...gets the attention of Ann Althouse:
Why shoes? There's some discussion of how shoes "will transform you into someone else" — special shoe magic. (See "The Wizard of Oz.") There's oddly little reference to sex. Roiphe ignores Freud, who famously saw shoes as vagina symbols. [Katie] Roiphe wants — or wants "you" — to be daunting, sylphlike, free, and invulnerable....
So, maybe, why shoes? Why not dresses, jackets, jewelry, sweaters? I think it's that you've got to specialize — unless you're actually rich — if you're going to shop in the really expensive places. You can trick yourself into thinking you've been indulged. Still, why specialize in shoes?
As my own beloved wife might say, “This is a question?”
It’s got nothing to do with Freud. The shoe is the quintessential outward expression of female sexuality, at both its highs and its lows. Note the trend in shoe purchases by any woman of ordinary means, married or unmarried: the more interested in (and amenable to) sex she is, the more shoes she’ll purchase per unit time, and the more overtly sexual they’ll be. When she’s “on the prowl,” she’ll go for the highest heels, the most daring cuts, and the most eye-catching materials. Once she’s mated, her shoe choices on any day will signal her man to what extent she’ll be receptive to his amorous advances. As she ages and her interest in sex wanes, she’ll take to wearing ever less sexy shoes, regardless of what her Significant Other might have to say about it.
Certain scholars (?) have opined that the adoption of shod feet was the beginning of the separation of the sex drive from the reproductive instinct – i.e., that when Mankind went barefoot at all times, the only reason we succumbed to the urges of the flesh was to procreate. Really! Yes, of course they’re out of their minds. Still, we cannot deny the correlation between women’s shoe selections, both at home and at the mall, and their sexual interest and accessibility.
Of course, tastes do vary, and a woman who’s turned one too many ankles from a five-inch height will be less inclined toward open-toed high-heeled sling-back sandals than others of happier histories. However, we have yet to address the relation between the female sex drive and the frequency of foot injuries, which appears as strong as that between female amorousness and a penchant for sexy shoes. Of course, the whole thing could be a grand plot to persuade us menfolk to do all the lifting, carrying, and fetching of drinks, but that’s far too important a subject for a casual screed.
UPDATE: Ladies: Methinks thou dost protest too much. The cat's out of the bag and can't be persuaded back in. Learn to relax about it.
Gentlemen: It's okay to "let on" that you know. Socially beneficial, really. Keeps 'em on their toes, if I may. The lesser sex needs to be reminded every so often that we're not as clueless as they'd like to think!