Is it rude to place your feet on a coffee table in an airline lounge? How about if you take your shoes off?
Before my Emirates flight to Dubai, I spent some time in Emirates’ LAX lounge. As I sat in the dining area eating my lunch, I noticed a man a few feet away had taken his shoes off and placed his feet on a coffee table.
Because his behavior is debatable, not necessarily deplorable, I’ve blurred his face to protect his privacy.
Watching the man’s white socks wiggle right in front of me was a lovely site during lunch, though I could have moved tables and did not bother…
My sense, based upon observation, is that people have very strong opinions on this issue–one way or the other. Some are militant that feet never belong on furniture, particularly in public places. Others view the problem as shoes, not feet. Some, on the other side of the spectrum, defend the placement of feet on furniture and argue that is what furniture is intended for.
I’m writing this post because I find myself wavering on how to evaluate this incident. The etiquette I abide by strictly prohibits feet on furniture in airport lounges or other public places. I know it is culturally insensitive in much of the world and therefore I just don’t ever put my feet on the furniture when I’m outside the home.
That said, this was a lounge in the USA, where it is not nearly as culturally offensive (if at all). And the guy took his shoes off, at least. Is that an acceptable tradeoff? Because I may certainly refrain from putting my feet up on furniture, but deep down it really doesn’t bother me. And when I am in the comfort of my own living room, my feet routinely go up on the coffee table or a nearby chair.
I’m of the opinion that there is no right-wrong answer on placing feet on furniture, but respect for others is an important consideration and the primary reason why I do not put my feet on the furniture. To be clear, even if the man had his shoes on in the picture above it would not have been my place to correct him…it’s not my lounge or my coffee table.
What do you think? Was the man pictured above rude or I was rude for even noticing him?