High heels to the front of the line

Tue, 02/27/2007 - 5:14pm
By: The Citizen


It’s all about the shoes. High heels, that is.

For the first time in my life, after hundreds of flights, I missed a plane. This was owing to the fact that every parking space at the airport was taken so the lots were closed while ill-tempered security men blocked all entrances with their cars. It sounds so ridiculous that when I called the folks waiting at the other end of the trip for me that I added, “And just so you’ll know: when I was a kid, the dog regularly ate my homework.”

But it happened.

I always dress up when I fly. First, because it’s just what I do and, second, because I never know if I’ll meet someone who I wouldn’t want to meet while dressed in anything but my best. On that particular day, I was dressed in cropped pants, a chiffon shirt with fluttery sleeves and very high-heeled bronze-colored pumps. Leaving the ticket counter, after arranging for another flight, I heard, “Wow! Look at those stilettos!”

I turned to see a handsome guy, obviously an airline employee. He grinned. “Looking good in those stilettos!” He circled his finger and thumb together, to signal, “Okay.”

For the first time in two hours, I smiled. “Thank you!” I called out with a wink as I headed toward my gate. After a stop for newspapers, I was walking to security when someone caught up and fell into step with me.

“You are killin’ me in those stilettos.” It was the guy from earlier.

I stopped. “You are so sweet and you are really making my day. It’s been a bit of aggravation to this point.”

“Really?” He paused. “What happened?”

I explained and he listened intently (something women love). Then, he delivered the best pick-up line I’ve ever heard handed to me.

“Hmmm,” he replied, shaking his head and looking appropriately woeful. “And on top of all of it, you’ve gone off and left your wedding band at home.” He threw his hands up in mock despair over my trail of bad luck.

I started laughing. You’ve got to allow yourself to be lured into a better mood by such an ingenious flirt. I played along.

“I didn’t leave it at home,” I replied gamely. “I’m not married.”

He threw his hands up and looked heavenward. “Thank you, sweet Lord Jesus!”

That began a longer conversation. Then, like the well-trained flirt he was, he asked, “Is there any way I can help to make your day better?”

I glanced over at the long, snaking security line that was taking about 45 minutes to clear then cut my eyes back over to him.

I smiled slyly. “Is there any way you can get me to the front of that line?”

He slapped his hands together. “Absolutely, lovely lady. You just come with me.”

In less than two minutes, he delivered me to the metal detector after holding my arm and weaving me through the crowd while saying, “Please clear the way. We have royalty coming through.”

Embarrassing, yes. Especially when some of the folks fell for it. But it worked. And, since I didn’t want to miss a second flight in the same day, I didn’t complain.

Of course, it all started with the high heels. The spiked heels started it all, turning a disastrous day into a delightful one.

A couple of weeks later, a woman, wearing sensible shoes, approached me after a speaking engagement.

“How on earth do you stand in those shoes?” she asked. “You surely are ruining your feet and legs.”

Irritated, I glanced despairingly at the drab, low-heeled loafers she wore. “Let me ask you something. Have those shoes ever gotten you to the front of an airport security line?”

Puzzled, she blinked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I smiled smugly. “You would, if you had ever worn shoes like this!”

[Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of “What Southern Women Know About Flirting” and “The Town That Came A-Courtin’.” She lives in Gainesville, Ga. E-mail her at southswomen@bellsouth.net.]

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