Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shoeless households

Increasingly, when I enter someone's home, I’m shoehorned into a foyer lined with shoes and instructed to add mine to the pile.

Um, I came for a party, not for a pedicure.

I get that folks don’t want their hardwoods scratched and scuffed by my stilettos. I understand that paranoid parents are afraid of the germs that I’m tracking in on the soles of my shoes.

Call me a heel, but I don’t want to walk around in my socks or bare feet. My shoes deserve to be seen as God and Manolo Blahnik intended: on my foot. And without the boost of the heel I am never without, my jeans sweep the floor. From my POV, this has only one bright side: My friends’ floors never need to be mopped. My pant legs and socks do it for them.

If people keep demanding that I kick off rather than kick up my heels, I am going to kick them in the face—right after I shuffle around their house with 80-grade sandpaper taped to my feet.

(photo: flickr.com/photos/26714560@N00/84600731/)


36 comments:

Chickens in the Basement said...

That will show them! And you won't need a pedicure after wearing 80 grade either! All of those crusty heel bits will be left on the floor, too!

It's even worse when you have on boots and can't gracefully kick them off! Poor Santa!

Merry Christmas!
Anna

Jennifer Worick said...

Not to mention that I could have a hold in my sock!

Esteemarlu said...

Man,I hate that.As soon as you walk into my friends house you can see the row of shoes and she has carpet. But guess what I won't take mine off unless she tells me and she hasn't yet.I have wood floors and I'd rather have dust or scratches then people's feet crust.

Yet Another Steve said...

Hey, this could go somewhere. I think I'll declare my own apartment an Officially Pants-Off venue. "Oh, I'm sorry, we don't wear pants indoors here, please, leave yours on one of these pegs here by the door."

Patty Chang Anker said...

LOL - Being brought up in a Chinese household, I have an urge to remove my shoes upon entering any room - and often do! In our own home, we offer our guests a selection of comfy and chic Chinese slippers to wear in the house. And if anyone displays clear discomfort with the idea, we give them a pass, because we wouldn't want them to "lose face" (feel embarrassed). So if you ever visit me (or anyone from Asia), please don't punch us in the face. That would hurt. Ouch!

Rosemary UK said...

I Have a few friends with this policy,I just ignore it and usually that works.Being not in my first youth,my feet are not very beautiful when bare in summer,and I have no wish to hole or ladder tights stockings or socks.If they make a fuss I take my slippers with me the next time,if there is a next time !!!!! that is.

Lily said...

Found your blog by an incredibly random infomercial and the title made me laugh, so I come here, and I AGREE SO MUCH. I don't even know why, but being immediately told to un-shoe always kinda rubs me the wrong way.

Wilma NC said...

Always have some socks handy, then put them on and slide all over the place. Even do the Risky Business song, lol. I did this at my son's new home a few weeks ago. It was fun.

Jewels Diva said...

If people don't want their bloody hardwood floors scratched then don't bloody have them.

Why the hell would anyone want to walk around in bare feet, God knows what germs you can pick up from other people.

UGH!!!!!

the b in subtle said...

yes. finally someone says it for me. i hate this. i don't even wear shoes that will scratch surfaces so i absolutely refuse to take mine off. here's a new idea - try actually washing your floors after you have a party. sorry to put you to that bother but you're having a party. let people party with some dignity. i don't want to hang around a house smelling people's feet. it distracts me from getting to know them properly. it, in fact, can sometimes make me not want to know them. HA!

RichSeattle said...

I will remember to step in dog poop before I visit your house....

But don't worry, if you are so insecure that your height is an issue, I wouldn't be friends with you anyway.

As far as I am concerned, anyone with the issues you state in this article doesn't have to worry about going to peoples house and having to take off your shoes, you wouldn't be invited in the first place.

Jennifer Worick said...

The debate rages on: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34371147/ns/health-behavior/

And I'm not insecure about my height. I just don't like my pant legs dragging on the floor. Different pants require different heel heights and I usually wear a heel so I hem pants to that length.

RichSeattle said...

Funny Jen,

I wear the same pants no matter what shoes I have on. But then again I don't wear heels, which are designed to make you appear taller....

Maybe I should take you shopping and find you pants that actually fit. But then you might have to take your shoes off to try them on and I wouldn't want you to have to do that.

Just take your shoes off and get over it. You were born without them, you don't need them; let go your security blanket, its OK....

Yet Another Steve said...

I wear the same pants no matter what shoes I have on, too. The jeans are fine with my usual motorcycle boots, but when I wear running shoes 'n such the back edge of the cuff gets all chewed up from being stepped on. However, I'm a guy and I DON'T CARE what my clothes look like. I sense that Jennifer, like most women, takes some pains with her appearance, which is certainly more laudable than being a slob like me.

listedmal said...

This is the first post I disagree with...sorry about your foot crust and shortness, I don't have these problems and expect you to take your shoes off anyway. I also don't have many guests, maybe this is connected....hmmm.

Angie said...

Jennifer, congrats on the msnbc mention. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Rest assured it's Rich I'd leave off my party list, not you. You're a hoot.

Kelly said...

What it really boils down to is, "My house, my rules." Be it the remove your shoes people, or the use a coaster people, whatever, it's their home, not yours. You know good and well when it's their preference that you remove your shoes, so don't be a jerk and just march in with them on. I have actually had a friend threaten to stop coming over if I made her take off her big clunky boots, which is just an excessive response to a simple request. But I called her bluff and she stayed in the foyer.

Oh and you wouldn't have bunions and corns if you didn't wear such high, cramped shoes :) Take some time and love your feet.

Fanboy Wife said...

Maybe this is a regional thing, but I grew up in the Midwest and we never wear shoes indoors. In the winter (i.e. October-April), the roads and sidewalks are covered with sand, salt, snow, ice, and sludge, and no amount of wiping feet on the rug or stomping outside is going to remove all of that.

Titanium said...

Welll... if it be double-plastic mountaineering boots I be wearing, I'd shoehorn them off pronto for a good Armagnac and a seat by the fire with a friend.

I'm missing toenails on both feet from a climbing mishap this summer... and going shoeless hurts (I'm clumsy, I stub my toes on every dang thing). So... guess what? I bring a second (clean) pair of shoes and change at the door.

Problem solved. There's almost always a 'middle' way.

thesims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thesims said...

Check out www.neatfeetbooties.com. It's a great alternative to dragging dirt and bacteria into peoples homes and you can still wear you shoes. They even sell clear booties so you can show off those hot Manolos!!!!

BobH said...

Having a bunch of "guest slippers" at the door -- like those disgusting rental shoes at the bowling alley -- is not a solution.

Billy said...

This must be an American thing. I've never heard of this in Australia.

Do you have to take off socks as well? What about those yukky sticky things people drop on the floor during a party? Barefoot in some overused, splashed around toilet?

Bugger off, mate.
Nancy Sinatra had it right - 'These boots are gonna walk all over you.'

a.e. said...

You know, I think it is polite to remove your shoes because they are usually pretty dirty. And in the midwest it is very common to do so. Also your attachment to your high heels is a bit perplexing--why do you even wear them in the first place? They're kind of sexist and limiting--a modern form of footbinding, some might say.
Moving on--if I were going to write a post about things I want to punch in the face it would be about unexamined internalized sexism. But here's another idea--don't you hate the term "foodie" and when pretentious people use that term to justify why they're so picky about where they eat? Hate it.

RedSalamander said...

I seldom wear shoes in my house, but my guests can do whatever they want. Because they are GUESTS.

The exception are my kids' guests -- they have to take their shoes off because kids a) are more prone to have gross crud on their shoes, and b) often forget to wipe them on the doormat, and c) are liable to put their feet on the furniture.

I especially would not ask guests at a dinner party to remove their shoes -- if they are wearing nice clothes, chances are they have selected shoes that complement their outfits and I think it would be rude to insist they take off their pretty heels and put on frumpy old bunny slippers. But, you see, when I have a party, I understand that there WILL be a certain amount of cleanup required afterwards, and there are things called "mops" and "vacuums" that can be used to remove shoe crud off of floors.

I do concede that it is overall cleaner to not wear shoes indoors (I live in New England, where it is snowing/raining/muddy for about 9 months out of the year); but I don't worry overmuch if someone does wear shoes in my house. I highly doubt we will contract the plague or anything from a little tracked in dirt. Plus, we are not in the habit of eating off of or licking our floors.

S said...

I'm Indian, and I don't know any Indians who wear shoes in the house. Like Patty Chang Anker (her comment is above), it's a habit for me to always take my shoes off when I enter anyone's house. (Though recently I got cat hair all over my socks when I did that, so maybe I should start asking.) Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have to take off our shoes before entering the temple as well?

Anyway, shoes are dirty. I don't want crap all over my floor.

Celestial Fundy said...

I am sorry you feel this way, but thanks for bringing uo this subject.

I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

Jason Kay said...

I Totally agree! Clean your floors you lazy fucks! If you're so concerned about your floor why do you have people over to begin with? What's next? Remove our clothes? Take a decon shower? Quit burdening your quests with this de-shoeing hassle and get treatment for your OCD.

Not all who wander are lost. said...

People who are that concerned about keeping their floors clean should use those sticky mats (http://www.stickystep.com/)that are used in clean rooms in biotech and medical fields. I agree with Jason - what's next - scrub before you touch anything? Besides how do you know my socks and feet are clean?

CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla said...

One word: Hookworm

Julia said...

We don't wear shoes in the house because my kids (and husband too for that matter) have a knack for stepping in anything and everything disgusting while they are outside. Cleaning the floors and carpet would be a full-time job if they didn't leave 'em at the door.

For the same reason, I make the kids' friends take off their shoes too. They don't care and most of them have the same policy at home.

Adults are a different matter. I would NEVER ask an adult to remove their shoes in my house. Most of the people I know would automatically take off their shoes if they were wet, sludgy, muddy, snowy, etc. That's just being courteous.

As for the people who stand in the foyer arguing with the hostess -- GET OVER YOURSELF! Just go with the flow for crying out loud. Take off your freaking shoes, roll up your jeans and enjoy the party already.

Lisa said...

In Hawaii it is considered very rude to leave your shoes on when entering someone's home.

I don't clean the house so I depend on guests to do my sweeping with their socks!

Camille said...

Ummm, yeah, we take our shoes off in our house and it pisses me off if people don't ask me if they should dis-shoe. In the summer, it's not such a big deal but come winter, I really don't want your wet, muddy shoes that you just stepped in dog shit on my floors. Why should I have to sweep AND mop right after you come tromping through my house with your street-crusty shoes. Besides, it's the only part of my Japanese heritage that I hang onto. So, yeah, take 'em off or at least ask me.

Jennifer Worick said...

Camille, I never mind taking my shoes off at your place, because it feels like a home away from home and your hardwoods are so nice!

JudyL said...

We never wear shoes in our home and expect others to take their shoes off at the door. I'd much rather someone leave than wear shoes inside my house. It isn't about scratching the floor but people walk through oily mess on concrete and where others spit and do no telling what and I don't want that residue on my carpet! To me, it's a matter of respecting someone's home and someone's requests when in their home.

JonJon14 said...

As someone from a country where shoe-less households are the norm, I find it surprising that people in the west are not about to rationalize going shoe-less within the house. It has little to do with the scratching of flooring. It has to do with carrying of the grime and dirt of the outdoors into the house.

Especially when most houses are carpeted, it should all the more become clear as to why shoes should be removed. Anyone who has any kind of a brain can understand that there is a lot of mud, dirt and bacteria on the streets, stuff that I would rather not have on my bed and carpet. Moreover in the winters you have snow, salt and sludge.

And lastly, the least that you could do as a guest is abide by the rules of the house. Not wanting crap on my carpet isn't asking much.