Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.
I have a feeling there are bigger issues in the relationship, and this struggle over the towel is a symptom. If none of the answers that immediately come to mind--
--put a device on the door to automatically close it so the towel bar cannot be seen, or
--move the towel rack to a spot that isn't visible from the rest of the apartment, or
--give up on towels in the half bath, and put a supply of elegant folded paper towels out for guests, don't appeal to you--then this issue isn't about the towel.
The fact that you know you leave shoes around, but are waiting for him to object before doing anything about it, shows that the two of you are engaged in a struggle of some sort. Shoes are no more visually pleasing than a rumpled towel. Couples counseling is probably something the two of you should consider.
Fair enough. It sounded differently in your original note.
But my point remains--this isn't about the towel or the shoes. If it were, you would just tidy up the towel when company is expected, and laugh it off as one of his endearing faults. It sounds as if there is a feeling that you don't matter as much to him as he does to you (because you worry about being fair, and he doesn't seem to share that concern) and that seems to be the underlying current that is making this such an issue between the two of you.
oh no - that fair thing is beaten (not literally, we're never violent) into my world by him on a continuous basis. i've been called a hypocrit and irrational more times than i've been told I love you.