This must be what it was like to peek out of a foxhole during World War Two. You don't see any more shelling. You don't hear any more shelling. But you're wary just the same.

Wary? Heck, I'm ready for a Purple Heart.

All I did was write that Washington's dressed-for-success women look a leeeeeetle bit ridiculous when they wear jogging shoes with their designer outfits. I also quoted a reader (male, natch) who said sneaker-clad women offend him because their calves look unattractively large.

Ever since, I've been ducking mortars. Like this:

"I've heard of putting your foot in your mouth, but you've gone and put a woman's Nike in yours . . . .Should I ever choose to wear track shoes to and from work, the last thing I will be concerned with is a male chauvinist who may think my calves are too large!" -- Barbara Ackerman of Silver Spring.

And this ironic blast:

"I love the look of a well-muscled thigh and cute little tush (male). How about if all the men in D.C. spend their commuting time . . . .in short, snug jogging shorts? That would certainly brighten my rush hour." -- Jane R. Baldinger of Falls Church.

And this billet doux:

"If my commuting shoes make me less a woman in your reader's eyes, then he's not much of a man . . . .Whatever comments you get on this column, you deserve them." -- Karen L. Petronis of Northeast.

And this near-mortal wound:

"Geez, Bob! I thought you were a progressive sort of guy. You and Jim Gray my "unsightly calves" correspondent must be among those dressed-for-success men who wear their suit jackets in 90-degree weather!" -- Mary Van Engelen of Arlington.

And for dessert, this, from an attorney:

"In one day, I might walk a few blocks to a law library (and cover lots of ground inside the library looking for books), walk a few blocks at lunch and then walk another few blocks to the Metro to go to court . . . .After such torture, I couldn't care less how . . . .my calves look." -- Mary Wilson of Mount Pleasant.

Okay, ladies. White flag time. My hands are above my head, palms open. I'll give you my name, rank and serial number, but the Geneva Accords say I don't have to disclose anything further.

However, I must add this: my unwavering sympathy for anyone who ever wears high heels, ever has, or ever will. I don't know how anyone does it. They must be torture.

They can also torture a budget. Sandra Jean Shepard, a legal secretary who works downtown, says she walks just eight blocks a day, yet "cannot go a week without wearing the heel down to the nail." Donna Oaks of Bowie adds that she has been working in downtown Washington for seven months. In that period of time, she has ruined seven pairs of high heels.

I still say the solution is for manufacturers to invent a stylish woman's shoe that isn't a sneaker and isn't a pump. Until then, ladies, it's getting cold in this here foxhole. Can I come out now?