Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Could it Be?

I thought I saw a handwritten 'shoes off' sign in the porch of a house in Droitwich today.

Of course I could have been mistaken, maybe it said 'Coats Off'. I thought it would have been rude to walk up their drive to have a look.

If it was a 'shoes off' sign, it would be the first I have ever seen. Not a British thing at all.

However, I did visit a home once whose owners had put a new floor in their bathroom. They had not yet varnished the wood and so had a sign outside the bathroom asking visitors to remove their shoes before going in. Silly people; what about the carpet in the rest of the house?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

So have you ever actually visited a house where you have been asked to remove your shoes by the owners? I did go to a few of my friends homes as a child where the parents asked me to take them off. I have never had any adults asking me to do so, although there have been a few occassions in bad weather where I have noticed the owners shoeless and where I have then volunteered to take them off. I have certainly never seen a sign spectifically asking for shoes to be removed.

Anonymous said...

"I have never had any adults asking me to do so"

Sorry what I meant to say was that I have never been specifically asked to take off my shoes at anyone's home since I am an adult.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Sadly, no.

When I was a child, yes.

Once when I was a teenager (on a rainy day).

Once at the home of the people who banned shoes in their bathroom temporarily (as mentioned in the post).

At my ex-fiance's house and her parent's house when it was muddy (I started taking my shoes off every time I visited).

When I visited Finland, I knew to take my shoes off in my host's apartment, as that is the custom there. It would have been interesting to see how they would have reacted if I had kept my shoes on.

Sarah in shoe-removing Canada must find it incredible and rather funny that I can actually count the occasions when I have needed to remove my shoes in a home.

I understand the shoes-off rule is becoming very common in London, so I suppose my experience would be different if I lived there.

God Bless

Matthew

Anonymous said...

Well they say that what London does today the rest of the country does tomorrow, so may be there's hope that the trend will spread to the rest of the U.K. in due course.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I should expect so.

Younger people are less governed by the formal etiquette of the past.

If you do not mind my getting political, it is just a shame John Reid is going to limit the number of shoe-removing Bulgarians and Romanians who will be coming next year. We could really do with their example!

God Bless

Matthew

Anonymous said...

Well lots of Poles have come here and I believe that they are also shoe removers are they not?

Anonymous said...

This is a question and an answer that I found in an online edition of The Times Etiquette Column on 1 August, 2006's edition

When visiting friends houses for super or dinner parties, my girlfriend has a habit of slipping her shoes off, either on arrival or under the table. I feel this is somewhat rude, - she is adamant that it is fine and she just finds it comfortable. Is she committing a social gaffe, please? Tim Jenkins, Bath

If you girlfriend is dining with the Duchess of Omnium at Gatherum Castle, Yes. If she is dining with young moderns and trendies, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and others, No. Not just OK, but correct to remove your shoes. It is becoming common and "correct" to take off one's shoes in other people's houses. But it is still eccentric, rude and a social gaffe to slip off one's shoes on formal occasions in England.

Redeemed said...

oh, lol, Matthew. Wishful thinking.

That would be great though, if the sign read "shoes off"!!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Sarah, wishful thinking?

I am pretty sure the sign said 'Off'. What else would it say before 'Off'?

Anonymous, yes, Poles remove their shoes generally. Very good people usually.

Are there many Poles in your area?

I read that in the Times whne it came out. Phllip Howard has dealt with this issue before.

Unusually for an etiquette writer, Phillip Howard is quite favorably disposed to the shoes-off rule, but urges caution about instituting it in an area where it is not the norm.

God Bless

Matthew

Anonymous said...

Are there many Poles in your area?

Yes there are in fact, so let's hope they spread their good custom of shoe removal with them.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Depends how much they want to mix with the rest of us.

But I dare say they will integrate more than the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis do.

A Pole I knew attended a church I used to go to. He came to my ex-fiance's parents for dinner and removed his shoes.

God Bless

Matthew