No doubt you dropped by my xanga today hoping to hear more about my monstrous cold, my odd concatenation of professional duties, and my bootless attempts to upload a site map into the highest directory to which I have access.

However, I had an email from my Cousin Tx containing pictures of new shoe styles which I had to share with shoe2

Cousin Tx and I share a great-grandfather, which would normally make us second cousins. However, our grandfathers were half-brothers, so I am not sure what kind of cousin she is to me. I have written about this great-grandfather before — he was the one who had to escape from a rioting mob in China after extortionists buried a child in his backyard. The sort of thing that might happen to anyone, of course, but I have only ever heard of it happening to my great-grandfather and his roommate, who was I believe the brother of Cousin Tx’s great-grandmother, in which case she would be one of the few people who could claim to have two relatives with this unusual experience.

red shoe Cousin Tx lives in Texas, and while I have never actually met her, I think of her as having a more exciting life than I do, because she has both grandchildren and tattoos. I have neither. Also, she drinks 7 & 7, whereas the occasional mimosa is about it for me. I do not know for a fact that she puts on her cowboy boots in the evenings and goes out and does the two-step, but I like to think she does.

I am sure she would not dance in shoes like these.

They make me think of shoe3  Or maybe, considering the two bottom pictures, horseshoes.

They are grotesque. I understand that they are from recent Italian and Japanese fashion collections, and they are perhaps not intended to be worn except briefly by women who are paid to put them black shoeon, but it still seems to me that it says something about fashion designers.

Speaking of which, I wrote in my frivolous way about clothes sizing the other day. Sewing Blogger Dress a Day has written more seriously about it. Apparently, there was a government effort to standardize clothing sizes back in the 1940s, taking into account cup sizes and bottom sizes and the distance between waist and hip and height and all that stuff.

It was voluntary for the manufacturers, and they mostly chose to skip it. In the 1950s and ’60s, the article quoted says, women tried “using corsets and girdles to mold their bodies to the shapes of the clothing produced .” How many steps is that away from foot-binding?

Now, we all know that different clothing companies use different sizes and shapes. I had always figured that it was an attempt to force brand loyalty. That is, once a woman finds that she is a perfect size 14 at Eddie Bauer or a perfect size 0 at Banana Republic, she will be inclined to shop at those places consistently for the convenience of it.

We see this in my industry, where manufacturers make their bulletin board trimmers just an inch different in size from their competition’s, so that their borders will fit only on their rack. The idea here is that retailers will choose to fill a rack with the borders that fit that rack, and forego the competition’s stuff.

But there may be a more sinister intention behind the sizing of the clothing manufacturers. Perhaps they are so misogynistic that they would like to see women force their feet into these grotesque shoes or their bodies into the stylized shapes the designers choose.

Yes, well, maybe I am still a little bit snappish.