I blame Sex and the City. I blame it for an awful lot of the modern woman’s more undesirable traits. I blame it for worming the phrase “I couldn’t help but wonder” into our internal dialogue where before we just had “um”. I blame it for my £7-a-pop cocktail habit (you never see Carrie and co with four straws in a Wetherspoons pitcher). Likewise I blame it for making lunching out the new stalwart of female friendships. We are women! We must LUNCH! Boots meal deal in the office car park, anyone? Quick, say something witty through a mouthful of lettuce!
I blame it for spawning the concept of “He’s Just Not That Into You” and shattering many years of carefully-built dating illusion, then in turn spawning the movie of the same name, shattering many decades of feminist progress and causing me to eat a whole supersize bag of Revels just to return some mystery to life. Turns out men aren’t actually coded, emotionally-complex beings, they just don’t like us very much – but this one could be a coffee cream or a Malteser, and that nugget of suspense and excitement will have to be enough.
This week, mainly, I am blaming Sex and the City for making me think I can run in heels. Before Carrie, heels were debilitating but imbued with gravitas. They had their own rules, their own codes of conduct. Catch that train? Climb that hill? Help you move a sofa? Can’t, I’m in heels. Today, I walk tall, walk proud, and must sit down at regular intervals to go “ahhh”. This is the way it must be, because I’ve chosen to elevate myself on small personal platforms and thus require special treatment.
But then SJP began her Manolo marathon, and women everywhere put down their bunion relief cream to watch in awe. Not quite a skip, not a jog, nothing like that run mums do that manages to look vastly strenuous without going any faster than walking, Carrie’s heels run was a new dawn in modern movement. It was nimble, agile, yet reassuringly surefooted. There was a little ankle-crossing motion, a slight left-veering gait, and a crucial air of always being a bit late to something fabulous, because the previous fabulous thing over-ran. It was beautiful, but more importantly, it was completely unachievable for an actual real woman.
Have you ever seen a real woman walk down stairs in four-inch heels? It’s like watching a maimed antelope trying to perform in a Broadway show. There are two options, to take each step sideways as though on a Morcambe and Wise Christmas special (high kicks and jazz hands optional), or face-on in a bow-legged stagger, skirt hoiked up and knees trying to escape in opposite directions. Had we seen Carrie and co stumbling down Fifth Avenue in antelope mode, kebab in one hand and dignity in the other, it would have saved womankind six years of unrealistic mobility expectations and we could have all stuck to flats.
My reason for this ambling pre-amble is that this week, possibly the most Sex and the City-esque opportunity of my life presented itself. I got to go to Fashion Week. Not just to peer through the railings and try to touch Emma Watson, no siree – I had an actual ticket to an actual show with an actual seat and everything. I was giddy. As Flatmate and I set off 20 minutes late on our way to South Kensington, it was important we summoned up our very best heels run for the occasion.
Handbags to the wind, we managed to make Archway our very own Manhattan as we Carrie-ered down the pavement on our platforms. We were nimble, agile yet reassuringly surefooted. We exuded the crucial air of being a bit late to something fabulous. Then I trod in dog shit.
And as I sat through my first London Fashion Week scraping excrement off my heel, I couldn’t help but wonder – are we trying to run before we can walk? And does Sarah Jessica Parker realise how much she has to answer for?