to shoe or not to shoe?

The other day Brent and I were driving to his parents for the umpteenth time that week [I'm not complaining, I promise], and we had the radio on. The d.j. asked a simple question and it made me laugh because it is something I think all of us face all the time:

Do you take your shoes off when you enter someone's home, or leave them on? 

At first glance it may seem like a simple question. And maybe I'm strange. Either way, please tell me that you too have been in a situation where you don't quite know what to do. Here are some scenarios I've faced:

I arrive at a good friend's house. Or my in-laws. Or my parents. Or someone I know well. It is cold. My feet are toasty and my shoes are not slip ons. I know these people love me regardless…or have to love me. To shoe or not to shoe? I of course am going to shoe. I give my feet a couple swipes on the rug for good measure and then essentially, do what I want.

UNLESS…they have a hard and fast no shoe rule. Or do they? Is it my imagination? Maybe they are just shoeless people. I never wear shoes in my own home. Maybe everyone assumes they want you to NOT shoe but they don't really care?! Look for a pile of shoes by the door, this may give you a hint.

But then there are those people you don't really know very well, or you've never entered their home. You have no idea what to do. If you're like me, you feel like you should ere on the side of going shoeless, as it seems more courteous… but it's summer and your toes are unattractive and is it really the courteous thing to do to tromp around BAREFOOT in someone's home you barely know?

I told you this was more complicated than you originally thought.

There are a few times it's a no brainer, like scenario one when you know the person and speak their shoe lingo or know they don't care, OR when it's sloppy out and you're literally dripping from your soles [hint: take your shoes off].

But sometimes, I WANT to take my shoes off so I do and then I walk in and I see they are SHOE people and I suddenly feel underdressed. Or sometimes I don't take my shoes off and I walk in and I see them making side-glances at my shoes and I suddenly feel very ashamed.

So…I ask again: To shoe or not to shoe when you enter someone's house?

I try to bipass people at the door and nearly always say: "Don't worry about taking your shoes off if you don't want to." This is because, though I'm a barefoot walker, my husband CANNOT be barefoot [like his father], and so heaven knows what has already been tromped through my house and I know there are very few things that I can't figure out how to clean from the floor or carpet. Shoe on at the Irwin house, my friends! Or shoe off. I don't care.

But I need to know what to do at your house! Help your guests out! Post a sign! Shout it from the other room when I enter!

When I googled for images I wasn't too surprised to find there is apparently a market for signs to post in your home [maybe I should get into this business?]

What is your default upon crossing someone else's threshold? Do you shoe or not? These are the things that make me toss and turn at night!

Okay…this post was really just so I had an excuse to show you my super cute new Toms. But seriously, I need to know if I should take them off then I come over. And when exactly I'm invited over? And if you are serving pasta [it's my favorite].
All other images in this post from GoogleImages

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Hannah said...

ha. I have this conversation in my head all the time. Though, I feel like most of the time I'm a shoe off kind of person which I attribute to my upbringing. In Asian cultures people always take their shoes off. So, it was a no brainer, we knew we were to take our shoes off when we went to other people's houses and we took them off at our house too (there was even a shoe cupboard at the entrance for just this purpose). We even took our shoes off at certain churches. I learned to either bring or wear socks (without holes in them preferably) but usually because it was always so hot, I just learned to paint my toenails (this made me feel like my feet were somewhat cute). And since then I take shoes off when I get home or when I visit someone else's home. I just can't help it, it's second nature to me. Though Landon came from the complete opposite side of things, as his family never takes their shoes off, so we've had this conversation many times.

Honestly I don't care if someone asks me to take my shoes off (I've been to a few houses where they have cute little "please remove your shoe" signs) and even if they don't care I usually still do, it's just strange for me to wear shoes inside a house.

When people come over to our house I usually set several pairs of shoes out by the door in hopes that people will see them and catch the hint to take their shoes off. If they don't it's no big deal (unless of course their shoes are covered in mud or snow or some other element). But, if we just had our carpets cleaned and are trying to sell our house (we aren't right now) I will probably just out right ask for the shoes to be left by the door.

So if you come over you can take your shoes off, or leave them on, though it's safe to assume our shoes will all be off (if that helps you know how to dress your feet) because I like shoes off. And you are, of course, welcome to come to our house any time you like :)

...and I'm pretty sure that might be more than you wanted to know about shoes on or shoes off... but it just goes to show you, it's something I think about a lot. It's nice to know I'm not the only one :)

*carrie* said...

Bah! Just wrote you a long comment and it didn't "take"--in summary, we prefer guests remove shoes, especially in wet weather, but I would never ask someone to remove them. A sign is a good idea.

We have a rug and a bench inside the door with our shoes underneath, so most people pick up on those cues.

momiss said...

Oh, girlfriend, I used to be a not-to-shoe kind of girl, when I was young and my house was clean. NOW, after all the kids and dogs, I recommend everyone keep their shoes on for their OWN safety and cleanliness!
One day, you will no longer really care what your floors look like. And that will be a fine day, indeed. Trust me on this. :D