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A Plea: Take Your Shoes Off Inside

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Let's talk about shoes. We all know that I'm a huge fan, especially when it comes to whimsical stilettos and platforms that I'll rarely wear, but instead, will serve as eye-candy for me to gaze upon as I sit idly in my office. I've amassed a huge collection over years of sample sale-ing and online hunting, but to be honest, there are about five pairs that I wear regularly.

I may admire your shoes as we're out and about: cocktailing, lunching, etc. But I do not want those same shoes in my house.

I know: When did I turn into a crotchety old lady? I'll tell you when -- my first real apartment. My husband and I lived in California at the time, and after hours surfing, he would come in amidst a train of sand. Our floors were carpeted, and his daily path became very clear, very quickly.

A few years later, after much scrimping and saving, we bought a house, and decorated it carefully. By this point, the thought of someone's dirty shoes on my newly-upholstered couch or clean carpets became abhorrent.

Let me stop here, lest you think I'm some pearl-clutching, twinset-wearing mistress of the manor. In fact, the opposite is true: I wear jeans until they're threadbare, and my two messy children reign supreme in our comfortable-but-tidy home. I never thought I'd become that character from that episode in "Sex and the City" who asks Carrie to take off her beloved Manolos, only to later find them stolen. But at some point, between the custom-ordered rugs (my mom said 'it was time'), and crawling babies, I decided that shoes inside were a no-go. Between the New York City dirt and the inevitable stains, I was over it. Now the question has become: How do I ask people to leave their shoes at the door without being "that lady"?

It turns out that it's not possible. If we ask people to leave their shoes at the door, our guests happily oblige, but then I'm that hostess. So now we try to lead by example and hope that people will get the hint, but inevitably, my husband squeezes my hand and gives me that "They'll be gone soon enough" look. I am seriously considering a basket and a gentle sign, but if you push me any further, I'm going to resort to those surgical shoe covers. You can never be too safe.

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