Our house does not have air conditioning. It isn’t built in, and we chose not to purchase a window unit. Sure, the afternoons get very warm, but it cools off in the evenings, and I don’t want to spend money to combat heat that is that temporary. We have a stone floor in our kitchen and dining room, which is *really* nice and cool no matter how warm it gets outside. To take advantage of that, I go barefoot in the house. Most of the time, I’m quite comfortable. My feet do get dirty, but really, who is going to see them? When I need to run an errand, I slip on a pair of nice shoes and go.
I once visited with someone who had white carpet. Very nice, very new, white carpet. And yes, she’s the kind of person who asks visitors to take their shoes off at the door. In “typical” families, your shoes are almost always dirtier than your feet. Your shoes have gone everywhere and tracked through everything – with your recently bathed, completely clean feet tucked safely inside them. With that assumption, I know several people who ask visitors to remove their shoes.
But that IS an assumption. In my case, now that I live more frugally, my feet track through everything while my nice shoes sit unused in my closet. I put my shoes on to go out in public, but I am not in the habit of always washing my feet before putting those shoes on.
I do wonder what I would do – what I should do – if presented with that problem today. Would I explain that the soles of my shoes are cleaner than the soles of my feet? Would I remove my shoes in spite of that fact and just let her carpet get dusty? Maybe I would avoid the subject by inviting the homeowner to visit on the front porch instead. (Of course this isn’t an issue if I’m wearing socks with those shoes – but in the summer it’s almost always sandals.)
Or maybe I’m supposed to behave like a typical American and buy air conditioning and wear my shoes in my house. *Sigh* Yet another societal box that I don’t fit into anymore.