Sunday, January 11, 2015

Calgary Herald: Ask Rita: Plenty of reasons to remove your shoes

Calgary Herald: Ask Rita: Plenty of reasons to remove your shoes


Q: I’m having a party and hate asking people to remove their shoes. Is there something I could offer at the front door to clean people’s shoes off with?

A: A professional shoe shiner? Now that would be a memorable party. Seriously? I guess a bottle of Lysol and some paper towels would do the trick. Or, you could buy those polypropylene shoe covers that furniture delivery people sometimes wear — Home Depot sells a package of 3 for $4.47 — but you may as well just make people take off their shoes and give them slippers or socks. Better, you could purchase multiple pairs of Slipper Genies — Walmart.ca has them for $6.97 a pair — and have your guests dust and polish your floors while they sip their cocktails!

I used to be one of those people who scoffed at having to remove one’s shoes at the door; in a column a few years back I railed against the shoes-off Nazis who clearly didn’t understand how the right footwear can make or break one’s outfit. I have since had a complete change of heart — yes, it’s been known to happen — and now believe it is always good manners to remove one’s shoes when indoors. There’s actually a guy in the U.K. named Celestial Fundy — I suspect it’s a pseudonym — who has a blog entirely devoted to the subject called, what else, Shoes Off At The Door Please.

On it, he lists 37 reasons why one should, among them: #11 Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement; and #23 An Asian, Scandinavian, or East European visitor will feel more at home. Indeed, this past summer a friend came by with a visitor from Japan and her two children, and I could tell it made the visitors very uncomfortable when I told them to leave their shoes on. I hadn’t washed and floor and didn’t want their socks to get dirty! This take your shoes off thing means you have to keep a clean house. Which is far easier when people aren’t tracking dirt in on their shoes! It also means that when invited to someone’s home, guests need to plan their outfits accordingly, practise good foot hygiene — a pedicure helps — and not have any holes in the socks. Or bring slippers. Fancy slippers to wear at house parties could become all the rage.

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