes to you if she had known how much they would be loved and cared for. I too have foot issues where I can no longer wear heals and when one finds shoes that one can wear you have to just GO for it. I would not of judged you if you had pulled them off her nearly dead feet…or yanked them out of the casket. At that point better you than her.

  21. Nicky says:

    Let’s see if I got this straight: red shoes, fuck me shoes,dead woman, macaroni and cheese, Nutella, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, shoes and shoes.

    I love you. Carry on.

  22. June O'Hara says:

    Nicky, if I was gay, you’d be it for me.

  23. Laughed myself right through a fresh pair of Depends, I did with this one. 😉 The last time I worn new red heels, I consumed too much tequila, fell in a ditch and broke my neck. I still wear the red heels, but they stay a long way from the tequila. And I love a bargain, too. I must seek out a good hospice shop now that I know the secret. Preferably one in an affluent neighborhood. :)

    • Agent 54 says:

      “the last time I worn new red heels, I consumed too much tequila, fell in a ditch and broke my neck.”

      Same thing happened to me. I gave up the Red Heels.

      Did I make the right choice?

  24. June O'Hara says:

    I remembered about your broken neck, Jayne, but not about the red heels — although I did recall something about tequila. Anyway, I’m glad you can still enjoy them. Red shoes rock.

  25. J. Bear Savo says:

    Really would have liked to have seen a picture of these shoes… Not for illustrative purposes, but for the indulgence of my heel fetish.

  26. I have bloggy about my abnormally large, wide feet so I can relate. When I find a pair of awesome shoes, I feel it is a miracle of biblical proportions, like Moses parting the red sea!!! You enjoy those sexy red shoes. You deserve them!

  27. June O'Hara says:

    Lisa, like Moses parting the red sea!! At last, someone fully understands!!

  28. Funny, funny, funny. Love the crisp pacing in this piece, June. It literally clipped along. You’ve made your argument beautifully. Hell, yes to the dead woman’s shoes! And I’m with Mike. (Dear God, did I really say that?) I’d have loved to seen a photo.

  29. Mulled Vine says:

    When are you going to be posting again??

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