Why Do Men Love Women in High Heels?

Notes from the fashion apocalypse.
July 24 2013 6:56 PM

What Is It About a Woman in High Heels?

Why Anthony Weiner, and men like him, dig porno pumps.

A model presents a creation from the Michael Kors Spring 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week September 16, 2009.
Power trip? A foot thing?

Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

When I was a kid I used to take my sightless Aunt Phyllis for a walk in the local park. On more than one occasion we encountered the neighborhood flasher. I remember feeling bad for him. Quel poignancy! Flashing repeatedly at blind people and their diminutive companions! It doesn’t get any more tragic than that. Or does it?

Simon Doonan Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

Half a century later, another serial flasher is thrusting himself into my orbit, and everyone else’s. Anthony Weiner is at it again! Reading his texts—he used the nom de plume Carlos Danger—I got that same sinking feeling I used to experience, lo those many years ago, when I encountered Mr. Raincoat in that rain-lashed British park. For goodness’ sake! Put it away, before you catch cold. Go home and have a nice cuppa.

Reading through his texts I noted, with a mixture of interest and boredom, Señor Danger’s request that the young lady in question might appear “naked except for some amazing fuckme shoes.” Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil. He’s conjuring the oldest trick in the book. The horny porny cliché that won’t die. What is it about tarty shoes on a naked chick that keeps guys coming back for more?

Since the dawn of photography men have been grunting over pics of ladies flaunting themselves in high-heeled shoes. In Victorian times women wore heeled boots, and men loved nothing more than to lick a muddy instep or salivate over buttons running up a shapely ankle and thence to a milky white thigh. Shoegasms reached an apotheosis in the 1950s—or so we thought at the time!—with the arrival of the greatest high-heeled dominatrix diva ever, the lady with the ball-gag and the brunette bangs, Miss Bettie Page. This pump-loving pin-up was never without a black-patent stiletto. Some of her heels were so high that she only wore them while lolling horizontally on her couch. These were her shagging shoes.

Cut to: Today women stagger around the streets blithely wearing fetish-style shoes that would have given old Bettie an ankle sprain just to look at them. Eight-inch spike heels are the new Birkenstocks. Teetering, studded Louboutins are the new Mephistos.

Despite their ubiquity, killer heels seem to have lost none of their allure, as evidenced by Mr. Weiner’s saucy sexts. Pumps just keep on pumping. Sling-backs keep on slinging. What is it about those horny heels, worn with clothes or without, that make them so gosh-darn compelling to heterosexual men?

Is it a sculptural, visual thing? The elongation of leg? The raising of the botty? This theory surely explains why men whistle at strutting vixens. A woman’s derriere in a dress unarguably has more drama and oomph if she’s in heels. But recumbent on the hotel room duvet? Those heels aren’t adding any ass-tastic definition.

Is it a power trip? Is the fact that a lady is hobbled by heels and cannot run away a caveman turn-on? Back when primordial blokes had to chase prospective dates for miles across the tundra, any immobility must have been a raging aphrodisiac.

Is masochism at play? Those nasty, sharp, potentially scrotum-tearing heels seem like they could inflict sizzling amounts of pain. If a dude was into that stuff, then a spike heel would be like crack cocaine.

Is it just a foot thing? If guys are into feet—paging Imperial China—then shoes take on a whole new level of significance. They tantalize and titillate by encasing the fetish object in black patent mystery.

Or is it the opposite? Do men simply loathe the sight of grody, squishy bunion-encrusted tootsies and prefer that they be covered up?

Since I am unable to reach a conclusion—or to determine which of my theories is most apt—I throw it open to the comments below. Have at it fellas … and  ladies … and transfolk! Why do men love high heels?

P.S.: Am I the only person on Earth who thought Anthony Weiner’s sexts were sassy and well-written? A (much-needed) alternative career in the field of erotic literature clearly awaits Carlos D. I’d preorder Fifty Shades of Payless on Amazon in a heartbeat.