I should have known immediately to ask for a different sales woman when as I walked into the dance store I was looked up and down and uttered at with contempt, “Well, don’t you look cute.”. But my reason for coming to the dance store made me blind and too excited and I blurted out, “Hi, can you help me, I’m in need of a pair of pointe shoes, I’m a size 10 and a half.”
“No you aren’t.”
“Yes, I am.”
“I’m not asking for you street shoe size, what size are you?”
“Oh.” I reached in my bag and pulled out my still sweaty slipper and luckily was able to make out the barely visible 8 imprinted on the suede. “8, I’d like to try a Block shoe please.”
“Point your toe… Hoooow long haaaave you been dancing?… A year and a half isn’t a very long time… Who said you were ready for pointe?”
I know what she saw. I wasn’t wearing any make up, I’d just come from ballet class and the privet Lindy Hop lesson before that and the 8am Pilates class before that. Even now, in my mid 30’s, my ID is requested when ordering alcoholic beverages. Between all that and my excitement I know she thought she was dealing with a naive little girl who was about to make a big mistake. This sales lady had made up her mind and was going to passively aggressively set me straight. I’m sure she’d had it up to her eye balls with women and girls thinking that they could be the Black Swan, or be on Breaking Pointe or Bun Heads. I’m sure because of this, what she didn’t see was the 36-year-old woman ready, almost hoping, for her to cross the line and rip her a new one.
If it were a few years ago I would have too but I recognised my emotions and made the good adult decision to just get what I came for and leave. I’ve been dancing for 10 years. Sure not ballet, but the big reason for the jump to pointe was that my American Smooth coach pointed out that it might be helpful for my foot work in Smooth dance because it would be making my foot stronger. And that’s why I was there. I had been taking a pointe class on demi for about a month, I was starting to get the hang of it, even if I put the shoes on in the beginning of the class for 5 minutes, it is still going to be beneficial.
None of any of that was going to be explained, as I tried to put the shoe on for the first time I heard the words, “NO, you put the shoes on with a straight foot, NOT at an angle.” I looked up to only to find myself down the barrel of her dagger eyes. Yup, what’s the point of trying to explain any of it?
The passive aggression just went on like this. “No you have to get ALL the way over the box!” So everyone could hear it in the store. At one point she went so far to pseudo threaten to not sell me the shoes, but the best was as I was leaving she yelled after me “Don’t forget, ONLY WEAR THEM IN THE STUDIO!”.
Ummmm, where else was I going to wear them? Driving? Walking down the street? I wanted to turn around and explain to her, with a lot of unnecissary four letter words, what an incredible crappy sales woman she is, what part of this is my money to spend in your store was she missing and how she’d just ruined my day and the experience of the now stupid moment. How this was MY journey to take, not hers (that she already clearly messed up and was quite bitter about), and that while she didn’t have to be supportive her unnecessary comments had nothing to do with my dance background OR how much effort that I put into my dance that she knew absolutely nothing about.
But I didn’t. She had already ruined the experience, so what was the point? I chose to walk out the door, not look back and swore up and down in my car if I was to return to the store and we crossed paths I’d look at her and say,”Oh no no no, not you.”
(At this moment I let it all go, all the anger and bad feelings melted away and I realized there was just no point(e).)