The internet was angry after a the wall street journal The writer wrote an entire column devoted to wearing shoes inside homes, even when house rules say to take them off.
Written by WSJ humor columnist Kris Frieswick, the column is titled “Here’s Why I’ll Keep My Shoes in Your Shoeless House,” and raised eyebrows on social media.
Explaining that she would remove her shoes for religious and cultural reasons, Frieswick claimed that while going without shoes to someone’s house is a matter of keeping the floors clean, it’s not happening.
“I understand there are people who don’t wear shoes at home for cultural or religious reasons,” Frieswick wrote. “If I walk into the home of someone from a culture in which wearing dress shoes is a sign of disrespect, of course I will take them off.”
“I will also remove them if my shoes are covered in snow, mud, blood, condiments of any kind, lava, feces, concrete dust or biomedical hazardous waste,” she added. “But outright banning shoes just to keep your floors clean is bringing a gun to a pillow fight.”
Throughout the column, Frieswick has fought research into tracking E. coli and other bacteria into the home via shoe soles and pointed to the potential hypocrisy of allowing pets into homes after being outdoors but requiring visitors to remove their shoes. She also said every broken toe she suffered resulted from her not wearing shoes indoors and detailed her own household’s shoe policy.
“My footwear policy for our house is as follows,” Frieswick wrote. “Unless there’s something really nasty visibly stuck to the bottom of your shoes, they should stay on your feet unless you personally want to take them off.”
Studies conducted at several American universities have revealed that shoes worn outdoors can bring harmful bacteria into homes.
In 2008, researchers from University of Arizona found that the outer parts of shoes contained an average of 421,000 units of bacteria, compared to only 2,887 units on the inside. With faecal bacteria also appearing on 96% of shoes worn outdoors, said microbiologist Charles Gerba The Baltimore Sun that bacteria-related data was causing him anxiety and to closely examine what he was walking on (and in) every day.
“I’m starting to get paranoid,” Gerba said. “It looks like we’re getting into a lot more poop than I thought.”
Despite findings about bringing bacteria from outside into the home, another microbiologist, Donald W. Schaffner of Rutgers University, said The New York Times that, “in the hierarchy of potential health risks in the home, shoes covered in bacteria rank relatively low”.
However, while many researchers have debated the dangers of wearing outdoor shoes inside the home, netizens commenting on Frieswick’s viral column focused less on bacteria and more on disrespect.
In one Tweeter With nearly 2,000 likes, Twitter user @ErmBDesign said she doesn’t maintain a shoeless household, but assured anyone who doesn’t follow the house rules will never be welcome in her home again.
“I don’t even have a house without shoes, but if I politely ask someone to take their shoes off or use a coaster and they decide to go on a self-righteous rant about why which he wouldn’t, he would NEVER be invited again,” she tweeted.
In a Reddit thread posted on r/mildlyinfuriating, which garnered nearly 70,000 votes and 9,000 comments, thousands of Redditors relayed a similar message.
Redditor u/ValusMaul, whose comment received more than 14,000 votes, wrote that not removing shoes despite an owner’s request is grossly disrespectful.
“How about the rules set in someone else’s house being followed,” they commented.
Receiving nearly 11,000 votes, another Redditor suggested an alternate title for the viral column.
“‘Why am I going to be rude as f**k when you invite me to your house’ should be the title,” they commented.