DEAR HARRIETTE: As a child, I fell into a strange habit: I always have to wash my feet before I go to bed. I hate putting dirty feet in my bed (where I like to feel clean), so I have gone to ridiculous lengths to covertly wash my feet, especially because no one else thinks this is a big deal. I have washed my feet in sinks, with hand wipes and even using an outdoor hose. I will be going abroad on a World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming program that has limited showers and water. I don't want my weird habit to inconvenience my trip, but I can't fall asleep if my feet are dirty -- it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. How can I manage my secret habit in a totally foreign land? -- Clean Toes, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR CLEAN TOES: Your secret practice is not that strange. In many parts of the world, it is considered an absolute requirement to take off your shoes before you enter a home so that you don't bring dirt from the road into the home. Same goes for entering sacred spaces. Your philosophy of not putting your dirty feet into your bed makes perfect sense.
Rather than hiding your habit as if there is anything wrong with it, just do it. With limited water, you may want to take extra wipes with you that you can use to wipe off your feet. You can even find wipes with soap in them, which will help to clean your feet more efficiently.