Francesca appeared in the BBC children's series Grange Hill for five years, but is now an award-winning stand-up comic who has performed at the Edinburgh, Melbourne and Montreal festivals, as well as on Broadway in New York.
I Love High Heels
31st December 1999
• Waitressing ("Would you like your food on your face or in your lap?").
• Plucking eyebrows (I'm not into facial piercings).
• Tight-rope walking (or just - walking).
• Heroin addiction (I can't thread a needle, let alone stick one in a vein).
• Bomb-disposal expert (talk about trying anything once).
But there is one limitation I just can't get my head around ...
What is it about high heels that makes them so appealing? Easy. You're saying, "Look everyone, I'm so feminine I only need a pair of toothpicks to hold me up." My well-worn Caterpillar boots came with a leaflet which proudly stated that they were suitable for, "Any weather. Any terrain. Any climbing". I've tested out rain and mud, but I think they are otherwise over-qualified for my feet. I really should have grown to love the whole 'flat-shoe thing' by now. I mean, my CP just isn't partial to tottering around on a pair of one square centimetre skyscrapers.
On the plus side - I am 5'8", which means that I don't actually need the extra height. But how often does anyone need a pair of sexy shoes? For me, it's about having (or not having) the option to buy a shoe. Don't get me wrong - there are some lovely ballet-shoe styles out there, but I would like to own them out of choice not necessity.
You are probably thinking that I have spent far too much time pondering this particular footwear issue, and I am inclined to agree with you. Alas, that time has already been wasted, so I might as well share with you my proposed solution to this fashion dilemma.
• The Problem: Francesca wants to wear high heels. Her balance says "NO!"
• The Aim: To attain a pair of high heels that look good and that Francesca can walk in.
• The Conclusion: The shoes will be designed to have a special retractable heel. This unique mechanism will allow the shoe to be flat when walking but (here's the science part) when Francesca is seated or stationary, a heel will come shooting out and click into place. Once on the move again, the heel will retract and - voila! - balance will be restored, the world saved and peace ... all right, it's not rocket science, but I'm sure my Year 7 science teacher would be proud.
So, I had the answer. Now all I had to do was to wait for the right time ...
"Oh easy," I said. "A pair of retractable high heels."
The next day, The Independent printed my request and, lo and behold, a day later my agency received a call. It was from a company who had read the piece, offering to design me a pair! I couldn't believe it! I assured my agent that it hadn't been a joke, and that he should take them up on their kind offer. And here I am, waiting to see what the first ever pair of retractable heels will look like. Mind you, I can't help wondering what would have happened if they had printed the 'man in a kilt' birthday wish ...
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