Internet Enraged by Viral Story About Wearing Shoes Inside

The internet was up in arms after a Wall Street Journal writer penned an entire column dedicated to wearing shoes inside homes, even when house rules say to take them off.

Authored by WSJ humor columnist Kris Frieswick, the column is titled, “Here’s Why I’ll Be Keeping My Shoes on in Your Shoeless Home,” and has raised eyebrows across social media.

Explaining that she will remove her shoes for religious and cultural reasons, Frieswick asserted that if going shoeless in somebody’s home is a matter of keeping floors clean, it’s not happening.

“I do understand that there are people who don’t wear shoes in the home for cultural or religious reasons,” Frieswick wrote. “If I am entering the home of someone from a culture in which wearing street shoes is a sign of disrespect, I’m of course going to take them off.”

“I will also remove them if my shoes are covered in snow, mud, blood, condiments of any sort, lava, excrement, concrete dust, or biomedical hazardous waste,” she added. “But barring shoes outright just to keep your floors clean is bringing a gun to a pillow fight.”

Leaving shoes at the door
A viral Wall Street Journal column sparked thousands of internet users to explain why wearing shoes inside, against a homeowner’s request, is not acceptable.
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Throughout the column, Frieswick combated research about tracking E. coli and other bacteria into the home via shoe soles and pointed out the potential hypocrisy involved with letting pets walk into households after being outside, but making visitors remove their shoes. She also said that every broken toe she has suffered was a result of not wearing shoes inside, and detailed her own household’s shoe policy.

“My shoe policy for our home is this,” Frieswick wrote. “Unless there is something seriously nasty visibly stuck to the bottom of your shoes, they should remain on your feet unless you personally desire to take them off.”

Studies conducted at multiple American universities have revealed that shoes worn outside can track harmful bacteria into homes.

In 2008, researchers at the University of Arizona found that exterior parts of shoes averaged 421,000 units of bacteria, compared with just 2,887 units on the interior. With fecal bacteria also appearing on 96 percent of shoes worn outside, microbiologist Charles Gerba told The Baltimore Sun that the bacteria-related data caused him anxiety, and to closely consider what exactly he is stepping on (and in) every day.

“I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” Gerba said. “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.”

Despite findings about introducing outside bacteria into the home, another microbiologist—Rutgers University’s Donald W. Schaffner—told The New York Times that, “in the hierarchy of potential health hazards at home, bacteria-caked shoes rank comparatively low.”

However, while numerous researchers have debated the dangers of wearing outside shoes inside the home, internet users commenting on Frieswick’s viral column focused less on bacteria, and more on disrespect.

In a tweet boasting nearly 2,000 likes, Twitter user @ErmBDesign said that she doesn’t maintain a shoeless household, but assured that anybody not following house rules would never be welcomed into her home again.

“I don’t even have a shoeless home, but if I politely asked someone to take off their shoes or use a coaster and they decided to launch into a self-righteous rant about why they won’t, they’d NEVER be invited over again,” she tweeted.

In a Reddit thread posted on r/mildlyinfuriating, which has received nearly 70,000 votes and 9,000 comments, thousands of Redditors relayed a similar message.

Redditor u/ValusMaul, whose comment has received more than 14,000 votes, wrote that not removing shoes despite a homeowner’s request is blatantly disrespectful.

“How about rules set in someone else’s home be respected,” they commented.
Receiving nearly 11,000 votes, another Redditor suggested an alternate headline for the viral column.

“‘Why I’m going to be rude as f**k when you invite me to your home’ should be the headline,” they commented.

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