I’ve taken some abuse for my position about removing shoes prior to entering a home. Criticism. Castigation. Metaphorical crucifixion, even.
If you’re not familiar, my position is this:
I readily remove my shoes without complaint when asked by the owner of a home, but I think the rule is stupid and rude. I would never say as much unless asked directly. When asked my opinion, however, I will always answer honestly.
In contrast to my angry detractors, I’ve also received quite a bit of support for my position, by at least a three to one margin.
Most people who responded to my post on the subject agree with me, but those messages of support tend to be shorter and less emotionally charged than those who disagree.
This is unfortunately the nature of the world.
Recently, two people forwarded me similar pieces on the subject.
The Quick and Dirty Network’s podcast host, Mr. Manners, essentially feels the same way I do about the request to remove one’s shoes. While he doesn’t find the practice as annoying as I do and believes that guests should adhere to the host’s request, he adds:
“If you are going to have people over at your house, and you plan on requesting that people remove their shoes when entering, you have to first understand it will make some people uncomfortable.”
Exactly. I’ll comply with your request and will smile while doing so, but inside, I will be annoyed. Others will feel the same. Simply acknowledge this. Accept the fact that your request, when made in the United States, is not common or expected.
There’s nothing wrong with being different, as long as you don’t try to pretend that you’re not.
In a post on Rage Against the Minivan, writer Jessica Gotlieb is quoted as saying:
“I’m disgusted when people want me to take my shoes off in their home. OK, I get it for upstairs areas or bedrooms or even if you're Japanese. But if you're my American friend who just wants a clean floor, forget about it. It's a power play and no, you don't get to undress me. My shoes are there to keep me comfortable, cute and free of your foot fungus."
The writer of the post expresses a similar sentiment:
I get that some people have germ issues, but it’s still rattling when requested of me as I walk into someone else’s house. Honestly? I have dry, old-lady feet and cracked heels. Sometimes I’ve chosen random socks to go under my boots because I didn’t think they’ve been seen. Sometimes I’m between pedicures. Sometimes my heels are dirty from chasing a kid around the block in my bare feet. My feet aren’t always “show-ready.” While other people find it to me more clean, I think walking around someone’s house in my bare feet is kinda gross.
I cite these articles as a means of demonstrating that I’m not the intolerant, angry lunatic that some people believed me to be when I expressed similar feelings.
At least I’m not the only intolerant, angry lunatic.
I’m more than willing to remove my shoes when requested. I’m more than willing to keep my opinions to myself. Just because I think your rule is rude and stupid doesn’t mean that I think you are rude and stupid.
It’s okay. We simply disagree on a footwear issue. It’s not the end of the world.
What annoys me most, however, is the person who thinks that asking guests to remove their shoes is normal, commonplace and even expected.
It’s none of these things.
Accept your outlier status. Embrace it. I’m forced to do so all the time.