Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 10 October 2009

It's not voyeurism it's maths

Womens’ shoes have not figured enough in Works Well. They’re important because my standards in pulchritude were established in fifties’ films when women stars were heavily made up, had hairstyles apparently achieved with a planishing hammer, wore sheathlike dresses even in the kitchen and walked around on stilettos. I’d always vaguely assumed this was standard footwear everywhere and it was only in, say, the eighties I realised this was no longer the case.

It’s no doubt crass but I secretly admire stiletto-clad feet. Possibly it’s a fetish. Certainly it’s unforgivable that women are still required to cripple themselves in order to pander to male preferences and in public I’m world president of the Anti-Stiletto League. But in secret…

I conclude the appeal lies in the shoe’s geometry. In profile the stiletto can be rendered as a triangle with a right-angle between the heel and the sole. The angle that matters is the one above the right-angle and it’s a case of the smaller the better; as the heel is lengthened this angle shrinks. Interestingly, though, there is a limit. The shoes shown are pretty near that limit since the tops of the feet are virtually in line with the front of the calf.

In the ballet dancer’s feet, conveniently x-rayed, the angle (in this case relating to a non-existent shoe) has diminished to zero. Leg and foot share the same vertical plane. What started out as an audaciously sexy re-arrangement of nature now becomes an anatomical deformity. There’s no percentage in losing the concept of the foot altogether. I’m glad about this.