How Do You Feel About Bare Feet on a Hotel Wall?

Last month I asked how you feel about bare feet on a plane.

I feel very strongly that I never want to see male toes in the office. That’s about the only dress rule I seek to enforce at work.

I also do not want to see male toes on a plane. This was a very controversial controversial claim, debated heatedly in the comments.

While my claim is a sexist one — it’s usually limited to men — I realized it’s possible for women to take things too far, too.

This morning I received an email from reader Andrew.

Given the occasional discussions / rants about feet on the wall on your blog I thought you might find this picture amusing. It is from an actual catalog that greeted me in my room last night. I am assuming Marriott does not want its customers to emulate their ad agency’s model.

Here’s the photo:

Now, feet on a hotel wall doesn’t bother me in the same way.

  • It’s in private, I don’t have to see it.
  • The hotel room is cleaned more often and more thoroughly than the plane is.
  • I don’t have to see it.
  • It’s a good reminder, though, about what’s done in the room … the usual point is about television remote controls … and while carpets are vacuumed and occasionally even cleaned, walls aren’t. I probably don’t want to put my feet on the wall after other guests have done so.
  • I don’t have to see it.

Are you with me? Out of sight out of mind?

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While not touching the wall her feet are touching the headboard where a tall person’s (like me) head would rest while watching TV. Gross!

  2. I don’t care that much really. Even if your feet is on the wall, what are you gonna do about? Is someone gonna lick it? Gonna put your face to it? I’m hoping not. People mostly bath, hopefully, and I’m pretty sure their feet is clean. And now, hotel… It’s their room now, so of course they want to relax and do whatever they want. I know not all place are clean, but they’re suppose to clean the hotel, airplane, etc… if they don’t then it’s their problem.

    Bare feet isn’t as bad as drugs, alcoholics, smokers, and etc…

  3. It really doesn’t bother me at all. You better not visit New Zealand, Gary – lots of folk go barefoot there all over the place! 😉

  4. I don’t understand why we need a blog about Bare feet?? I have seen one or more blogs regarding the same.

    Its called personal preference.

    No one cares about half naked people but people are more interested in barefoot.

    Also whats right in one country may not be correct in other countries.

  5. The thing that REALLY bugs me (BIG pet peeve!) is when they use a *too small* top sheet (that easily pulls away from the mattress), instead of a fitted mattress sheet, and your feet touch the mattress – AND I am sure 1000’s of other guests’ feet have touched, sweated and slept ‘bareback’ against the mattress too. I doubt that they “clean” the foot area of the mattress after every guest. ICK!

  6. Ya sure about that second bullet point, Gary?

    I’m with you on the men being held to a different standard. Provided a woman is attractive, I don’t care how little she wears. Wouldn’t complain about a bikini on a plane.

  7. Think of the grossest thing you can imagine – and then realize that’s probably been smeared all over any public place – hotel room/bathroom/door knob/airline/bus/restaurant. So feet don’t bother me the least considering it’s likely only dirt and some toe cheese.

    It’s restaurants that give me the willies – having seen too many Restaurant’s Impossible and Kitchen Nightmares – even supposedly Michelin star restaurants have horrific standards – let alone the local greasy hotel spoon or Mexican taqueria

  8. Whether male or female putting (smelly) bear feat on the bulkhead or seat in front of you is just plain gross. I once sat next to the late noted etiquette expert Letitia Baldrige on a transcontinental flight and was disgusted by her incivility when placing her bare feet on the seatback in front of her, though I respectfully chose not to rebuke her.

  9. Gary, oh Gary… you asked for it!

    How do you feel about slobs who rent porn movies, do the monkey jumpy, and use the remote with their unclean hands?

  10. @Jason : Lol! thats why the GH singapore has a sign on the remote saying that they clean / disinfect it…

  11. This reminds me of a protip I heard: If you in economy, cough on your hand then touch the armrest. Guaranteed your seatmate won’t use it the entire flight 🙂

  12. podiophobia

    Definition: The Phobia and Fear of Feet is defined as the persistent and irrational Fear of Feet. Individuals suffering from this phobia may not only experience dread and anxiety at the sight or touch of their own feet, but also other peoples.

    It’s curable, Gary!

  13. It’s true what Alan says about NZ. I never noticed it before, but Christy pointed out to me she has never seen so many people barefooted in public. I now see it absolutely everywhere when I’m there. 1 out of 10 people at the grocery store will be barefoot.

  14. For what it’s worth, Gary, I’m with you on this. But, while it is a cleanliness/health issue as you and various commenters have noted, it’s more than that. And while it’s a personal preference issue, it’s more than that, too. Cultures/civilizations throughout human history have developed behavior/comportment/decorum standards and expectations. These typically are built on a simple but profound premise: take others’ feelings into account in deciding your own actions. It’s simply rude — offensive, by definition — to ignore those conventions without a significant and pressing reason to do so. An airplane is NOT your private space (unless you own it) — you share it with many others. No one’s life is significantly devalued if he/she does not expose his/her bare feet on a plane, but others may experience discomfort if he/she does. So out of regard for the feelings of others (without obtaining a Supreme Court verdict on whether those feelings are totally justified) — instead of determined (and selfish) attention only to one’s own instant comfort and convenience — just keep your feet covered in airplanes. Is that so hard? (The fact some insist on putting bare feet on walls, seat backs, and assorted other places shared by others illustrates the incivility we increasingly experience in everyday life in big ways and small ways — ranging from a Congress that’s mired in partisan/ideological conflict when the country needs solutions to growing problems to people who thoughtlessly throw their trash out the window of their car.) If you are going to be in close quarters with other people, and you want to coexist peaceably and comfortably (maybe even productively) with them, you’ll take their feelings into account. It’s been called the Golden Rule. Most religions embrace it, but it exists very nicely with no religious connection.

  15. What really grosses me out is hotel ads that show people standing on the bed IN THEIR SHOES! They are much, much grosser than bare feet (unless you walk around in bare feet)
    Think about what the soles of your shoes come in contact with. Dog poo and pee, spit, and the remnants of guys who can’t hit the urinal.

  16. Better bare feet than the alternative…who knows where their dirty shoes might have been.

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