It’s 12:30 a.m. on a Friday and you’re exhausted. You just spent six hours in a classroom in Lane Hall cramming for an exam that you’re still woefully unprepared for. As you close the door behind you and get ready to head home, a less-than-desirable smell meets your nostrils.
You quickly recognize the aroma of feet and glance over to see one of your classmates wave at you as he pads his way across the floor with no shoes or socks in sight. All you can do is hold your breath, avert your eyes, and return his wave as politely as you can.
No shoes, no shirt, no service. While it remains a regulation at most businesses today, it is also a widely accepted, unwritten rule of common decency.
At Hillsdale, however, some of the student body seems to be ignorant of that rule, or at least don’t care that it exists. Whether it’s in the Union, Lane or Kendall after hours, or even just on their way to class, a disturbingly large number of students choose to forgo even open-toed shoes.
I enjoy the feel of concrete and hard tile on the soles of my feet as much as the next guy, but there’s seeing someone walk barefoot through the Union at 10 a.m. feels barbaric.
Shoes, believe it or not, exist in modern culture for a reason — quite a few, actually.
For one, shoes are a common decency to those around you. Unlike your room in your house or dorm, there are other people around you in public, and those people don’t want to see your feet on their way to class in the morning.
What if a classmate decided it was too hot to wear a shirt up the hill? It would be distracting and unsettling. For our barefoot buddies, it seems, the rigid constriction of shoes outweighs the comfort and focus of their classmates.
If a common social convention doesn’t convince shoe haters — it clearly hasn’t stopped them before — maybe health will. Though the college’s custodial staff does their very best to keep campus clean, they don’t catch everything.
The stray pen, pin, or nail occasionally dots the floors, usually accompanied by dirt and wood chips tracked in from outside. These are already unpleasant to step on with shoes on, and unless they’ve got hobbit feet, it can’t be an enjoyable experience for our shoeless classmates either.
Not only does it risk direct physical injury, but not going barefoot can open you up to a wide variety of dangerous bacteria. If you’ve got any tiny cracks or cuts on your feet and you’d like them to get infected, walking just about anywhere without shoes is a sure-fire way to do that.
If you’re itching to remove your shoes, do us all a favor: Go outside. No one needs to see (or smell) that.