After reading a letter from Vicki Ochocki of Fullerton, I have much more respect for Imelda Marcos.
Evidently, shopping for women's clothes isn't easy.
"Being male," Mrs. Ochocki writes, "you have no doubt never had to cope with the vagaries of buying women's clothing. I have long been jealous of my husband's ability to go into a men's store and find exactly what he wants, in the right size, for a good price."
Mrs. Ochocki complains that the current styles for women look like a mistake she made "in eighth-grade Home Ec."
She says the suits have jackets that look as if they were made for Al Capone and skirts that were made for Twiggy. And everything this season is in yellow, black and white.
If she's right, women ought to look like bumblebees this summer.
Mrs. Ochocki complains that if she tries on three pairs of slacks, all marked the same size, one will be too large, one too small, and one just right but six inches too short. "None of the women's stores offer tailoring," she adds.
"Women's shoes are even worse," she says. "The saying 'if the shoe fits it's ugly' is accurate. All the dress shoes have too-high heels and pointed toes that cause damage to the foot; yet women wear them because it's all they can get. . . ."
Mrs. Ochocki wants to know why somebody can't open a store where women can get good-quality clothes and shoes "without battling hordes of teen-agers and being forced to take what we find whether we like it or not."
Coincidentally, I have a letter from Jan Burnett of Los Angeles calling my attention to a theory of hers that you can tell whether a woman is having an active sex life by looking at her shoes.
"In any group," she alleges, "from church doings to ladies' clubs to cocktail parties and even picnics," this sure-tell sign holds true.
"It helps some if the couple look into each other's eyes over the offering plate or the rim of a glass, but if they do, you can be sure the lady is wearing high heels or colored footgear or ballet shoes with bows or buckles. (Textured or colored stockings are also a good giveaway.) I was so pleased to read that Mrs. Smith bought fuchsia boots in Italy."
Well, now, I certainly don't want to suggest that I agree with either Mrs. Ochocki or Mrs. Burnett, and especially not with Mrs. Burnett.
I would hate to have it thought that I myself am suggesting that every woman who wears high heels and pointed toes, or colored shoes with bows or buckles, or textured and colored stockings, is having an affair.
Of course, Mrs. Burnett evidently means that the active sex life she infers from certain kinds of shoes may be occurring within the sanctity of marriage--a point that seems implicit in her reference to my wife's fuchsia boots.
I would caution, however, against making any inferences whatever about a woman's sex life from her shoes. Certainly, a woman may look sexier in high heels, colored shoes or textured stockings, but couldn't those styles merely be her way of crying out for the kind of attention she isn't getting?
I don't want by any means to suggest that all women who wear high heels, colored shoes or textured stockings are sexually frustrated, either, and are merely trying to get attention.
In fact, I don't know how I allowed myself to be drawn this far into what I see as extremely dangerous ground.
In any case, I find the answer to Mrs. Burnett's theory in Mrs. Ochocki's complaint. Obviously, women wear high heels and colored shoes because they can't find any sensible, non-seductive shoes that fit. They are victims of the shoe manufacturers.
As I say, though, this problem has made me look with more compassion on Mme. Marcos. If indeed it is as hard, as Mrs. Ochocki says, to find a decent pair of shoes that fit, can one be blamed for having 3,000 pairs?
My wife herself has at least 50 pairs of shoes, I would guess, and some of them have high heels, some of them are colored, and some of them look like the kind of boots that those young women wear in the James Bond movies. I mean sexy.
Naturally, 50 pairs of shoes are more shoes than any one woman needs, but I assume that my wife has that many because, as Mrs. Ochocki attests, she finds it hard to find her size, especially in anything plain and demure.
Like Caesar's wife, and like most women who may be reading this, I'm sure my wife is above any of the suspicions that her footwear might arouse in Mrs. Burnett.
Even so, I may just keep an eye on her from now on when the collection plate goes by.