Q.We always take our shoes off when entering anybody’s house. We expect the same of family and guests. If we know people are coming, we inform them by phone to bring their slippers — very nicely, of course. What if somebody unexpected turns up? What do you advise?
Philip Howard: It is your house. And you are entitled to set house rules. But it is the prime function of the hosts to make their guests feel at ease. I do not think that asking an unexpected guest to remove his or her footwear as he or she arrives (however politely) performs this function. This is an occasion to welcome your guest warmly, and put your customary rules on ice, and your fastidiousness in the cupboard. The golden rule of Etiket is to think of others before yourself and your carpet.
Modern Times November 22, Times newspaper