Just saying the word “stiletto” brings to mind all things wanton and sexy. It sort of hisses off the tongue and ends with the “ooooo” of a kissing pucker. Even a good girl can teeter on the brink of naughty when she puts on a pair of stiletto shoes or boots. Think of it as attitude by the foot.
Yesterday one or two people watched the Super Bowl and timed their trips to the refrigerator in order to catch the commercials and half-time show. My husband and I opted to passively watch the game. With the Vikings as occasional bridesmaids but never the bride, we’ve become sensitized to the pain of seeing how the game can be played. (By the way, I’m not talking about Viking player Jared Allen who I feel consistently plays with a refreshing hunger. I put him in the category of rare athletes…like former Minnesota Twin’s player Kent Hrbek…who want to play because they love the sport more than narcissistic fame and lure of more and more and more money. But I digress.)
When the halftime show lit up the television screen I dropped my book and watched. Madonna, a woman I have a hard time relating to concerning lifestyle choices, strutted confidently out on stage. During her stage show she altered her costume a number of times, but continued to wear high stiletto-heeled boots throughout. I like many of Madonna’s songs and was happy to hear her doing a medley of her work as she engaged the crowd and layered contemporary performing artists into the extravaganza. At one point I noticed Madonna attempted to step up onto a bleacher riser and fell back a bit. Ever the polished professional, she kept going as if nothing had happened. For that, I admired her.
I told my husband I was enviously impressed that she could dance around so confidently in those boots. Just last week I hit a patch of ice on campus as I was leaving class and did a face plant. It is quite humbling landing in a heap of books and boots and mittens at the feet of younger male college students. FYI, they get the most surprised look on their faces. After asking if I was okay they were good about stepping over my body and deflated dignity. Anyway, my boots had low heels and I couldn’t stay vertical, while Madonna was defying gravity at every hip thrust and vamp pose.
This morning when I turned on the Today Show, the first thing I heard was a report saying some people felt Madonna’s failure to gracefully step onto the bleacher meant it was time for her to retire. “What?” I gasped. Give me a freak’n break. Nothing about her performance was lacking—her voice sounded great (and I’m assuming it was her voice and not a voice-over), her energy was solid, and she looked like she was genuinely enjoying herself—why the harsh criticism? Has the critic(s) who said those words ever attempted to perform on a thrown together stage in stiletto heels? Age had nothing to do with her tiny balance miscue, and it makes me cranky that it was even suggested.
It seems like our culture races to judge, but not in a good way. We love to create and post lists like “The ten worst dresses at the Academy Awards,” “The ten Super Bowl commercials that wasted our time,” “The ten worst …blah blah blah’s.” I know they also have the ten best of many things, but if you’re like me the dresses, or commercials, or blah blah blah’s I thought were good are on some “worst of” lists and on some “best of” lists. Who is assigned media judge, and why do we care? Aren’t we are capable of figuring out what we do or don’t like without someone telling us in a mean-spirited way?
Since the half-time show I’ve been humming Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” As a woman in the same age bracket as Madonna, I’m pleased she was out there flaunting her stuff and making no apologies. In my opinion her stiletto heels rose above the heel(s) that commented on her performance. Retire for a misstep? Please.
Like a child
You whisper softly to me
You’re in control just like a child
Now I’m dancing
It’s like a dream
No end and no beginning
You’re here with me it’s like a dream
Let the choir sing-Madonna