Q. Visiting friends of my son’s, whom I’d not met before, in hot weather and wearing no socks or tights, I was dismayed to be asked to remove my shoes. My feet get me about more than adequately, but they are hideous: gnarled, humpy and bumpy, and nobody gets to see them; I choose sandals carefully to cover them. Acquiescing politely, I spent the visit uncomfortably, with my legs curled “cutely” under me in an armchair, aware of the perfect feet of the rest. Approaching 70 at the time, what should I have done? Other than moan at my son afterwards?
A. You handled a slippery situation with dignity and decorum. It was impertinent of your hosts to insist on you taking your shoes off without at least providing slippers. Do not be ashamed of your feet. All feet are absurd appendages if you examine them with a cold eye. I should not have moaned to my son afterwards. That was making a mountain out of a toe-hill.
What jumps out at me here is that this is a person in their late sixties. I would probably not ask a person in their sixties to remove their shoes.
I will be boring and mention again that hosts should try to let guests know in advance about removing shoes. However, in my opinion, it is not the end of the world if you forget or they turn up unexpected. In most cases, people will not be bothered.
I do object to Phillip Howard's comment:
Do not be ashamed of your feet. All feet are absurd appendages if you examine them with a cold eye.
Feet are not absurd! What are they supposed to look like? Pig's trotters?