DEAR ABBY: I strongly disagree with the advice you gave to "Mrs. B. From N.C." You advised her to keep slippers by her front door to stop guests from gouging her new parquet floor with their spike heels.
Abby, who wants to put their feet into slippers that have been worn by others? For that matter, who wants to keep a pile of slippers -- in every size -- in their front hall where they'll be seen?
A basket of clean "footie" socks and a small sign that reads, "Please remove your shoes upon entering our home. Thank you." Should do the trick. And a framed bill for the parquet floor next to the sign would be a real decorator's touch. -- FOOTLOOSE IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR FOOTLOOSE: I get the message. Many other readers also wrote to let me know they disagreed. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: It's not just high heels that ruin a quality floor; grit on the bottom of shoes also scratches. You told "Mrs. B." to keep a collection of bedroom slippers in all sizes near the front door. Abby, I'd be afraid to wear slippers that have been worn by others for fear of getting a foot and toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is a nightmare to get rid of.
When I lived in Hawaii, people removed their shoes at the door. Mainlanders, however, do not automatically do this. When I installed marble flooring throughout my home, I placed a brass plaque on my door that reads, "Please remove your shoes." Now guests automatically remove their shoes once they've been in my home. The men remember to wear their best socks without holes, and the women remember to paint their toenails! -- KAY CHIRICHIGNO, TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR KAY: Thank you for the input. I must confess, the thought of a foot fungus never occurred to me. But now I know it's a very real concern. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I'm currently fighting a particularly stubborn foot fungus that I'm convinced is the result of trying on shoes. There is no way -- I repeat, NO WAY -- I'd put on a pair of bedroom slippers that had been worn by someone else. I do not want anyone to suffer what I've been through, and I don't plan on taking any chances by wearing slippers worn by every Jane, Sue or Mary.
When invited to someone's home, attire appropriate for the occasion is selected -- including shoes. I think guests would be insulted -- or at least uncomfortable -- to find they are expected to change into slippers in order to protect a parquet floor. I found your solution to be neither subtle nor nonoffensive. I'd rather the hostess told me in advance that she'd prefer I wore low heels to avoid damaging her new floor. I would then choose an appropriate pants outfit for the occasion rather than a dress or skirt ensemble. Or, I might just decide that "Mrs. B." thinks more of her parquet floor than her friends, and stay home! -- JEAN P. TERRY, SPRING HILL, FLA.
DEAR JEAN: Your letter reflects the opinion the majority of my readers expressed about my solution to the problem. I stand corrected. Mea culpa.