Oh what a deliciously wicked contrivance — the truly unrealistic curves and arches of extreme high spike heels or shiny thigh-high boots. Form, design, fit. A fashion "must" one moment; an inexcusable fashion faux pas the next. Artists and designers not only create the basic designs, they calculate the stress loads and arch support torque with the care of Frank Lloyd Wright designing a suspension bridge across San Francisco Bay.

Doctors repudiate them. Artisans craft them. Madison Avenue markets them. Until they come into the lowly possession of the shopkeepers who place them in their display windows to entice you in and courteously separate you from your money. The trap is set. You scurry by the display window, hustling to catch the cross-town bus home when POW! Your feet freeze. Your eyes lock onto them in the display case. In that moment you realize that it is kismet. It is meant to be. You know with absolute metaphysical certainty that you must have those shoes! You stand motionless, your eyes transfixed on these seductive icons of high-fashion status. A dull awareness grows within the pit of your stomach making it churn with desire and avarice.

    You convince yourself that without those shoes your life will be an empty routine of car pools, bus transfers, project reports, and macaroni and cheese dinners with just you and your regular dining companion, Alex Trebek! You break out the plastic and sign your name. There! It's done! They're mine! Two weeks' worth of mad money that you were saving up for that new muffler and a tune-up! But who cares! You have those shoes. You fulfilled that need. Now you scurry home as if you had just surreptitiously left the scene of a hit-and-run accident.

    Why? Why does one little act of gratuitous, narcissistic self-indulgence merit being treated like a dirty little vice? Is it that such footwear has become symbolic in Western culture as a means to telegraph to others the owners desire and inclination to erotic decadence?

    Three days later when the euphoria lifts you realize, "And to what board meeting am I going to wear a pair of candy-apple red, 8 inch platform, spike-heeled, ankle strap pumps with three buckles?" You shame yourself into donating them to the St. Vincent de Paul Society where a fabulous Drag Queen named Lotta Luv finds them and the whole darned process starts over again!

    Outrageous heels and platforms are fashion self-indulgence much like a Godiva Chocolate. You certainly don't need them. They're not particularly good for you. They serve no real earthly purpose other than to heighten your sense of fashion and well being, while attracting the attentions of those whom you wish to impress. Or bring to heel, so to speak. They turn your feet and legs into a living work of art, worthy of the attention and admiration of all who see you. Women will no doubt gossip while secretly envying you your boldness; men will quietly conjure up impassioned fantasies and desire to worship and fawn over you.

    Upon reflection, consider this: how many other minor investments that one might make in a week will return so many devious and delightful dividends? That when worn either in private or for social occasions will lift you out of the mundane and into the lofty realm of Goddess!

    This feature was written for us by Michael Burton, proprietor extraordinaire of DivaWeb, a San Francisco-based extreme fashion business.