Monday, December 6, 2010

Barefoot Stand-Up?

© 2010 Leighann Lord

When I’m going on stage to perform, I like to dress up. Nothing ostentatious just neat, clean and stylish. But I'd been traveling all day and I was tired. The outfit I put on was nice, but when it came time for the shoes I just couldn't face putting on a pair of pumps. The heel was a respectable two and half inches high, but cramming my toes into a pair of black satin, pointy-toed sling backs seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

I've often fantasized about performing bare foot. I saw Sade do it in her 1993 PBS concert and I loved it. She looked both classy and earthy standing there in a slinky, white, Morticia Addams style gown, her perfectly manicured toes peaking out from the bottom of her dress. Glancing at my own toes, I saw that my week old pedicure still looked decent. Was tonight the night? Was I brave enough? Could I walk out on stage barefoot and tell jokes?

And then my eyes fell upon my slippers, a brand new pair recently purchased, price tag still attached. These weren’t of the big pink bunny variety, complete with nose, whiskers and floppy ears. These looked like ballet slippers. All black, top and bottom, they blended in perfectly with my pants. And, best of all, the slippers were foam padded. "Oh yes," my feet seemed to say. So, I slipped on my slippers and yes, my feet felt fabulous, the best thing short of a full on foot massage.

“No, this is crazy,” I thought. “I can't wear slippers on stage! It's unprofessional.”

"Who says?" my tired toes chimed in. "They look good. No one will mind. No one will even notice."

I took a gander at myself in the full length mirror to see if my eyes could settle the argument between my head and my feet, and it became four against one. To the casual observer it looked like I was wearing black flats.

My mind — finally on team comfort — even reasoned that I'd give a better performance if my feet didn't hurt. Weather wasn't a factor either since I was performing on a cruise ship. The showroom was just one deck down. And so I walked out of my room, my heels left behind like bewildered sinners after The Rapture. In fact, my shoes remained packed and untouched during the entire trip. I relished the compliments I received on my “cute shoes” as women seductively stumbled around the Promenade Deck in strappy stilettos while the ship swayed from port to port.

For my next cruise I may not bother packing shoes at all, which puts me one step closer to performing, Sade style, in my bare feet. The stage, of course, will have to be foam padded.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

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