I'd jump ship and apply to the competition too, and if you love this niche - start to think about opening a company yourself someday. You have already seen how not to do it, go find out how to do it better.
When I was some 30 years younger, I saw a very special & pricey spice rack for sale at a store - by the time I talked VorGuy into letting me get it - they had sold every single one that they had. I obsessed over the spice rack - it had a spice chart on it and room for a lot more spices than most of those I'd seen (I have over thirty-five spice jars - I needed a larger spice rack...). But, boo, hoo, they were all gone.
The next time we went to see VorGuy's mother - she had one on her wall.
Remember, it was about 30 years ago and I was a much younger & less conscientious VorFemme...I exclaimed about how much I had wanted that spice rack and that the store in my area had run out of them before I could buy one - turned out that their local store had run out of them, too, but not until after she bought hers...
I got lucky, she "forgave" me for coveting her spice rack and ended up giving it to me a few years later when she redecorated the kitchen (she does this every few years - but I wasn't sure what she'd do with it - pass it along, store it, or garage sale it). I also hand stitched four spice themed small samplers for her kitchen while she still had the spice rack (they are still hanging in her kitchen today, some 25 years later). I guess she liked them enough to keep them even though she was no longer cooking enough to need the very large spice rack...and she had one small stretch of wall in the kitchen that wasn't taken up by a window, the phone, or behind cabinets....which is why I think that the spice rack got dropped from the redecorated kitchen...no wall space!
But I learned very quickly that a closed mouth gathered no feet - especially when it came to various things belonging to other people You could mention that it was lovely but other than asking if they remembered where they'd found it so you could see if there was another one in stock...you really were better off to keep your mouth shut in front of them. Like I sais, I got lucky and she forgave me when I grew up a little more. Grandkids helped....
I didn't know he wasn't American until I read an article where he said doing the accent all the time was taking a toll. So yes, he was very credible.
Along those lines I've been enjoying Jesse Spencer in Chicago Fire for several years and was shocked when I watched my first episode of House a couple weeks ago and heard his (I'm assuming) native Australian accent!
Ay yi yi, yes, your friend is way out of line and totally bonkers.
I'm totally familiar with "no shoes in the house" policies -- I grew up and still live in the midwest. We get rain, snow, mud, etc, so a lot of people (including me) have a no-shoes policy. (My sister in CA also has one, where it's a bit more rare -- and so she's got a cute little sign "blaming" it on her toddlers, something about about little hands on the floor so leave your shoes at the door.)
When I have long term guests visit, I offer them my extra slippers, but that has more to do with concern over cold feet than aesthetics. If someone brought their own slippers, I would not be offended.
Male feet aren't inherently more gross or uglier then female feet. (BTW, obviously she doesn't know any dancers...our feet get nasty. Of course, we're then proud of them and show off the blisters, calluses, and bunions. )
As for your attire overall, I think a lot depends on local culture and what is meant by "dinner party." When I hear "dinner party," it does make me think more formal -- but the party itself is more formal, too, not just the dress code. I rarely get invited to/host/attend those at people's homes. Usually it's just that someone having people over and dinner is part of / most of the plan.
I kind of suspect you were at something closer to the latter than the former. Plus it sounds like your clothes were in a similar range to the rest of the guests.
As for the socks question, no, I don't think socks would've made your outfit "better." I don't think it makes a difference either way. When you say you were the only guy barefoot -- I'm assuming that means all the other guys had shoes off, but had been wearing socks so kept those on? Meh. Whatever. Carrying a pair of socks when you're wearing no-sock-shoes (sandals, flip-flops, ballet flats for women) is not a requirement for any situation I know other than if you're planning to go bowling and rent shoes.
So all in all, you're right, you were fine, your friend is bonkers, feel free to ignore her and roll your eyes internally a lot.
Oh, and no, I would not contact the hostess. She didn't complain about the bare feet; her only requirement was that you take off shoes. Which you obeyed. Just let it go.
yes to all this. and to most of what everyone else is saying. this friend is nuts. i've seen plenty of women with ugly feet, it's stupid to assume women's feet are inherently more pleasant to look at.
I'm kinda friendly with the hostess, and I thought maybe I'd bring it up in a joking way just to see, you know? but probably not worth it.
none of you guys have gone to no shoes houses with sandals or flip flops before? what did you guys do in this scenario?
I don't think this is rude at all. Or "I appreciate your concern but I don't want to talk about it".
I don't want to lose friends over this. But if I have to, I do. I don't know what else to say without being rude and so harsh to say "I know you went through what I did, but I don't want to talk about it." I can't get any more clear than that. I am not directing my energy to talk about it over and over and over again.
Welcome to the forums, Mike!
In Australia during summer, your attire would be seen as perfectly acceptable for a casual dinner party. So I wouldn't worry on that account.
I also had the same thought as EllenS - that your friend is interested in your romantically, and that this was kind of a date. But the more I read (and noting you already have a girlfriend) I'm inclined to think she's just bossy and odd.
I'd stop responding to her texts about the issue. And if she brings it up again in person, I'd tell her "Friend, you've made your point repeatedly. I can't go back in time and do things differently. Let's agree to respect each other's different opinions on this topic, and let it drop."