Release The Hooves

A benefit of getting older means shedding some vanity. Vanity is heavy, exhausting, and time consuming. Self-acceptance is peaceful. I don’t cringe when I see myself naked. I don’t berate myself for bulges and gray hair.

Except those wiry, white eyebrow hairs. I hate seeing wiry, white eyebrow hairs.

Really, though, just about everything else is cool. I am who I am.

Those eyebrow hairs are like a harbinger of cronehood. “Try as hard as you want dearie, you can’t escape. You’ll be old and wrinkly and probably have a mustache thick enough to distract people from your eyebrows. Not that they will care. You’re becoming the old woman who people goad to hear a stream of profanity because they find the cursing adorable. Let’s face it, white wiry eyebrow hair means you are close to being a photo op at family functions.”

So, I am killing the self-acceptance thing, other than the eyebrow hairs. Well, white eyebrow hairs and my heels.

I try to make my heels nice. I have the purple pumice thingy and used the “as seen on TV” cheese grater egg for heels. I get pedicures. I have had advice for home remedies, like wearing lard filled socks to bed or the thing where you soak your feet in mouthwash. Nothing works. It’s like throwing a thimble of water on a forest fire. I soak my feet in mouthwash and my heels feel the way a whale would feel if a state fair goldfish tried to bite it.

Getting pedicures always start with my standard disclaimer/apology: “Yeah, so my heels are terrible. I’m just warning you. Like they’re probably worse than any heels you’ve ever seen. They are super bad. Seriously.”

The words may vary slightly. Often, I ramble on longer although I am trying to cut back on the volume of words I use when apologizing for being gross. Next time, I’m going to try saying “Sorry, I am disgusting.”  They’ll figure out what I mean soon enough.

The pedicurist usually ends up saying something like “Yeah, they’re pretty bad.”

When I go to the Vietnamese place, I am positive the old women who work there talk shit about my feet. But I don’t know for sure because I don’t speak Vietnamese.

“These are the worst heels I have ever seen. They look like a cross between Godzilla and my grandpa’s old leather suitcase.”

That might not be completely accurate, although I am fairly certain I heard one of them say “Godzilla”. It also might have been “Dumbo”. Which really, isn’t much of an improvement.

Why is television in the nail salon always horrible? It’s either court TV or a crime show about coroners or something equally disturbing. It’s kind of hard to relax during the leg massage when you are staring at an image of a blue faced corpse in a shallow grave. Also, what is up with commercials? I’ve had nothing but streaming services for about 7 years now. We don’t see commercials. Then, I get a pedicure and there is a commercial for an endurance product because “it’s better when you finish together”. Damn. Commercials make orgasm references now? Then, there was a commercial about a class action suit against a drug which sometimes causes men to grow breasts. That fucking sucks. I had no idea how much I have been missing out due to not having commercials. I feel like I’ve been under a rock. 

I saw a dermatologist about my feet once. She told me my heel problem was hereditary and there wasn’t much I could do. She prescribed a gel which she said would improve the appearance of my heels, but that they’d probably always look dry and cracked and like a cross between Godzilla and an old leather suitcase. And I’d have to use the gel every month. The gel cost over a hundred dollars for a month’s supply. I have been tempted, but find paying my electric bill more satisfying than having my heels be slightly less hard and cracked.

I’m not finding my way past this alligator skin heel problem. How can I be successful on this journey toward self-acceptance when I have grody heels?

Mock if you will, the word “grody” was one word we got right in the eighties. Grody has a specific meaning which transcends the word “gross”. Gross is seeing a flock of crows eating vomit. Grody is more gross, mixed with something unseemly. Not that crows eating vomit is seemly. Grody is going to the club and getting hit on by a dude with yeti lineage and wearing a mesh shirt. Grody is when your armpit is stubbly and there are little white specks of deodorant clinging to the stubble. I will say, however, there is no excuse for “tubular” , “bag your face”, or “gag me with a spoon”.

I guess I’ll keep trying to find a resolution to my heel problem that won’t break the bank. Or, I will continue to look for cute sandals with a closed heel. Or maybe, reconsider my hard and fast rule about never wearing socks with sandals.

Or, I can just admit this is my body and my body comes equipped with heel armor.

The best I’ve been able to do so far is console myself that it won’t be too many more years before I get those thick, curvy old lady toenails. Then, I will always have two perfect murder weapons with me, a sharp object and a blunt instrument. They should make that the plot of a crime show which would be perfect for nail salons everywhere. 



Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Maria P says:

    What is it with heels? Mine will never win a prize either. Dried and cracked. Oh well. C’est la vie. But I still wear sandals and hope no one is staring at them. But if they see it, it’s their own fault for staring

  2. Anne says:

    Try vaseline, it cures everything skin related. Smear it on your heel and put a sock on it every night for a month and it will get better. And, it is cheap. Good luck.

    • Michelle says:

      I have tried this and it does very little. Also, I have hot feet. Not hot as in sexy, hot as in they are fucking hot ALL the socks at bedtime is like torture. 🙁

  3. Lisa K says:

    My oh my…. I used to be a ‘barefoot everywhere’ enthusiast and by July, the bottoms of my feet were thick and there were ridges around each toe for extra heat protection. I had to start in March (when I finally was able to shed the boots from the snow 😉 never liked barefoot in the snow, much… ) to be able to build up enough extra skin to take the hot pavement in town.
    Then I sobered up.
    Can’t take the heat, no mo…. plus we moved to a place with puncture vine, AKA Goat Heads, and there is no such thing as barefoot anymore… even to the car in my driveway 🙁
    See…. here’s where City Girl meets Country Girl: Do people really judge our heels??? *looks at heels* I’m pretty sure I got lots more to judge than my heels….
    Good grief.
    I’m not sure I would use ‘grody’ for your heels, Luv 😉 I used ‘grody’ in the 80’s, too, and I am positive your heels aren’t grody 🙂
    But… if you are determined to worry about people judging your heels, just wear extra sparkly blue eyeshadow 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Haralee says:

    Kick boxing. You would be formidable!

  5. MJ says:

    OMG, Michelle! You crack me up! Grody, gag me with a spoon! We are the same vintage. And I too, have one white whisker coming out of my eyebrow. It is a source of amusement for me. And hon, no one is looking at your heels.

  6. Jen says:

    Bought over-the-counter (cheap) Flexitol Heel Balm. Works for me.
    Just one more maintenance problem.

  7. m says:

    Those white eyebrow hairs–where do they come from?! I have a friend who refers to them as “nuclear hairs”, like they mutated from radiation. Maybe they secretly give us superpowers, but I pull mine out anyway. Too bad–I might be invisible otherwise…

  8. Harry says:

    Really funny one.

    Louis CK has a bit about going to the doctor about his ankles. The doctor says, “Yeah, they’re worn out. See that black section in this X-ray? That’s not supposed to be there.”

    Louis CK: “What can you do about it?”

    Doctor: “It’s just worn out.”

    Louis CK: “If I were a professional athlete, you’d be discussing options…”

    Doctor: “You’re not a professional athlete.

    Bodies are pretty disgusting and I try to keep as much of myself covered as possible at all times.

  9. Alana says:

    Just wait until you need a chainsaw to cut your toenails. I’m there. I use a coconut and shea butter product (from Wal Mart, forgive me, I can’t find it anywhere else) on my alligator feet and avoid pedicure places at all costs.

  10. Renee says:

    Ok, so you had me at the white wirey eyebrows…and then the rough heels….but I also have the horrible toenails and long hairs growing out of my chin…so I think I have you beat!

  11. Spiked Lee says:

    White eyebrow hair = unicorn glitter and magic sparkles.
    Tough heels = unicorn hooves and the ability to fly.

    At some point, I figured out all ability to rationalize could be turned to good. My hair dresser is helped by calling the greying sparkles. I don’t usually believe it, but it’s fun to say!

  12. Shani says:

    I love your blog for many reasons. This post is a great sample of one of those reasons. I love the slight detours to the destination because that is often how my mind works. Though yours is much more entertaining!
    Whenever I see a commercial for a new drug I always know there will be another commercial in few years about lawsuits due to side effects. It’s like the circle of commercial life.
    I went years without getting pedicures because I hated how dry my feet were. Then my sister treated me to one for my college graduation and I couldn’t say no and oh was it heavenly so I just go in now because I refuse to care about what people think of my feet when I am there specifically for them to help them. And when they do a good job they get a better tip than normal. So take your heels and enjoy your pedicure with no apologies! None! You deserve the pampering.

  13. Onlyme says:

    I don’t have the white eyebrow hair issue, but I do feel seriously bad about my neck. It makes turkeys look really good. And my upper arms – why must I have wrinkles on my upper arms? Accepting these aging changes is huge, but I’m trying. You’re my mentor, Michelle. As for those heels, I have this theory – not scientific, just my own thoughts – that it’s the repeated use of the pumice thingy that actually causes the skin on our heels to grow thick and hard. On the other hand, I put lotion, regular old body lotion, on my heels after every single bath. And they don’t look bad, I have to say. I’d rather show them to the world than my neck, which is a challenge in itself!

    • Michelle says:

      Yeah…my neck? The more weight I lose, the worse it looks. Oh well…

      • Charlene says:

        Now I am scared. I’m starting to get a turkey neck because of my weight/age. I just started on Nutrisystems to try to lose a lot of weight. What if all the weight I lose goes to my turkey neck. At least with feet, you can cover them up. Oh the horror of it all. LOL.

  14. OMG, those late-eighties Valley Girl expressions! 😀 You’re right, “grody” was a good one.

  15. Being cool has always been sexy, but something that started in the ’80’s–one of the other things that decade got right–is that being unique, or at least just different, became cool. It was self-confidence, rather than the right clothes or looks that people realized was really sexy.
    Embrace your heels. No, wait, that might be uncomfortable. Accept your heels.
    And you can also just tell people you have Hobbit feet. Hobbits are cool. Get a pipe and that will add to the look, along with the profanity.

  16. AmberLynn says:

    My husband comments on my toe calluses and calls my feet “rocks”. I teach yoga and I’m barefoot all of the time. I used to worry about how my feet looked when I was teaching, but between running and yoga my toenails are splitting and the bottoms of my feet are calloused….oh well. You come to my class for the instruction, not to look at my toes. Plus, I have two kids that are still little…..pedicures are not in the budget at this time. Release the hooves!

  17. Doug in Oakland says:

    I hear you about the commercials. When I was going to my pre-op appointments for my cataract surgery, a couple of times I was in the waiting room for over an hour, and the TV programming was bad enough (for someone like me who has never owned a television), mostly court-TV sort of things that just aren’t entertainment to anyone who has ever had to actually go to court (an awful combination of boredom and terror) , but the commercials… and there were so many of them! were awful. I remember thinking, how does that even work? Someone is paying green, American, money to put these things on, so they must be getting *something* out of it, but first, I would never choose an attorney based on a TV ad, and second, the ads were so obnoxious that if I were in need of an attorney, the one in the ad would not be it. Ever. I’ll plead guilty first.
    I was waiting for my doctor in the exam room at Highland once, and this nice woman came in and asked me if I’d like to participate in a medical study she was conducting, that would only take about five minutes, and involved having pictures taken of my nails. I try to be cooperative with my health care providers, as they have done a great deal to improve my life, so I said sure.
    Then she asked me to take off my shoes and socks.
    This was back before I could bend as well as I do now (which still isn’t that good) and my toenails hadn’t had any more attention than a shower for months.
    I tried to explain that to the nice woman, but she said don’t worry about it, we need nails like yours for the study, and pulled out her camera.
    Like she said, it was over in a few minutes, long before Dr. Nelson made it in to check me out, but for some reason I was mortified by having pictures taken of my scraggly toenails.
    Feet are weird and amazing anyway, when you consider what they actually do, so I wouldn’t worry too much about your heels.

  18. OMG – you kill me. I too have grody feet. One of the reasons I love my husband is that he loves my fee the way they are. My genetic present was a pre-disposition to tonail fungus – it comes with the family and it comes early. Since my 20s, I’ve gone through so many rounds of drugs, my GP says I am at risk for liver damage. I’ve tried every remedy out there and finally just gave up. I do my own “pedicure” which reminds me more of what a ferrier does to a horse, buy some non-toxic nail polish to put on the things that should be nails, but are instead just trimmed and filed fungus, and hope nobody looks too closely. If you put enough layers on , they almost pass for the real thing. Living in LA, I had to give up on hiding my toes in summer. Like you though, I find that as I age, I give far fewer fucks about how my feet (or any other parts of me) look!

  19. carol says:

    My toenails are thick. This started when I was much younger and they have gotten worse as I age. I once considered having the nails on my baby toes removed because I often caught them on coffee table legs etc. My solution? I now use a black (coarse, tough) file and file them ACROSS THE TOP of the nail, which I guess is a no-no, but it works for me. I file them down to a ‘normal’ thickness, round off the edge and have nails like a ‘normal’ person, yay! They look good and feel good. 🙂

  20. Catsmeow says:

    This works for my heels after just a few days: and I swear I don’t own stock in it or anything.

    As for the eyebrow hairs, surely you’ve realized by now they are simply migrating pubic hairs. Pluck this damn things! Ick.

  21. Catsmeow says:

    Guess the link doesn’t work, but the product is Sallybeauty cucumber Heel to Toe.

  22. emelle says:

    I have blonde hair, which I help God keep the color He assigned at my birth (I’ve experimented with Auburn & “natural” darkening blonde, but I like it bright, so I buy the Loréal quite willingly)… my eyebrows have always been “dark” blonde, so I’ve never really considered them anything other than “my eyebrows”. I used to have a mole near my chin, which would regularly grow up to three longer-than-eyebrow hairs from it, and when I had it removed, I really thought I had gotten rid of that problem. Nopity nope. About once a month or so, I find myself tweezing a single hair from my fucking chin. Hate that shit.

    I’m looking forward to going white-blonde. No more dark roots!

  23. Marrow of doom says:

    Flexitol is good. As is sandpaper. I got one of those Scholl velvet smooth electric foot file things (with the extra coarse roller). It helps too, but I still prefer sandpaper.

  24. Wendy says:

    Forget the mouthwash.
    50/50 vinegar and water at whatever temperature suits you. 20 minutes a day, once or twice a week. Then scrape the dead skin off with your finger nails. It really is that simple.
    Now that I have my feet cleaned up, I only need to do this every couple of weeks..

  25. My feet are pretty calloused and armor-like themselves. Thankfully, I don’t have the super dry cracked skin, it’s just hard and thick (and a little darker than the rest of my skin) no matter how much I pumice, file, and moisturize. I blame my dad’s half of my genetics. He has the worst feet I’ve ever seen.

  26. Fiona says:

    My Dad used to say I have peasant feet (short and square). I didn’t find that as funny as he did…. I love my feet for what they put up with and do for me. I apologise to them now for being so mean to them when I was younger (pointy toed stilettos I’m looking at you, you beautiful and evil temptresses).

  27. Billie says:

    If you only worry about your heels, there’s a blessing straight off.
    I read once the way to get rid of cracked heels is to cut out refined white sugar and other crap from the diet, and this year I have eaten better, more to keep menopause symptoms at bay, and my heels are honestly so much better this year.
    I know, not what I wanted to hear either re the diet. It may be a coincidence that they are better.
    BTW your comment about the deodorant stickin to the stubble made me laugh so much, thank you. 🙂

  28. Love reading your posts.
    must be the weather here, our feet dont get too bad here, its all the humidity…but feet sweat alot,
    and I now have a white eyelash.. yep that one is hard to pluck, but the white eyebrows, those little suckers get pulled out.

  29. L iv says:

    Forget the eyebrows…wait until you start getting those little wiry ones in your nose.

  30. Anonymouse says:

    I used to do medical transcription for a Podiatrist. He recommended Kerasal to a lot of his patients. I’ve been using it for years. Apply it at bedtime & put on thin cotton socks. I have the kind that don’t go past my anklebones. May take 2-3 nights in a row for problem heels. But it works, like magic. And gosh, do I remember grody! You’re a hoot.

  31. Cindy H says:

    First of all, as usual, hilarious, Michelle.
    Second of all, I used to lifeguard in California and walk a lot on sand and cement. At least 5 painful cracks on the heels of both feet.
    So bad that I walked on my tiptoes.
    Now, after EVERY shower (it is SUPER dry in Calgary), I use The Body Shop body butter on my heels (as well as all over).
    Nope, I do not work for them. 😉
    My toes are prehensile and cool, my heels will never be beautiful, but it truly has helped immensely.
    Don’t give up! 🙂

  32. Shelley Caldes says:

    I use L’Occitaine foot cream “Rich in nourishing Shea Butter (15%), this foot cream with natural soothing ingredients (arnica and lavender essential oil) moisturizes and helps relieve the feeling of tired feet.” Seriously, shea butter is amazing for moisturizing. And even it doesn’t help, it smells so good and soothes your aching feet within 5 minutes and then you won’t give a damn that your heels are grody.

  33. KK says:

    That has always been a bane of mine but now I swear by L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream, it’s the only thing I’ve ever found that works. QVC sometimes have it, and some other marvellous stuff that melts off all the hard skin, which I can’t remember off the top of my head but when I do I’ll pass it on 🙂

  34. Leslie says:

    Michelle, I live in Florida and you would fit right in. You would think that living in a climate where sandals and flip flops are worn year around people would be conscience of their foot care but apparently I’m giving too much credit where it is not due. I was standing in line behind a nicely dressed couple, the woman had polished toes and darling sandals and what appeared to be week old English muffins on her heels. I nearly went to the foot aisle and bought her something. And do not get me started on toenails! Old men are the worst! If it looks like you could perch on the tree behind my house then I know a farrier.

    Oh, and my husband’s eyebrows are out of control. If his hairline starts to recede he can always comb his eyebrows back.

    Sunshine hugs from Florida!

  35. shelleye says:

    Apparently Baby Foot is amazing! 🙂

    (I’m not with the company, I just heard a review of it and thought of it when I read your blog)(Which I really enjoy, thank you!)

  36. b+( says:

    I am FINALLY getting to a place where I can accept the way I look. I do not dye my hair, get my nails done nor even my feet (as long as I can still reach them) and have even given up wearing a bra most days.

    I am comfortable in my skin and look about the same in spite of the cut back in beauty regimen. I like it a lot.

    What I do do is exercise on the floor most mornings and I bought some weights for arm exercises. I feel strong that that is what is important to me.

    As for your heels…have you tried just wearing a pair of shoes…with an enclosed heel. What we cannot see is soon forgotten! 🙂