It seems my Facebook feed is full of barefoot friends excitedly pointing out one of these two stories: Michelle Obama Says You Can Go Barefoot in the White House, FLOTUS’ barefoot policy for the White House, and Michelle Obama Has an Amazing Dress Code Policy for White House Guests.
Excuse me while I go take off my rose-colored glasses.
For the first story, the headline that came across first is what I show above. But now they’ve changed it to Michelle Obama’s Latest White House Rule: Shoes Are Not Mandatory.
Because the story really has nothing to do with going “barefoot”.
Basically, the originator of Spanx™, Sara Blakely, was an invited guest at the White House. And like a lot of women, she thought it necessary to wear uncomfortable heels. When she took them off, Michelle Obama sympathized and said it was OK. That’s it.
As the story says, they “bonded over sore feet”. Sorry, I find it hard to generate sympathy for self-inflicted pain because someone feels it necessary to follow a crowd.
In all likelihood, Ms. Blakely was wearing stockings, so it’s not even as though being barefoot was involved. But stockings are generally fine in these situations, because they contain the magic talisman preventing a bare sole from actually touching the ground.
Does anybody here really think that if you or I showed up for a White House tour barefoot that they would allow us in because we showed the guards and tour guides a copy of any one of these articles? It is to laugh.
In fact, I bet nobody’s been on the White House tour barefoot since 1967, which I wrote about here.
They were turned away from the White House on June 20, but not because they were barefoot. They were turned away because they had dirty clothes and hair. When they came back on the 21st, still barefoot but clean, they were allowed to enter.
But that was before the full demonization of bare feet and the Health Code myths and the liability myths.
After that, even flip-flops in 2005 by the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team caused a kerfuffle.
Sure, from what we know about the Obamas (particularly considering Barack’s Hawaii ties), they probably go barefoot a fair bit . . . in the private area of the White House.
But I think it is dreaming to think that one of they would rescue any of us from tour guards. After all, we’re not invited guests like Sara Blakely was.
And we would have truly bare soles.