The Gorilla Foot Conundrum
By Kye Makyeli
Usually at the end of the month, my friends and I go to Downtown Kampala in search of bargains in an attempt to upgrade our wardrobe. While they’re shopping for peplum tops, dresses and fishnets, I go hunting for shoes. Keyword: HUNTING. It’s near impossible to find my shoe size at a good deal (or at all).
Because, I happen to belong to a special tribe of women who, in urban Jamaican culture, are aptly referred to as Gorilla Foot.
I’m a size 42. Yes. Forty-Two. A couple of months ago, while out shopping, one of my friends took us to her “shoe-guy” called Humphrey. Believe me when I say that this guy was the ideal guy. He had two sacks full of shoes; from wedges and African sandals to high heels and pumps. Humphrey had them all. My friends did not waste time diving in to rummage through his collection, and within about five minutes, each of them had grabbed not less than two pairs that had caught their eye. Kye wasn’t too eager because I was dead sure Humphrey did not have my size. One of my friends asked why I wasn’t searching for shoes and assured me that Humphrey definitely had something for me, so I proceeded to ask Humphrey the question that I had already asked seven different stall owners that day in vain.
“Oyina mu size 42?” (Do you have anything in Size 42?)
“Nze Humphrey, nina buli ngatto gyoyinza okulowooza ko. Naye 42 nsigaza mu ez’okutambulira mu, si kakondo.” ( I’ve got any kind of shoe you could think of. But I’m only left with a casual pair in Size 42.)
A glimmer of hope. I smiled. “Leta tulabe, kale.” (Okay. Bring them and let’s have a look.)
He dug to the bottom of his sack and pulled out, for lack of words to describe the shoe, a cross between a croc and a slipper.
I stared at Humphrey in disbelief while my friends roared with laughter behind me – he continued to praise this foreign object he had pulled out:
“Zino nungi nyo, oyinza okuzambalira ne mu office, anti z’eziri ku mulembe kati.” (These are very good shoes, you can even wear them to office because they are trendy right now.)
In which universe are croc-like anythings trendy? Who, in their right mind, wore crocs to an office? Has it come to this? Have we, of the Gorilla Foot tribe, become the butt of shoe vendors’ jokes? Is this the curse that has befallen us for treading the ground harder than other humans? Because I know for a fact that if I walked into work wearing that hybrid of a croc and whichever other reptile, I would be fired immediately.
Don’t get me started on the dates. If a guy takes you out for a date, keep it a safe half-a-metre apart on the dancefloor lest you bruise his toes from constantly stepping on his feet. Take it from me ladies. Horrid recollections haunt me of the first night I actually tried to dress up to spend pointless intimate time conversing (and an epic failure to showcase my dancing prowess in high heels) with someone of the opposite sex. Thank God for wine. That ‘Dancing Like Nobody’s Watching’ song was overrated anyway.
Where I come from, there’s an old wives’ tale about women with big feet being immune to the excruciating pain of labor during childbirth. It had always been a consolation to me since my early years. Until my grandma told me it was a lie. Eve screwed everyone. Even us.
There’s no prosperity that comes with having big feet. None. (Except the fact that your friends can’t borrow your shoes.)
When you stand on your tiptoes, you become a whole foot taller.
You can’t travel very often because two pairs of shoes fill up one bag.
You literally keep tripping over your own feet (and having knock-knees or being a fast walker does NOT help the situation at all!)
We know what they say about men with big feet… but what do people say about women with big feet? I asked a few fellas what they thought about dating a girl with big feet. The responses? Ha-larious!
“She probably eats a lot. It’s rare to find a tiny woman with big feet.” – Ken 28 (I STRONGLY beg to differ!)
“I probably wouldn’t date her. Because, if she got mad, she’d kick me in the nuts and I probably wouldn’t recover. So, no.” – Timothy M., 27
“No. Just, no.” – Phillip, 25
To team Gorilla Foot, this is the point where I would probably say something pretentiously empowering like, “big feet walk furthest.”
We have big feet. The struggle is forever. But, just for fun’s sake, here’s a little big foot inspiration: