But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
- William Butler Yeats
With the foul winter weather having settled in to much of the northern United States, the question of appropriate etiquette when entering someone's home has arisen yet again. The major conundrum revolves around shoes. Do we wipe and wear? Do we remove? Should we bring an extra pair of socks? What will be expected? The answer is... it depends.
Wet or Wintry Weather ~ When you are planning to go for a visit during an anticipated rain or snow storm, you should wear the appropriate boots and bring your shoes with you in a bag. Upon arrival, simply remove your boots and put on your dry shoes.
Party Toes ~ When arriving at someone's home for a party, shower or gathering, it is presumed that you will wear your shoes into the home. This is because it is presumed you have dressed in festive attire from head to toe. Do be sure to do your best to wipe your shoes on both the outdoor and indoor mats to prevent tracking in unnecessary dirt.
Casual Come-Over ~ When you go to a good friend's house to watch a movie or have a cup of tea, it is often presumed that the interaction is more casual and you would act more like you would in your own home. In this case, it is common to take your shoes off as you enter the home.
Careful of Carpets ~ When you visit someone's home who is very particular about their carpets, and you are asked to remove your shoes, the host should also provide you with guest slippers.
Fear of Feet ~ There are many reasons why someone may be hesitant to remove their shoes. They might have worn socks with holes. They may wear special inserts in their shoes. They may have a terrible foot odor. Or, the shoes may make their ensemble. If the host insists, the guest can insist in return, while being sure to clean the soles of their shoes. A good host knows that making a guest feel comfortable is more important than their carpets any day.
Now that you know what to do with your feet, do make sure you do not arrive empty handed. When you visit, be sure to bring along a small gift for your host; perhaps some peppermint foot lotion. If she has been planning the gathering for a long time and has gone to great effort, consider pampering your host. A gift certificate for a pedicure is a wonderful treat.