When The Shoe Doesn’t Fit

Here is a quote from a doctoral student in biostatistics, reported in a New York Times piece the other day:

“It’s important to pay attention to size and width, not just buy it because it’s cute.”

Doctoral student. Biostatistics. Buy it because it’s cute. 

I just love this. The woman–she is clearly a woman–is talking about shoes. Shoes! Apparently, in a study of 3,378 men and women, aged 66, 60 percent of the gals chose to wear, in the course of their lives, heels, pumps, sandals and slippers that caused pain. They did not choose footwear that did not cause pain because, it is implied, those shoes were not cute. Instead, nearly two-thirds of the surveyed ladies suffered distress in their hind feet, ankles and Achilles tendons, engaging in high-risk behavior despite the safer options. Suffer for beauty, I always say.

First, is this surprising? Isn’t this common knowledge? Don’t we all have “sitting shoes?” Don’t we all walk a little like Frankenstein sometimes because it is important for the dress to have that silhouette? The trousers to have that line? Of course we do.

Second, isn’t this a funny thing to study at a university, not just because we already know the answer (without the biostatistical training) but because there might be more compelling research to be done these days? Shoes? Cancer? Climate change? I don’t know. 

And third, if the biostatistical graduate student is going to spend time analyzing the footwear selections of pained women, in a university setting, wouldn’t she want to put her data into technical terms, maybe, like frequencies and sin curves and you know, laboratory jargon. Cute e coli? Darling residue? A bacteria with a really big size and width?

I do not like to mock any sort of intellectual endeavor, okay, most of the time, but this effort is pretty wacky. And the serious coverage of it even more ridiculous. Next up…”Studies Advise Looking Both Ways Before Crossing.” I will try to remember that.


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