First Steps Exposed

Published on
November 14, 2014

It was a normal work day. I put on my dance rehearsal clothes, my Lululemon sweat pants, my favorite Space Jam hoodie with my yellow and grey checkered scarf and my Beats headphones, that I never go anywhere without. The only thing out of the ordinary was the 5 inch stiletto ankle boot I had on. I made my way down the steps holding onto the railing cautiously. Imagine walking up and down steps on your tippy-toes; yeah its harder than it sounds. Try it! My quads were already starting to burn a little bit from the 2 flights.

Video below of me leaving apt.

The instant I opened the front door there was this gust of wind that blew reality into me. The usual gang of guys hanging out in the corner of the doorstep to my left all rugged looking, the big suited-up firemen coming out of the fire station located straight across the street from my apartment, and the common street corner hustlers pacing back and forth to my right where I was headed. It was an awkward moment where I immediately felt alien and out of place as a man because of the shoes I was wearing. They weren’t paying me any mind but I still initially felt nervous. I was looking downwards inspecting every step I took to make sure I wouldn’t step on anything and fall but as I turned onto Lenox Ave. making my way to the subway station, I told myself what I always tell my own dance students, “Look up and be confident.” I removed any ambivalence and just walked. I walked to subway station, took the 2 train downtown, had to stand the whole time because the subway car was super crowded, transferred at Times Square to the N/Q train and got off at Union Square and walked to Peridance to take ballet class. When I got there my legs were burning from all the steps I had to walk up and down in the subway. After class, I actually felt fine. I put my stilettos back on, took subway to 8th ave. and walked 11 blocks (I counted) to Westbeth in Greenwich Village where I had rehearsals. My legs were not as fatigued as I had thought they might be. I had 4 hours of rehearsal (an easy day) and after rehearsal I put my heels back on and walked the same 11 blocks back to subway uptown and met up with my friend Matthew at Actor’s Equity, where he works.

Video below: Me leaving rehearsal

I was feeling soreness in my feet by then. From there we walked from 46th and broadway to 41st and 6th ave (Bryant Park) to grab something to eat. By the time I got there, my feet were aching! We sat down and I put my legs up the the chair across from me with a sigh of relief. I wanted to take them off but I didn’t, determined to make it through. After eating, I left the park to meet up with my friend, Brian, at Penn Station to go Halloween costume shopping. Now, as a New Yorker, walking from Bryant park to Penn Station (about 12 blocks) is no big deal but I chickened out and took the subway one stop south to skip 7 blocks. I kinda felt ashamed; a wuss but I could help it. When I got off the subway, I passed by a woman in a business suit in a high heel (had to be at least 5 inches) and it seemed she was just leaving work, in a hurry. I thought how could anyone choose to wear a stiletto all day for work!? I mean at least I got to take mines off during rehearsals, but all day? Wow! I have much respect for her ability to do that. Continuing to walk down 34th street, a women was pacing behind me and I caught eye of her and she said to me, “You struttin! You struttin!” with a big smile and two thumbs up. She was the only person on the street the whole day that actually said something to me and it was positive. She gave me the boost of encouragement I needed to continue walking in the stilettos. Brian and I went to a wig shop, jewelry store and then Party City to get all the items I needed for my costume. The line at Party City snaked through the whole shop and there was no way my feet could hold up to wait in a line that long so we left. When I was going down the steps into subway, I clutched on to the railing with both arms, decrepit. I finally got home at 9:30 pm, dropped my bags, took my shoes off and lied down with my feet up against wall. I had made it through the whole day walking in stilettos!

I was surprised no one made any jeering remarks; no hoots or hollers or whistles. Of course, I got glances and some smirks but no stares, at least none that I noticed. There was one guy on the subway that quickly looked me up and down and turned away with a sneer in his eyes but thats pretty much it. It’s New York City so I guess people are used to seeing all kinds of crazy and outlandish things so a normally dressed man in stilettos couldn’t be that out of the ordinary. Wearing stilettos in the outskirts of Texas, now that would be a different story.