These boots were made for foot protection, grip and ankle support. And also walking.Seriously, what would it be like to have tiny hooves?I was born on Guy Fawkes Day, 1976 without small-ass feet.I have survived, so far, and I lead a relatively normal life.But there’s no getting around the fact that feet, and their relative size, are a defining characteristic when it comes to being a man. Along with muscles, crying when the Seahawks lose and a certain shyness regarding commitment. As an otherwise-apparent man almost completely burdened with huge clodhoppers, I’ve often felt that I’m missing an essential part of the “manly experience.” What would change if my feet were smaller? How much more of a man would I be? Would I finally develop a passion for musicals, very long telephone conversations, and using the word “passion”?More crucially, how much uninvited public fondling would I miss out on? For example, my posture while sitting is atrocious; slouched back, arms dangling, legs sprawled out, accentuating my size 13 feet. I still keep in touch with my inner-high schooler and frequently wear army boots – the ubiquitous “Leather Personnel Carrier” – polished to a shine, erect like miniature Columbia Centers.I’ve never received the classic greeting in which a woman ogles my feet, delivers a San Fernando Valley pickup line and invites me to see her Tupperware collection. But I have had more than one game of pool interrupted by would-be Delilahs asking pointed questions about my footwear.Nor did I go unnoticed in my Women’s History class at the U-Dub. Being the only male not light in the loafers made one the subject of undue attention from fellow classmates who were solicitous about my sleeping arrangements that evening. As the old German proverb says, “Better badly mounted than proud on foot.”I got a B minus that quarter.So let’s imagine having magically grown a set of tiny, delicate feet. Fine arches and petite toes that are not too large; the kind that allowed Fred Astaire to sweep Ginger Rogers off her… well… you know. My fictional tootsies would not kick people under the table, would not knock over end tables nor would they get pinkie toes stubbed by those god-awful door stops poking up out of the floor when you walk down the hallway.The average man’s shoe size in the United States is 10.5. With my feet, that means almost two extra pounds of weight on the end of each leg. At 7,100 steps a day, this is the equivalent of lifting a full-grown male elephant seal. Ridden by Gabriel Iglesias.Which feels kind of odd when you think about it.Let us contemplate appearance where the foot is concerned. There is a certain amount of proportion when it comes to a man’s height. It doesn’t matter what the design is, if your feet are too long, you’re going to look like Ronald McDonald from the knee down. Since my given name is “Donald”, you can imagine what the kids called me on the playground.And forget lucking out on your size when there’s a shoe sale. They only stock one pair of suede Pumas at Big 5. And buster, you better be there in time to grab it before some other lummox does! If I had small feet, it wouldn’t matter. There’s always four boxes of size 9 on hand. Or if not, you can get one size bigger and wear thicker socks. There’s room to grow into them as my grandmother would say.Fortunately my feet aren’t big enough to fall outside of the range of most commercially available footwear. You’ll read the occasional story of a poor inner-city kid in a size 20 who is given some used basketball shoes by an NBA player. More often the answer means shopping at the Big, Fat and Stupid store to get a custom fitting.I’ve considered it, to be honest. Paying someone to shrink my feet. But because of their complex mechanical structure containing exactly 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments, modern medical science has not kept up with the demand for pedial reduction surgery.Mores the pity, since the Chinese bound the feet of girls in infancy to attract husbands. And, of course, there’s also the story Cinderella and her glass slipper. But reverse the gender roles and we find a coarse vulgarization of the lower anatomical appendages of men. We’ve all heard the joke, “You know what they say about a guy with big feet?” It objectifies the male and forces him to live up to unrealistic social mores.At the same time, men are mocked in their teens as clumsy and awkward during puberty for tripping over their own feet. It’s no surprise that the local Salish legend of Sasquatch describes “Bigfoot” as a horrible, foul-smelling beast.And so, in conclusion, imagining having small-ass feet would be cool and fun. However, I don’t think I’ll mourn it too much. Partially, it’s because I’ve come to accept the attention they garner while enjoying the stability they provide to my 6’2″ frame. But mostly it’s a silly topic. And no credible newspaper would feature something like this as its cover story.* Really.