Susan Daly: SOS - Save our soles from these killer shoes
They're trendy, they're cheap and they've come for your sole -- it's the Attack Of The Killer Shoes!
Suffering for your fashion is one thing. Now we're being told that fake furry Ugg boots can be crippling. They might feel comfy but the cheapo, unsupported versions of the celebs' favourite are supposedly giving wearers a bad case of the flat foot. This, in turn, leads to long-term damage to legs, hips and pelvis.
So while Elle Macpherson, Sienna Miller and Gwyneth Paltrow are safely cushioned in their €170 official Ugg boots, those of us who bought the ten-pairs-a-euro type are in trouble. We sold our soles for affordable fashion.
It must be a very dangerous world out there when even our footwear is out to get us. If it's not fake Uggs, it's too-high heels. Those are the ones, you might remember, that we were told could cause everything from backache to infertility. (So, take them off during sex would be my suggestion there.)
When I was in school -- no, we didn't run barefoot back then, thanks -- the must-haves were those hideous white-soled deck shoes.
The soles were as flat as a pancake that had been run over by a Arctic truck. The laces were for decoration only. Only the deeply uncool would dream of lacing them up and providing some support for their growing feet.
Our teachers hated them because we literally looked down at heel. We loved them because our teachers hated them. The more we're warned off a shoe, the more we desire it.
Clearly, we women are mad. You wouldn't find a man tottering about with his bunions squeezed into a pair of 5ins PVC strappy sandals. Only Victoria Beckham can do that and be applauded for her "bravery".
Check out the footcare range in your local pharmacy. Heel grips, instant-spray blister plasters, gel cushion inserts for placing under the ball of the foot in nosebleed party shoes. The whole section is like a shrine to our silliness. See us as we stagger awkwardly and semi-upright from taxi to nightclub. It's like watching evolution happening in reverse.
But we like our shoes and we'll continue to suffer for them, which makes me think that the Government has missed a trick. They normally love a good old bit of fun fascism so I don't know how they haven't yet clamped down on our footwear fetish. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop: "It's for yer own good, girls".
Expect a State-sponsored Goldilocks of shoes any day now. A guy (it has to be a guy, doesn't it) who will go around checking that no footwear is too high or too low. He will pass a decree that all women should wear shoes that are 'just right'.
We have regulators for just about everything else that might qualify as a vice. Smoking is out -- or, at least, outdoors. With drink, we're all scratching our heads over which one is the one that is too many. Our foodie do-gooders are probably looking to see how New York's proposed ban on restaurant chefs using salt works out.
So maybe we need some sensible brogues with orthopedic insoles to match our hairshirts.
Can I save the Government from wasting money on advertising creatives to come up with a slogan for their new campaign? Let's issue an SOS -- Save Our Soles.
May I also suggest that such a law should be ushered in while the country is still off sweeties and what have you for Lent?
There's nothing like an extra bit of righteous self-denial to hammer a hard message home.
Of course, like all the best bits of Nanny State legislation, it should provoke an underground resistance movement, like the initial smoking 'areas' that some bars tried to get away with.
They were essentially proper rooms, with walls and heating -- but with a hole punched in the roof.
Footwear freedom fighters will be forced to adopt all sorts of shoe subterfuge. Retractable stiletto heels hidden in their slippers. And dayglo laces brightening up those brogues.
They can bring us to heel -- but they can't bring us down.