Breaking Up is Hard to Do: My Search for the Perfect Leopard Print Pumps

Oh. My. Gosh. They were gorgeous. Perfect, even. And waaaaaay out of my price range.

(And people, if I cannot justify a price tag, they must be expensive.)

Let's face it. It's not every day that a girl meets Mr. Perfect. These shoes satisfied the entire improbable checklist:


* Leopard print calf-hair? Check. (Wild print and texture in one!)


* Neutral leather trim? Check. (Goes with black and brown. How open-minded of them.)


* Pointy toe with plenty of toe cleavage? Check. (Versatile and somewhat conservative but with a distinctly sexy side.)


* Demure kitten heel? Check. (Now I don't have to look like a drag queen with platform heels. Ugh. Can't wait for that trend to be dunzo. They're practical- unlike me- and want me to be comfortable and wear them all day long. Double check!!)


And the final coup de gras?


GOLD METAL STUDS. (Because let's face it, we all like our men, er, shoes with a little bit of an edge.)*

I stalked these shoes on the internets for nearly a year. All the cool girls were being photographed  in the black version, the nude version. But I was all about the leopard print. (It's always good to do your research and know what the family is like.)


Still, that price tag. It was enough to end my infatuation. It, my friends, was a deal breaker. A non-negotiable.


Until one day.


In late fall.


I just happened to pop onto They still had the shoes. They still had my size. And holy moly they were more than 60% off!!!!!


I swear I heard angels singing.


This was a sign that was even better than a horoscope.**  We were meant to be. 


I started planning our life together.


They'd look amazing with my red and pink color-blocked pencil skirt. With my boyfriend jeans, legs rolled up. We'd go to parties, business meetings, and out dancing.


I'd wear them for the Rest Of My Life.


This was getting serious, and the UPS shipment hadn't even yet arrived!


After about a week of waiting on pins and needles, I ran into the UPS man as he was on his route. From his truck to my hands. I rushed home to open the box.


The ruby red Valentino shoe box is luxurious enough, but the shoes inside? Perfection. They did live up to my outsize dreams. They were, gasp, perfect. I wanted to put them on my mirrored coffee table and just admire them. I wanted to take them to dinner with my friends and introduce them to my family. I couldn't have created a better combination if I had designed them myself.


"How is this possible," I asked? "Are they too good to be true? Surely they must have some flaw."


I had yet to see it because everything seemed so perfect: the packaging, the timing, materials, the brand, even the price!  These were the shoes I had been dreaming of and looking for all of my life! And now they were here, in my house, and about to be on my feet.


I slipped them on. The pointy toe box was a fit!***


I fumbled a little bit but eventually fastened the studded ankle straps. So sexy.

So far so good.

I stood up.

Hot. Ness.


But some little voice in my head told me to keep them on the carpet.****

Indeed. When I turned and looked at myself sideways in the mirror, I saw the most heinous sight: at least a half-inch of heel hanging off the back.





I wanted it to work out so badly.


I argued with myself in my head. I could stretch the toe box. Maybe I could have the cobbler actually break the shoe to insert more length. Or I could just be that girl with the too small shoes. Old ladies do it all the time, so why can't I?


Over the next couple of weeks, I continued to flirt with the shoes. To take them out and try them on for brief periods of time. To see what it would be like to have them in my life. But really, we were just going through the motions.


I really couldn't take them outside of the house. Ours was a pretty private love affair.


Deep inside I knew that even though they looked like a fit, they weren't quite right.


I (and they) would have to sacrifice too much, change too much about who we really are in order to be together.

I deserve a better fit. And so do they.

With sadness (and not a few tears) we said our goodbyes. I gently wrapped them back up, placed them in their box, and sent them on their way. Clearly I was more attached to them as an idea than reality.


I hate it when that happens.

And so, I'll continue on my quest.

At the end of the day, I know I'll find a pair that is perfect in its imperfection and they will be a fit.

If you spot any leopard print heels you know where to find me.*****


* Yes. I enjoy comparing my dating/relationships to apartments and shoe shopping. Somehow the analogies help me process.

** I know you read horoscopes for more than just fun. Don't lie. In fact, my faves are Free Will Astrology and Eugenia Last . You're welcome.

*** That's usually where I struggle with designer shoes. Those European lasts are just made narrow so I have to stretch my size 41s a lot. Not so in this case.

**** If you walk off the carpet, they're un-returnable.

***** No pun intended. Tall, attractive men also welcome.