Men are like shoes
I don’t mean this to sound shallow. I’m not trying to degrade men. I’m not talking about having a lot of them. I’m not talking about walking all over them. The comparison just seems to fit. Let me explain.
I have never enjoyed wearing shoes. I prefer bare feet. People constantly ask if my feet hurt or if they are cold. I tire of explaining that if I get too uncomfortable, I will put some shoes on.
A girl walks up to me in a gorgeous pair of stilettos. At first glance, I’m kind of jealous. They look so perfect. They’re cute and stylish; they accent her outfit marvelously. She gathers more confidence with each step she takes, from each compliment she hears. I want those shoes. I want that man. He’s a feast for the eyes. He has charm to match. He makes any girl look good. But as I look closer, her feet are slightly red and swollen. When we sit down for dinner she slides those shoes off under the table. I’m suddenly turned off by those shoes. I’m suddenly turned off by that man. All the attention is on him. She lingers in the shadows. He’s completely unaware of her pain, her discomfort. She doesn’t feel like she fits in with these people around her. But he does, and she’s with him. Therefore, she needs to get over it and stay. The confidence this man or those stilettos bring her is fake. I wiggle my toes freely. I am comfortable with myself. I can leave if I want to. My bare feet may not attract the same kind of attention as those stilettos, but maybe I don’t need it. I’m content.
As I leave dinner I get outside and notice a different girl. She’s never been very popular. Not many boys pursue her. But she wants a boyfriend so badly. She has snatched up the first pair of shoes she could find, settled for the first guy that asked her out.
“Hi, Sarah!” Her smile is radiant. “Look at my shoes! Aren’t they unbelievable?”
I smile hesitantly, trying not to inhale. Her shoes aren’t necessarily bad looking, but they obviously haven’t been taken care of.
Quite simply, these shoes stink! Any recent feelings of loneliness vanish at the thought of dating a man with horrible hygiene. I want a guy who cares about himself enough to stay healthy and clean. If he won’t take care of himself, how can I ever expect him to take care of me? In the hot summer sun, we wave our goodbyes and I go on my way, grateful that my feet are free to wiggle through the cool mud or even just to sweat, and then be hosed down clean afterwards. I could never put up with the stench of those shoes.
Next I meet a girl wearing some really nice shoes. They look clean, comfortable, and stylish. But she’s walking kind of funny. After a moment I realize that her shoes are too small. I watch her over my shoulder as she hobbles along.
“Oomph!” Another girl runs into me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I tripped,” she says, then looks up at me nervously. “My shoes are a size too big. Are you okay?”
I assure her that I will be fine then walk away, curious over what I have just witnessed. Both pairs of shoes represent some really great guys. Unfortunately, these guys don’t complement the girls they are accompanied by. The first girl wants room to grow, adventure, and experiment. She doesn’t have that freedom with her man. He limits her in many ways. She can’t be herself with him. The second girl wants to run, jump, and dance. Her floppy, oversized shoes trip her up and hinder her performance. He is a great guy, and he might even be the right guy. If he is, however, the timing is off. In a few years he may fit her better. By dating him now, before the time is right, she wears him out and loses more interest in him each time he causes her to stumble. Song of Solomon warns us more than once, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the does and the gazelles of the field. Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5). This girl may be ruining her own beautiful love story by acting out of impatience.
I stroll into my house, happy that I’m still barefoot. For now I enjoy the freedom to run and dance, grow and adventure. Life isn’t perfect barefoot and single. Some days are lonely. I may walk across hot pavement or sharp rocks. Maybe someday I will find the right pair of shoes to protect my precious toes. But until then, I choose to focus on the feel of green grass and soft sand and to be satisfied exactly as I am.