No Glass Slippers For My Cinderella

CINDERELLA ZQ front cover

I’m having fun writing Cinderella, Zombie Queen, stealing elements from both the French version of Cinderella (by Charles Perrault) and the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella.

From the Brothers Grimm version, I’ve taken the idea of Cinderella attending three Balls, and the wicked stepsisters getting some unpleasant surprises at the end.

I’ve drafted the first two Balls, and am now starting on drafting the third Ball. Just like in the Brothers Grimm tale, the first two Balls are sweet and nice, and the third Ball is When Things Happen. (Spoiler hint: My novel has zombies in it.)

Anyway, in the course of researching women’s fashion, circa 1786, I came across something interesting: The definition of slipper (as in glass slipper) has changed.

The definition of slipper nowadays means a foot-covering with a sole, but meant to be worn only indoors. Examples: silk slippers, bunny slippers, house slippers.

Oftentimes, slippers come with nothing enclosing the back of the foot—after all, this is what makes them easy to slip on.

In the modern usage of the term, slippers have no elevated heel—if they do, then they’re called mules. But in olden days, what we call mules, they called slippers; and the “glass slippers” of the Cinderella fairy tale are actually meant to be high-heeled glass shoes with no back—mules, in other words.

Now, I can’t think of anything more stupid for a woman to be dancing in than footwear that bends her foot down at an unnatural angle for hours, and allows her heel to slide left and right. I don’t want my (Cinder-)Ella to break her ankle while she’s dancing, so I have exchanged her glass mules for (enclosed-heel) glass shoes.

“Safety first.” Sure, the glass in Ella’s shoes might break and cut up her feet in a hundred places, and so she might be lame for a month, but at least she won’t have to worry about breaking her ankles.

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2 thoughts on “No Glass Slippers For My Cinderella

    • Country dances are faster and more energetic. The waltz came from an Austrian country dance. So the muckety-mucks in the eighteenth century were dancing slow and stately; while the folks who got their hands dirty, cut loose on Saturday night.

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