Shoe-Free Homes Freak Me Out

If you're going to force me to remove my shoes when I come over, there are a few things I want in return.
Publish date:
December 14, 2011
parties, shoes, please don't make me take my shoes off, shoe etiquette, shoe-free homes

Last year, I went to an old friend’s Christmas party. I wore a diaphanous white dress, gold heels and my mother’s mink jacket from the 70s. I obviously expected to leave my (super chic, super soft, it’s totally okay because it’s vintage) jacket at the door, but when the hostess told me I’d also have to ditch my shoes, I took pause.

This chick wants me to take off my shoes and walk around her house barefoot in the company of forty strangers? Seriously?

I would have worn a completely different outfit had I known. You know, one that included SOCKS.

A few days later, I popped by an acquaintance’s house party with friends. I walked up the entrance stairs of the Victorian house and immediately saw the rows of shoes lined up against the wall.

“Ummmmm…Is this a no-shoe house?” I asked as my friends answered the question by removing their TOMS. (Does everyone EVERWHERE wear TOMS all of the time or is this only in San Francisco?)

“Yeah,” my friend replied. “He’s super strict about it.” And then she plodded towards the kitchen where everyone was congregated. BAREFOOT.

“Ohhhhhh,” I said. “Okay.” I looked down at my feet protected by only a pair of satin ballet flats. “I’ll be right there.”

And then, as my friends made their way towards the group, I did a quick pirouette and skipped down the stairs. Sure, I like a party. But I like not having ringworm even more.

Unfortunately for my feet, I could tell stories like this for days. Times I had to leave my suede over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman boots in the shadows of a dark corner; parties where I roamed barefoot, cracker crumbs nesting between my toes; wine dates where my metallic heels were quickly shoved in a closet, but the dog was allowed to hop from couch to couch.

And no, thank God, my shoes have never been stolen a la Carrie in “Sex & the City.” Of course, that’s probably only because I’m too cheap to throw down $485 for a pair of Manolos. Oh, and because my friend aren’t thieves. (Because there’s nothing good to steal MOST LIKELY.)

But here’s the thing People Who Make Me Take My Shoes Off at Their House:

You want clean floors and carpets?

I want not to ever EVER have to drag the sole of my foot and the tips of my toes across your kitchen tile. Don’t even get me started on that rug in your bathroom.

I don’t care how clean you are. I am one of the cleanest people I know and I promise you, if I have a party, there’s stuff on the floor that I don’t want to step in. WHICH IS WHY I WEAR SHOES AT MY PARTIES.

Well that and because shoes are basically the final touch of ANY outfit EVER.

But I get it. It’s not about me. (This is what I’m learning in therapy and ew, I really have to spend $200/hour to be told the worst news ever?) So, People Who Don’t Allow Shoes in Their Home, I am willing to compromise.

I will take my shoes off and abandon them, lonely and friendless, in your foyer, but here’s what I want from you in exchange:

1. If you have a “shoe-free” home, I want warning. Whether you’re inviting me over for coffee drinks or for a surprise birthday party you’re throwing for me, I want advanced notice that when I step into your house, you’re going to require me to remove my flipflops/sandals/flats/heels/boots/whatever. (I know, I know. I just judged all of those people who wear TOMS and then admitted that I cruise around in Reef flipflops half of the year. I’m such a hypocrite and my flipflops don’t even get homeless kids a new pony.)

The reasons I ask for this “no shoe” disclosure are simple.

A. If I know I have to take my shoes off, I can make the decision about whether I want to go to your home at all. Honestly, if you’re having a party and you’re not one of my very best friends, I’m probably going to stay at home with a bottle of wine, an US Weekly, and my boot collection. You won’t even miss me and, frankly, more wine for everyone else!

B. If I do decide to come over, I can plan accordingly. And by “plan accordingly,” I mean “wear socks.” Nice socks. Socks with no holes. Thick socks that will act as an almost-shoe. Because, no, even tights will not do in this situation. I will still be able to feel the remnants of your breakfast toast as I skulk across your breakfast nook.

C. I can plan my outfit accordingly. The other day I got stuck removing my boots when I was wearing leggings and a long sweater. The leggings and sweater alone were hideous. It was the boots that really brought them all together. You can think that I’m shallow, but you totally know what I’m talking about.

D. Basically: I just don’t EVER want to get stuck roaming someone’s home barefoot. I’m not a weird germaphobe, but I just feel like there are things in your home that shouldn’t end up in my home because they attached themselves to my heel. Those things include, but are not limited to: animal hair, human hair, lint, food particles, urine, and bacteria from feces.

2. But again, I understand you may have a reason you don’t want shoes in your house (delicate carpets or hardwood floors; you ARE a germaphobe; control freak; whatever), so here’s the other thing I want from you in exchange for a surrender of my footwear:

A pair of mother fucking slippers.

That’s right. You want me to take my shoes off? Then give me another pair to wear. They don’t have to be fancy (well, yes they do), they just have to be clean, comfortable and my size-ish. Honestly, I think it’s only fair. You think my fancy foot-wombs aren’t clean enough? Fine. Just give me something to swaddle those puppies in for the duration of my stay.

And no, flip-flops won’t do. Brrrrrrr!

So, for those of you who live in a Shoe-Free Sanctuary, please do all of us a favor this holiday season and include that small, but important fact on your party invitations. It’s the only way to get off on the right foot for the New Year. (Sorry. I’m really toeing the line there. Ugh. Being a real heel here. My apologies: try to take it all in stride. And… I’m done!)

What are your rules for shoes in the house? Do you think I’m totally overreacting?

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