When is a shoe not a shoe? When it’s on the foot of my teenage daughter.
A year or so ago, I was so sick of buying trendy school shoes that I decided to buy her an equally smart pair of Doctor Martens (DM) shoes.
They set me back an eye-watering £95, but I knew DMs, because I’d lived in mine as a student, and I realised they’d last.
They have. In fact, they look almost as good now as the day I bought them. In short, they’ve been a sound investment.
So, with summer approaching, when she asked me for a lighter pair of canvas DMs, I agreed. They weren’t cheap at £50, but I knew they were solid shoes, which would survive the three-mile a day walk to school. Wrong.
Even though the shoes, which look pretty smart, have lasted, the school, in its infinite wisdom, has decided they aren’t shoes after all, but pumps.
Since when did hard, moulded shoes become flimsy, cheap pumps? But that is the decision of the uniform Gestapo.
No matter that she’s a hard-working student without a day off sick – let’s look at her shoes.
It’s as though, by their presence alone, they make her subversive. Now I understand that without order you have anarchy, but a pair of shoes is hardly likely to lead a revolt. Instead, she was handed a note, giving her special dispensation to wear them for now but that she would have to replace them with another pair of shoes as soon as possible,otherwise the earth would stop turning. I attended the same school.
Back then, the head of girls wore so much make up that she’d have made a member of TOWIE look fresh-faced. She also donned more gold jewellery than Cleopatra, which jangled every time she walked down the corridor.
She’d preside over us with the eyes of a hawk, pulling us up if we wore anything other than regulation stud earrings. Make up was also strictly forbidden, and woe betide any girl who wore a skirt which flashed more than a square inch of ankle.
I spent a whole year walking around with my shoulders hunched so she wouldn’t spot that my white shirt was actually a Fred Perry with a striped collar.
None of us actually turned into axe-murderers (as far as I’m aware), despite our short skirts and long socks.
So I’m kind of hacked off on my daughter’s behalf.
It’ll mean three pairs of shoes a term again.
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.
* Veronica Clark, journalist, author, mum