Help me get away with never wearing the boots my wife just gave me.
September 20, 2019 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Even if they weren’t so ugly, I still wouldn’t wear them because they have 1.5 inch heels, and I hate being almost 6’9” as it is. As for size 16 feet—they look like canoes Still, she was excited to give them to me, and they were a lovely gesture, and if it came down to wearing them or hurting her feelings, of course I’d wear them. I know many of you have been in the same situation—where lying and being a sneaky little shit weasel is the kindest thing to do. Let’s make this happen. What’s the first step?
posted by BadgerDoctor to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tell her? Then exchange them for boots you like? I'd be so much more weirded out / hurt if my husband felt he couldn't tell me these things than if he didn't like my taste in boots.
posted by slidell at 11:40 AM on September 20, 2019 [47 favorites]

You're going to have to take a hit; wear them soon to something/anything. If it's not fully out of character, wear them in the house while dancing on carpet (so the soles are in pristine condition). Report that they don't feel good. Note, this is not "it doesn't fit." - make sure she knows that the length/width is perfect. Because then she can get a size 15 or 17 (possibly at a hassle to herself or larger cost). There's something about the boot, and it's just is not something you can comfortably wear, and it's really good that you found out without scuffing the boots (including the sole!) so they can be returned.

Even better, open up to her that you explicitly don't like anything that makes you taller than you are. You're sharing something vulnerable and personal about yourself, so this can bring you together.
posted by nobeagle at 11:44 AM on September 20, 2019 [34 favorites]

Yeah I have a hard time with shoes as I have a very high instep. There are shoes that fit in every other way except the bulge my instep causes. Sometimes going up a size can help, but depending on the shoe/boot it won't help. Seems an simple way to say lovely present, but the design just doesn't work.
posted by Carillon at 11:53 AM on September 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

"I appreciate the gesture but they're just not my thing plus they don't really fit me well to the point they actually hurt my feet. Why don't we go shop for boots together so I can try them on before we buy them?"

I mean, if you've ever seen a situation comedy on TV you know if you lie about this now it's just going to get worse and worse and you'll continue to receive gifts from her that you don't care for. Nip it in the bud.

I hope this counts as a valid answer to your question.
posted by bondcliff at 11:53 AM on September 20, 2019 [49 favorites]

Normally I'd always go with honesty, since otherwise you risk getting more of the same.

But if you're not comfortable outright telling her that while you love that she thought about you, they're just not your taste and could you go together to return them and pick out something you'd really love to wear, then boots are actually a great white-lie generator. Put them on, walk around the room, or up a flight of stairs, or on carpet, or on the hard surface of the driveway and wow, they don't feel so comfortable. And for most people, uncomfortable shoes are an understandable deal-breaker.
posted by Mchelly at 11:56 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

If it were a gift-giving friend I didn't know very well and had to be polite with, I would act like I think they look fabulous but oh it's too bad they hurt my feet! With a spouse? Lovingly tell the truth.
posted by nantucket at 11:57 AM on September 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Okay, let's consider your options. You could:

- come up with some sort of lie, such as, you took them to the gym and they were stolen. But if you take this route, you might get caught. And even if you don't get caught, there's the whole "lying to your wife" thing. If you get away with it once, you might be tempted to do it again. On some level, you'll lose some respect for her. And for yourself. This isn't good for your relationship.

- TELL HER. I don't know your wife, and I don't know the ins and outs of your relationship with her. If I bought something for my husband that he didn't like, and he refused to wear it, who am I to dictate his style? Do I wish that my husband would sometimes be a little more adventurous in his dress? Yes! Is he required to dress the way I want him to? NO! And vice versa!

Seriously, if you sweep this under the carpet, you're going to have to deal with this sort of thing again, as she will buy you something else that you also hate sometime in the future. Just be kind but honest, and set some ground rules for the boundaries of choosing your wardrobe in the future.
posted by cleverevans at 11:57 AM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't care how excited I am to give my husband a present, I want him to be honest with me about how he feels about it. Kind, but honest. I love giving gifts, but I'm not going to feel personally attacked if it wasn't right -- that's knowledge I file away and use to do better next time. And if I found out he wore something he HATED to "make me happy", I would be absolutely mortified.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:58 AM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

IANYW, but I think she would appreciate the vulnerability and honesty in telling her how you truly feel.

Also, one way to look at it is that you can wear these for *her,* and not for you. You think they're ugly, but maybe seeing you in these boots gives her a warm, beloved feeling albeit at the expense of your own comfort. But is there any clearer definition of love than bearing discomfort for another's happiness?

I guess this doesn't answer your original question though. If you're going the benign dishonesty route, you can play the don't fit/hurt my feet card and exchange them. Then get something as close to what she bought you that you find acceptable and say that they didn't really have the original make and model in your correct size.
posted by cross_impact at 11:59 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Please tell her in a loving way. Gifts are supposed to be something that brings joy to both the receiver and the giver. She needs to know that you have preferences like no heels on your shoes. Clothing and shoes are so very personal, it is hard to buy them for others. I don't have anyone I would trust to buy clothes for me without a generous return policy, even socks!
posted by soelo at 12:07 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

-You stepped in dog poop and it ruined them
- there was a leak at work and they got water damaged
- they’re hard to drive in
- you tore an eyelet hole
- you saw a very tall homeless person who needed shoes and gave them away knowing they it would be hard for them to find shoes that fit through other donations
- mice nibbled on them
posted by raccoon409 at 12:22 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is there a chance she bought you shoes because your current ones are worn out or she thinks they're ugly or unsuitable for something you use them for? If so, you may be able to forestall more shoe gifts by updating your wardrobe. If you have the kind of relationship where she buys a lot of your clothes, you gotta tell her.

I think you should probably tell her anyhow, they're boots, you're not telling her her dog/kid/lovingly handcrafted whatever is ugly, the stakes are fairly low.
posted by momus_window at 12:34 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

In my experience, boots often have a pointy toe. This could be a handy excuse, because it's a fit complaint that can't be solved by exchanging for a new size. "They're the right length, and they fit at the widest part of my feet, but the pointiness makes my pinky toe feel cramped." Obviously not useful if you have other pointy shoes, or if you're a genie.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:43 PM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

is such a lonely word;
everyone is so untrue.
is hardly ever heard,
and mostly what I need
from you.
posted by amtho at 12:53 PM on September 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

Be honest now: if she’s able to return or exchange them, you could get boots or shoes that you actually like and will wear. Maybe even super fancy shoes, because boots are often rather pricey. You get something you want, she gets the satisfaction of having given you something you want, nobody has to tiptoe (in uncomfortable footwear) around an obvious lie.

You can be honest without disclosing all the ways in which you find the boots totally hideous. “The heels don’t work for me” is enough of a reason.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:54 PM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Turns out, you can't walk in heels. (At 6'8" and change, when would you have had the chance to find that out, before these boots?)

Best to go with your wife for the exchange, so you'll know for certain that you can comfortably wear her very thoughtful gift.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:04 PM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Shoes are a notoriously individual thing (very, very difficult to pick for other people), and I am near certain your wife would understand if you acknowledged that they just weren't your style/fit.

If you don't typically like a heel on a boot, that alone would be enough for me to tell a well-meaning but misguided gift-giver: "hey, that was really sweet of you to give me these, but I can't walk well in a heel like that, so hopefully we can do a return/exchange". There is no way to get away with an actual lie in this case - just ask Han Solo.
posted by aecorwin at 1:09 PM on September 20, 2019

1.5" heels are no joke! I think that's a very reasonable reason that can't be misconstrued as "you have bad taste." Also, boots cost like $200, so don't waste them!
posted by slidell at 1:19 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

With shoes I think improper fit is always a reasonable excuse, and fortunately this is something the wearer can feel but the observer can't see. It's also possible to test out a pair of boots for fit without creasing them, so you should be able to return them. Then as you're returning them you go on and on about how much you appreciated them and have been wanting some new boots and you both go to pick something out.
posted by slkinsey at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2019

Great answers so far !

For those suggesting I tell her the truth

Yes, honesty is the best policy, and I hate lying to her, but in marriage you also have to pick and choose your battles.

You can't do both.

I choose no battle. Telling the truth is NOT on the table.

But thank you so much for your advice
posted by BadgerDoctor at 1:51 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

i'd rather my partner told me he didn't like the boots so we could get him ones he did, instead of hiding them away somewhere. a) that would be a waste of money and b) i wouldn't learn what the problem was and might repeat in the future. sure, i'd be hurt at first, but in the long run it's better to be honest.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:58 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wear them. Then, immediately complain that your lower back is really a pinched nerve or something. Then, stop wearing them, and now your back feels fine. “Huh. Must be those heels, honey.”
posted by Thorzdad at 2:05 PM on September 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

Go the "they hurt my feet/back/give me PF" white lie. Then Why don't you come with me & help me pick the exchange pair.

Or do the old "Save them for special" then wear them out when you go to a nice restaurant & movie on date night where you'll spend most of the time sitting down with the shoes hidden or in the dark. Thus showing your love & how special you think date night is all in one go.

Though I too am off the tell the truth school of thought.
posted by wwax at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2019

I'm concerned that telling her you don't like the boots seems to you like it's going to be a "battle." Generally I abhor the words "should" and "shouldn't", but this is one of the times where it needs to be said: this shouldn't be a battle.

Having said that, I hasten to add: it IS commonly a battle for a lot of people and in a lot of relationships. This is a challenge faced by many. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and your relationship is unlikely to be broken or unhealthy just based on this.

As I see it, this will be a "battle" because:

Possibility A: Your wife will probably experience your dislike of the present as you personally rejecting her and feel hurt, or perhaps she might feel she failed to be good enough as a gift giver, feel inadequate.
Possibility A-Prime: Your response when she reacts in these ways might be to feel resentful, defensive, attacked, or just plain tired of walking on eggshells around her easily hurt feelings. This deepens the negativity she feels and expresses, and becomes a feedback loop of ick, which you, very understandably, wish to avoid.

Possibility B: You are someone who likes to accommodate people, please people, make them happy. It's difficult for you to say no to someone's request. You find it almost impossible to express dissatisfaction with someone else, or even just something they said or did. You are conflict-averse to such an extreme that anything short of full acquiescence/joy feels like conflict to you.
Possibility B-Prime: In addition, your wife expects this type of accommodation from you, and things really do turn into battles in your relationship when you express dissatisfaction, so your inherent tendencies become an ingrained part of the dynamic between you both.

The good news is, the stakes of this particular issue are low enough that the fix is simple and easy. The way to break out of either of these cycles (and their possible attendant complications) is to say something like, "Thanks, honey! I tried the boots on, and ...ehh. I'm thinking I'll exchange them. I LOVE that you bought me a present, though, omg. How sweet are you! You made my day."

The validation and joy that comprises 3/4ths of that speech is hopefully enough to calm both her and your fear that this is a personal rejection of her. And in case of either A-Prime or B-Prime, try to repeat the validation and appreciation parts of the message in loving tones ONCE, and then leave the room saying, "I love you, I'll be back in a few," rather than give in to the negativity and deepen the cycle. When you're taking the few minutes, remind yourself to feel only your own emotions and shed responsibility for hers. She is a grown-up. She can handle her feelings. It is not your job to soothe her anxieties for her. She will be fine, and so will you. <3

Gird your loins, friend. You can do this. Trust, this is the perfect moment and perfect issue to shake up this particular corrosive (but common) relationship dynamic.
posted by MiraK at 2:55 PM on September 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

Step 1: Get Inspired.
Step 2: Go to someplace like Nordstrom
Step 3: Buy a pair of good looking sharp ass boots
Step 4: Come home and tell your wife the boots she gave you inspired you to go find a pair of bad ass looking shoes cause DAMN you like looking like a fine gentlemen in a sharp ass pair of boots.
Step 5: Your wife's mission is accomplished because now you know how to shop for your own boots.
posted by nikaspark at 3:02 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

How much truth is on the table? Can they "not fit well" and need exchanged, or do you have to "wear them to work" and smuggle other shoes out with you? You could even "leave them in the office" and wear your "commuting" shoes to and from work. (Note that I've commented twice advocating for honesty, and that's still my actual recommendation.)
posted by slidell at 3:04 PM on September 20, 2019

Find some other flamboyant, fun, expensive footwear that you like better. Ask her to get that for you instead. Be vulnerable about your tastes and fears when you do that, and tell her you really look forward to wearing them, with her, to [special dress-up event]. BOOM - awesome experience for everyone.
posted by amtho at 3:17 PM on September 20, 2019

If you’re picking your battles, then I think you have to wear the boots. Internet strangers cannot somehow magic wand away your relationship problems or how you feel about the boots.
posted by Mistress at 3:39 PM on September 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

Alternatively, wear them to an outing with your wife and then knock your head on a bunch of things because you’re too tall. It will have to be a hard knock so the trauma and upset of the situation get her on team no boots. This is not something I would recommend except for your stipulations in the question. Seriously, there are no magic wands.
posted by Mistress at 3:41 PM on September 20, 2019

Wear them one entire day on a day when she’ll be with you. At the end of the day your back is just killing you, it’s never felt so bad, oh my god. It’s the shoes, because of the heels. And it’s so sad because didn’t they look so great today? Maybe you can find a similar pair of boots without the heel—maybe you and the wife could go have a day out shopping and she can show you where she got them / if she has any other ideas.
posted by sallybrown at 3:43 PM on September 20, 2019

If I were the giver in this situation I'd be okay with being told the truth. I am sensitive and it would sting, but I'd rather know and have the chance to learn more about what my partner likes and doesn't like. It might help if you focused more on the appreciative part than the part about why you don't like them. "You are the best, this was so generous and thoughtful and sweet, and I want to exchange them. Wanna come with and get ice cream afterwards?" Don't frame it as if you're sad or sorry or as if something bad has happened.

And then an organic conversation about your feelings on your height and heels can emerge, either then or while shopping, and that will be a chance to be vulnerable and open with someone who might be feeling vulnerable about picking a "bad" gift which could hopefully level the vulnerability playing field.

Because if she thinks this gift is a hit, there may be more heeled boots in your future.
posted by bunderful at 5:01 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'll take your word for it that simply telling your wife - kindly, of course - that the boots make you feel self-conscious and then maybe shopping with her for a different pair of shoes is out of the question.

Are you looking for advice on how to accidentally ruin or lose the boots, or what? I've been in a situation similar to yours when given ugly (or at least, not my style at all) clothes by very thoughtful loved ones. Of course it's harder when the giver lives with you.

What I do is choose one time to wear the offending item in front of the giver, and then it usually gets lost in my closet. I don't actually get rid of it, I just wear it the one time and then keep it forever as a remembrance of their kindness. I would think it's okay to try wearing them once, maybe even on a special occasion, and then if she asks you why you aren't wearing them just say they hurt your feet or something but you felt bad telling her.
posted by wondermouse at 6:00 PM on September 20, 2019

Say they hurt your feet, and with big old canoe feet, that's a lot of hurt. It was so awesome of you to get me these boots. What a cool gift. What a thoughtful wife. These boots kill my arches, let's return them and you can help me find another brand. Also, you are the nicest wife of all of ever.

When you go shopping together, you can say I'm kind of sensitive about my height, what with the thin air up here, har, har*, maybe no heels. Also, that might be what's hurting.

*I'm sorry for the obvious joke. Being short is hard and I overcompensate.
posted by theora55 at 8:41 PM on September 20, 2019

Internally call them your Jayne boots. Nobody will mess with a man willing to wear boots so ugly. Revel in how ugly they are. Treat them like a costume.
posted by itesser at 11:06 PM on September 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wear them once or twice and then just don’t. Most of us like some of our clothing more than the rest and have stuff in the back of our closet we never get too. If asked say that after wearing them a few times they aren’t your thing and you’ve determined you don’t really like dress boots. You gave it a shot, and time has passed and it’s not as big a deal. This is being honest but also giving them a shot / lengthening the time frame a little so it’s not an outright rejection.
posted by Sukey Says at 3:14 AM on September 21, 2019

Look on line for a pair of boots that look as nearly identical to those as possible to the boots, except without the heel, and buy them secretly. Disappear the boots you can't wear and wear the substitution ones. This will probably take some $$$. In the meantime put the boots you can't wear someplace she won't see them regularly and imply that you are saving them for best and special occasion. "I'm going to wear my old boots today because the gravel flies up like crazy there and my old ones are already dinged up."

Say nothing. Or if you know your relationship and it is a good idea, once you are wearing the new boots, say things like, "You are so thoughtful and I really appreciate the trouble you went to for me."

Chances are high that if your wife bought you boots with a heel you cannot wear she was oblivious to the fact that they had heels and unless you bring her attention to it she will remain oblivious. Unless she has a fetish for height and wants you to be seven feet tall, the heels are probably something she overlooked. Unless she deliberately bought you boots you will hate. She is more likely to assume she forgot the roundness of the toe too, if they are the same brown lace up look as the one she bought. As soon as you possibly can forget about the subsititution. Dispose of any packaging that could provide additional evidence of your deceit.

The first time you wear your new (new) boots don't mention it or them but go to your wife and show her a smidgy of extra love and support and appreciation.

As a counterweight to the deceit you are practicing, figure out some way to increase truthful intimacy with her somewhere. Be aware that substituting boots is a form of gas-lighting and deeply dishonest. The entire plan I have laid out is way over-thinking things, and indicative of a significant issue in the relationship that you do not feel capable of telling her the boots gotta go back. And while this will get you through this incident you need to figure out a long term strategy for ensuring that you reduce the lying. If your wife intercepts the new in-coming boots you will be in a worse situation than if you had told the truth.

Do not wear boots that are bad for your feet unless the alternative is worse foot injury from some other means.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:41 AM on September 21, 2019

My loving grandmother used to give me ugly clothes that I hated. If I didn't wear something, she'd notice. If I told the truth, she'd push back "but it looks so nice on you! Why don't you like it? I think it's lovely!" The best solution was to say that although I liked the item, it didn't fit. (Which often meant it went to one of my sisters instead, who then had to deploy their own strategies) Anyhow, my suggestion is to tell her that they don't fit right (too tight in the toes, loose in one heel, whatever) and hopefully you can exchange them. Avoids hurt feelings and gets you out of having to wear them.
posted by emd3737 at 9:59 AM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tell her they hurt your toes and that your feet are getting oddly sensitive and hard to fit. Your feet may in the past have been the kind of feet that someone other than you could shop for, but they no longer are, to your dismay. It's too bad because she has awesome taste and you know she loves to shop for you but unfortunately your finicky feet just preclude it. Stupid feet. What would be awesome is if she would buy you some (books/ stationary/ paperweights.)

(it is important that she not keep doing this thing with shoes, you dig?)
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:50 PM on September 21, 2019

I agree with those that suggest a gentler version of the truth. That you love the shoes - they look awesome, but they hurt when you wear them. And since they cost $$$, it might be better to exchange them for something better fitting than for the boots to just sit in your closet rarely worn. This would require you to put on the boots at least once for a decent amount of time in a situation that wouldn't cause significant wear on them, so you could still return them.

Out of curiousity (and perhaps to help other answerers), why did your wife think you would like these boots? Perhaps, in preparation for future non-battles, you could also lay the groundwork for your real preferences in your response.
posted by bluefly at 6:51 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

FWIW, As one of the proponents of the 'if you can't be honest, pretend they hurt' approach, I think if you go that way, then a few weeks from now you can reopen the conversation by apologetically admitting that you didn't like the look of them, and that you were really grateful they hurt because you didn't know how to tell her when she had put so much effort into the gift.

That gives you a way to have the honest conversation about how to keep this from happening again and/or how to talk with her about it if it does, in a way that lowers the emotional stakes.
posted by Mchelly at 7:01 AM on September 23, 2019

So what did you do, if you don't mind sharing...? :)
posted by slidell at 9:28 PM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

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