The impossible city

Babette Kulik runs a fashion clothing company for dogs.

Babette's diary 2: Teetering on marble

Tonight is a girlfriend's birthday. She had booked Le Caprice and I had forgotten to book a blow dry. This was a disaster, Vlad was chock-a-block and so was half of London. Trying not to panic I remembered the salon at Fortnum & Mason. Not the most happening of places, but the last bastion of good old-fashioned hairdressing and very popular with the blue-rinse set. They slotted me in within the hour and even better still with the most gorgeous Italian, jaw-droppingly beautiful. Looking quite like a Roman god, dressed in a fitted brown roll-neck and classic flat-fronted trousers that showed his body to perfection. I was quite taken aback and when I spotted his tongue stud, I really got quite flustered. Things were looking up. Whilst he played with my hair flirtatiously, I happily gazed at his crotch which always seemed to be at my eye level. When he told me he was straight, I was in severe danger of overheating. It was the best blow dry and I am definitely going back again... he was worth every penny.

Hair sorted and morale so very boosted, I have only to decide what to wear tonight. More to the point, which shoes, considering Le Caprice is one of the most hazardous restaurants in London. They do the best pudding - vanilla ice cream, with honeycomb and hot chocolate sauce on the side - but one has to risk life and limb to get it. It is pure cruelty on the part of any restaurant to decide on marble floors. And if they do have to have them, it's positively perverse to buff them to such a high sheen, rendering them an ice-rink slickness. My heart just sinks the minute I place one beautifully shod high-heeled foot onto the super-glossy surface of their black marble floor. I know that just getting to the table will be a major balancing act and tackling the route to the loos without falling flat on my face or into a table of fellow diners a miracle. When I think of the times I've been tempted to go on all fours and just crawl across the room rather than risk severe injury... But however strong the instinct for self-preservation, decorum and a tight dress dictate otherwise.

It's always the same when embarking on a night out. So much to be weighed up when deciding on a particular pair of heels. One must consider the terrain to be covered, whether one has the supporting arm of an escort, whether the destination is sufficiently distant not to piss off a cabbie. More importantly, as I learnt to my detriment a few months back, have the shoes been test driven? Over-excited at my new purchase, a fabulous pair of wickedly high Manolo's, very sexy and cut so low at the front they barely support the feet, I strutted out the house without having actually assessed my ability to move in them. What should have been a two-minute walk to a restaurant round the corner ended up taking half an hour. I teetered and swayed from one parking meter to the next and when they ran out, desperately looked for the next thing to grab: lampposts, post-boxes, passing strangers. It was awful.

It's never simple for an aspiring sex kitten such as moi, who only wants to look fetching, to live in a city that is so high-heel unsympathetic. Restaurants don't think, dates fail to pick you up from home and the pavements are a disaster, rendering a girl more often than not immobile. Tragically in what is supposed to be the 21st century, this situation is common to every major city. London, Paris, Milan and New York are all danger zones for a girl in heels. In London I find it is best to walk on the inside of pavements; Milan the opposite, the outside, as they have huge gratings likely to snap a heel off. In Paris the safest is the road and in New York I always take a cab. Bizarrely, the one thing all cities share in common is that roads are safer, more even, than pavements. Which is really quite illogical when you compare the width of a wheel to the width of a heel. I suppose if we paid a heel tax the governments would do something but in the meantime we of the high heel brigade have to put up with these tragic conditions. Maybe it's time for us to go on strike and hang up our stilettos. The old, the young, drag queens, prostitutes, socialites and everyday women uniting for a common cause: better pavements.



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