In nature, form and function always relate. Roses are not beautiful for aesthetic purposes, they are beautiful to attract pollinators. I wear leopard print, but it is probably because I think I am cooler than I actually am. Leopards wear leopard print to survive, without any regard to their own personal fashion sense. Golden lion tamarins are not into bling, their color comes from the large amount of carotenoids in their diet. Form and function, they work together.

In my 30ish (no need to admit my real age) years of life, I have always felt young. Most of the time I feel like I am faking being a grown up. I always thought having enough kids to necessitate a seven passenger car would make me a grown up, but not really.

However, at this very moment, I feel old. I do not feel grown up, or mature or sophisticated - just old. And I am blaming a violation of the fundamental law of form and function in nature for making me feel old. What is this travesty that violates nature and makes me feel this way? Womenís shoes!

Womenís shoes violate the fundamental natural law of form and function. I have always been a form kind of girl. I could handle blistered heels and pinched toes for the sake of form. I could stand for hours in super tall heels, because sometimes towering over my students was effective. With the exception of a rare foray into exercise, I never worried about function. Until last week, when my body revolted and suddenly I needed some comfortable shoes.

Shoe shopping has always been fun, thereís no need to worry about how my backside looks in a pair of shoes, or if my feet look fat. I can proudly say my shoe size (unlike my jeans size) to a sales clerk. Shoe shopping was fun, until I needed a shoe that follows the laws of nature. This shoe apparently does not exist.

My mother has informed me that this is a rite of passage for all women. There is a point in the lives of all women when we must accept mom jeans and Dr. Schollís. And so I find myself at a crossroads, do I tough it out and wear shoes designed for form or do I relent and buy shoes designed for function?

For now, I guess I will hobble around in shoes that hurt or deny whatís left of my fashion dignity and wear ugly shoes, and mope about feeling old. I have to admit, every time I put on a pair of shoes, I feel pangs of jealousy towards the tiger, the cheetah and so many other amazing animals that get to wear such beautiful functional attire.

Jennifer†Miller is a local resident, wife, mother and Biology professor. She can be reached at