I always thought that no-shoes party – or no shoe policy – would have been the landmark of my early twenties/ party years. Now it turns out they are still very much a common trait of my cappuccino years, as I rebranded my early thirties.
If ten years ago no shoes seemed like a funny and slightly anticonformist idea, today the no shoe policy is so mainstream that not only guests but even workmen like plumbers, bricklayers and builders offer to take off their shoes when they cross your door, without even being asked.
When you visit people’s houses, the no shoe policy is well documented and explained. The reasons go from we have young children and do not want to expose them to germs, to we just have a new parquet to we do not want to disturb our neighbours, to we have a new carpet. But the latter is not something I have heard in person. I cannot be friend with someone who would choose to carpet the floor. All valid reasons, and I respect them.
Theresa May and her shoe
But I am less than thrilled when I am asked to take off my shoes. The first reason is cultural and it is wired in my brain. I have never seen anyone asking you to do so in Italy. Quite the opposite: when someone is visiting you, you probably are going to put on your shoes, to be more presentable and on the same level. Slipper, flip flops, barefoot is to be seen only amongst intimate and immediate family.
Floors are meant to walk on with or without shoes, and that applied to timber, marble and anything in between.
Ask yourself this question: if the Queen or the Prime Minister would visit your house, would you ask them to take off their shoes? The answer is surely no. Because you want to honour those important people, not make them feel diminished or sartorially castrated.
The second reason is purely selfish and aesthetic. Without shoe I feel short (even if I am not) and deprived of my outfit’s foundation. As per many people, shoes are the base and the pinnacle of my style, or I like to think so. And if I spend a good percentage of my salary on a pair or shoes, I want for as many people as possible to look at them, and for women to admire. Shoe are important and not an optional.
Of course, I would never refuse, if asked.
Now, this comes the confession. I hosted a no shoe party six years ago. No royals or members of the Cabinet were in attendance. The reason why I deprived my friends of such an important accessories was simple: laziness and selfishness. I hosted a rather large party with about 50 people coming in and out just before Christmas, in a small one bedroom flat.No one likes scrubbing the floor while hangover the day after. I was more interested in making things easier for me. And that is fine too.