A friend is feeling a tad tender. There’s been such a lot going on at work and home and only so many hours in a day.
It’s almost a perpetual conundrum for the modern woman and sometimes the only thing we sisters can do for one another is coo sympathetically and offer a slab of cake.
But it was the end of the day, so I prescribed a glass of wine, a hunk of good quality cheese, and advised her to get one of her children to give her a foot massage.
“Ooh,” says she, “no chance of that! My children are petrified of my feet – they are truly ugly.”
I kind of know what she means. I have terrible toes.
Hunched, crabbed things with pinkies that are more bunion than tootsies and certainly not helped by years of high heels with narrow, sleek shapes of the prevailing fashion.
But, I reckon most feet are … unlovely.
Even celebrities seem powerless to make gnarly feet toe the line.
They appear on the red carpet looking every inch perfection, but don’t be fooled by beautiful faces and frocks.
At the risk of sounding callous, just check out their feet.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s feet are covered with pronounced veins, Jennifer Garner’s pinkies cross back over her fourth toe, Posh Beckham’s feet look like they were stolen from a skeleton and airbrushed with fake tan, Paris Hilton doesn’t have toes as much as foot fingers, and poor Katie Holmes has made every listicle there is – and there are quite a few – for ugly celebrity feet.
Feet, even the famous, wealthy ones, are arguably the most unloved, undervalued part of the human body, which is strange when you consider they are pretty much the be all and end all of mobility.
Why else did the imperial Chinese – light years ahead in some things – indulge in the hideous practice of breaking and binding women’s feet?
The justification of the day was it was erotic and indicative of a women’s high class, when really it meant a girl could never run away on her own two, or even totter painfully more than a yard or two on suppurating, broken feet.
But the human foot is a truly remarkable thing and was made for walking … enough that the average person, with the average stride, will have circled the earth four times if they live until 80.
The 52 bones in the human feet make up a quarter of the bones in the body.
The total force on your feet during an average day totals hundreds of tonnes, equivalent to a fully loaded cement truck – and that’s in flats, which is why high heels drive physicists just a little wild.
If the weight of your body is funnelled into a heel the size of a cube of cheese on a toothpick at the retro party you are attending, it creates immense pressure.
In a nutshell, this explains why 5000-kilogram elephants can walk on grass but Kylie-sized 50-kilogram women in heels sink. All that pressure reflects back into the shoe-wearer’s heel and body … and has the potential to affect the alignment of the whole body from toe to tip.
The bottom line: Be sweet to your feet, they are really pretty neat.