There’s a weird little tendency that many of us have, when we have given money (directly, through charity, or as a tax) to someone, to think we have some right to dictate how that money is spent. It once belonged to us, so it still has some homeopathic memory of our will or something. Or maybe it’s just that belief we have that anyone who doesn’t have more money than they need is in that position because they’ve bundled life in general and their finances in particular.
It’s an appalling little habit of thought, but this sort of thing happens over and over. The latest target? Greta Christina, who needed a new pair of shoes that she could wear all day while working.
For months — years, actually — I’ve been on a quest for shoes that are both dressy and comfortable. I had high standards in both departments: I needed the shoes to be dressy enough to look good with dresses and skirts in a professional setting… and I needed them to be comfortable enough to walk in for miles, comfortable enough that I could be on my feet all day in them. And this being me, I was picky about how they looked. I wanted them to be comfortable — but I didn’t want them to look frumpy or boring. I wanted them to be stylish and expressive and interesting.
On a day-to-day basis, my usual answer to this conundrum has been boots. About which I have already waxed poetic. But boots have a certain sporty, rakish vibe, and in many situations they’re just not right. They’re not dressy enough for many professional settings; they’re often not dressy enough for evening. And they’re definitely not okay when it’s stinking hot.
She found a pair that is as unusual as she is, and that’s when the condemnation started. You see, these are moderately expensive shoes. You could easily pay more for a pair of Marc Jacobs shoes, and these wouldn’t cover half the cost of Blahnik’s or Choo’s, but they are designer shoes. They’re the sort you wear for years and have repaired–investments–rather than the disposable shoes most of us convince ourselves to live with until they collapse and need to be replaced. They’re the shoe equivalent of a good suit.
Now all you need to do is tell everyone you have Galactorrhea, grift for donations and buy yourself a nice LV purse.
You see, Greta was so uncouth as to get uterine cancer and ask the readers for whom she has been writing for free for years whether they would be willing to help her take care of her concerns while she couldn’t practice her business. Then she had the unmitigated gall to spend some of that money on professional attire.
So this all means she’s a lady-bits con artist who throws away gobs of money at the hint of a label. Obviously.
Bob, our friendly commenter, would never, ever, ever spend money on shoes. But if his employer insisted he couldn’t go barefoot and forced him to do something so hedonistic, he would clearly take the moral route and blow through five pairs of the things in the time it took Greta to wear this pair to bits.
Sarcasm aside, this is that same stupid authoritarianism at work, at least in part. When you add the dash of misogyny (of course it’s more shameful if your illness is a woman problem and of course it’s more frivolous if you’re buying a purse or shoes–if they’re women’s shoes), though, it’s even worse. If Bob donated any of the money that Greta spends on these shoes, I’ll eat my hat.
Don’t worry. My mother-in-law knitted it for me. I won’t be wasting anyone’s money. Just her labor of love.
Yes, there are a bunch of people who think they get to moralize over how Greta spends money they didn’t even contribute.
If you’ve ever had cancer, don’t forget to dress in rags, boys and girls. That includes on the feet.
Greta, of course, didn’t actually have cancer and have to have a major organ removed. No, no, no. It was just a “scare”. And buying shoes that constitute an investment in a professional wardrobe is a scandal to leave people speechless.
Even if you think you have some claim on how someone spends their money, the only reason to consider a purchase like this to be frivolous is because it is a woman buying feminine shoes. We don’t get this stupid over safety equipment. We don’t get this silly over uniforms. We certainly don’t get this ridiculous over a good pair of men’s leather shoes that will last several years. Those are expenses.
We only do this over women’s professional clothing. That becomes fashion.
Sadly, it doesn’t get any cheaper when that happens, which is why organizations like Dress for Success exist. Good-quality clothes and shoes are a requirement for professional women to achieve professional jobs, but they are expensive. If a woman doesn’t currently have the income that comes with the job they’re working toward, someone, somewhere has to donate to make those clothes available.
It’s a credit to Greta’s fans that none of them are indulging in this kind of behavior. It’s a demonstration of the sad state of affairs that anyone else is.
Update: I seriously doubt that anyone will take her up on this, but Greta is offering refunds to anyone who donated who wants their money back.