First of all, some background. Last fall we took up our tile and carpeting, exposing one hundred year-old floors which were then sanded and refinished at quite a cost. The only time I would ask anyone to take off their shoes would be if the shoes being worn were stiletto type heels. Or maybe if someone came in with mud all over their shoes but I have rugs for that. Or maybe if they were going to be walking on white carpet but if I were foolish to have white carpet on my floors, that’s my problem.
I guess by now you know I don’t particularly like being asked to take off my shoes. Martha Stewart thinks it’s perfectly o.k. as long as you provide some slippers for your guests to wear. Of course, she’s fairly anal about such things.
Here’s how I look at it. First of all, shoes make the outfit, do they not? Asking someone to take off their shoes completely messes up the ensemb’, does it not? Bit seriously, it’s a floor. Do you eat off the floor? Do you have pets? Are your pets allowed to walk on your floors or do you wipe off their paws every time they come in? I guess I just don’t get it. Now if I’m in another country where this is considered the norm, I would get it. But where did this start in America? Have we gotten so concerned with our floors, we have to make guests feel like they’re intruding?
Should there also be a sign in the bathroom that says if you use the toilet, you’ll have to clean it? What about if you use a plate, you have to wash it?
I have one friend that suggests people take off their shoes in her home. We’re good enough friends that I was able to tell her that I wouldn’t be complying. I’ve had four foot surgeries. I’m never supposed to go without my shoes. I told her this and she has no problem with me keeping my shoes on. I’ve noticed though she allows dogs in her home and I’ve yet to see her wipe off their paws.
Now I know some of you probably do ask your guests to take off their shoes. It’s your house; you can do what you want. But rest assured, if you come to visit me, you won’t be asked to take off your shoes.