Friday, September 29, 2006

Beach and Carpet

The link below makes the point that many beaches are often not very clean, as they are frequently soiled by animal excrement.

It is remarkable that people will happily walk barefoot on beaches that, despite looking clean, are contaminated by animal excrement, rubbish, pollution and other filth and yet will make a fuss if they are asked to remove their shoes and go barefoot on somebody's clean carpet or shiny hardwood floor.

Do people really think that beaches are more hygienic than floors that are cleaned regularly?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Re-Posting

I hope nobody is getting irritated by all the re-posts.

It is not because I have run out of things to write about. I have some fresh posts planned.

The reason for all the re-posts is that some people may be new to the blog and deserve the chance to read earlier posts without having to search the archives.

This blog is not a diary or journal. Both Angie and I have our own journal-type blogs which you are welcome to visit.

This blog has an agenda. That is, to demonstrate that shoes do not belong in the house past the door. Slippers, socks or barefeet are okay indoors; shoes are not. For this reason, I am posting older entries again. This blog is not about coming up with new things; it is about promoting an old custom that is shared by a significant part of the world's population (including the People's Republic of China).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Window Dressing

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You may have noticed that retail staff often remove their shoes before setting up displays in shop windows.

The managers of their shops obviously fear the appearance of scuff marks on the shiny window ledges.

If you have a wood or vinyl floor, do you care about it as much as the managers of these shops care about the window ledges of their shops? Shoes can so easily cause scratches or leave marks on your floor. Especially if people get stones or other sharp stuff stuck on the sole.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Interesting Comment

I doubt that many people have spent as much time as I have reading chat-room discussion threads on the subject of the shoes-off rule.

I recall reading an interesting comment from a girl on a discussion thread. She said that while she wore shoes at home, she really liked it when her friends required her to remove her shoes when visiting their homes. She found it very comfortable.

It does seem odd that she did not adopt the habit of always removing her shoes in her own home, given that she liked doing so in other peoples' homes. Perhaps she was a little absent minded or not very good at getting into routines.

Given the Golden Rule of 'do unto others..' you might have thought she would have decided to have a 'no shoes' policy in her own home.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?

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You may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Relaxation of Airport Security will not extend to Footwear

This week the strict security restrictions on hand luggage at British airports will be relaxed somewhat. Passengers will be able to take larger bags and some essential liquid items. Musicians will also be allowed to carry their musical instruments. However, for now, passengers will still be required to remove their shoes at the X-Rays.

Big deal. I would rather take my shoes off at airport security than be blown up in mid-air.

Hopefully, with British passengers having to remove their shoes at airports, they will be more relaxed about removing their shoes when entering homes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

'Wearing Shoes in Your Home is a Health Hazard' by Paul Rebhan

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Paul Rebhan wrote:

When you walk through almost any part of a city, and even in the suburbs, your shoes pick up a multitude of unwanted hangers-on. If you wear those shoes in your home, you run the risk of endangering your family's health by spreading viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, other pathogens, allergens and toxic substances.

Nocent items such as these may be commonly found on sidewalks and streets:

- Remnants of feces from dogs, cats, rodents, birds, other wildlife and sometimes, even humans.
- Urine from the same sources.
- Excretions such as saliva, mucus, sweat and sometimes, blood or vomit.
- Remains from insects and rodents
- Remnants of garbage including food waste and toxic cleaning products.
- Residue from insecticides, oils, gasoline and grease.

Even indoor spaces such as the floors of restrooms are frequently contaminated with urine and hospitals or doctors' offices are fertile hotspots for a variety of germs that may end up on your shoes. Soil around homes and parks may be contaminated with lead, pesticides, lawn chemicals and toxic wood preservatives.

Residue from humans and animals may contain common viruses and pathogens such as hepatitis, herpes, E. coli, tetanus, rabies, strep, hantavirus, or cold and flu causing germs. Garbage residue may carry traces of toxic products such as formaldehyde, industrial chemicals, dyes and lead. According to Dr. Leo Galland, author of "Power Healing", lead tracked into a home and accumulated in carpet dust often exceeds levels requiring clean-up at Superfund toxic sites.

These items may be on the ground in very small deposits that are unnoticeable to the naked eye. Shoe soles are generally made of leather, rubber or other porous materials that allow the absorption of microscopic substances. Wiping shoes on a doormat or rug may remove some of the larger materials, but will not eliminate microscopic germs.

Once inside your home, contaminated shoes become a conduit for disease, spreading germs to carpets and even hard-surfaced floors. If you walk on those floors later without shoes, the germs can spread to your feet and be carried to other places such as your bed. If children are allowed to play on the floor, germs can easily spread to their hands, clothing and mouths. Even pets are at risk of picking up and spreading these germs.

In his book "The Secret Life of Germs", Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Ph.D. suggests a simple way to avoid this hazard: "One should adopt the hygienic Japanese practice of having separate footwear for outdoors and indoors, and leaving the outdoor shoes at the threshold".





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References: Philip M. Tierno. Jr, Ph.D.: The Secret Life of Germs, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control: An Ounce of Prevention, Dr. Leo Galland: Power Healing, Spectrum Magazine: Our Daily Dose of Poison, Logan County, CO.: The Online Courthouse, Gary Null, Ph.D.: Natural Living with Gary Null

Monday, September 18, 2006

The National Trust

The National Trust is a great British organisation. It is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Britain. I always love visiting some of the beautiful stately homes and country gardens preserved by the National Trust.

One of the rules of the National Trust, is that if you visit one of their country houses and you are wearing heels smaller than a postage stamp, you will be given plastic slippers to wear inside. Alternative slippers can be purchased to wear instead if you want. This rule is meant to protect the floors of their properties.

Of couse, I doubt that many women would visit a country estate wearing stiletto heels.

Your home may not be as old or valuable as a National Trust-preserved Georgian house, but high heeled shoes may cause damage to marble floors, wood floors, laminate floors and carpets. Time to put those slippers on.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Life in Russia

Life in Russia

Advice for those staying in Russia. It recommends bringing a pair of slippers, as shoes are always removed in Russian homes (the streets there are filthy).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How Should One Phrase the Request for Shoes-Off at the Door?

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How do you ask visitors to remvoe their shoes in your home?

Shoes off, please.

This is not very polite. Only suitable for family members and close friends who do not really need telling.

Could you take your shoes off, please?

Very simple and direct.

Would you mind removing your shoes?

This is very polite, but it is rather negative. It implies that it would be an endurance for the guest to take his or her shoes off. They would probably be more comfortable for having removed their shoes.

We have a house rule here that we do not wear shoes in the house.

Avoid the word house rule. Your guests will feel that they are being treated like children.

We want to look after our carpet. Please take your shoes off.

Best not to say this. It implies that you care more about the carpet than your guests. This is probably true, but you must not show it.

We have small children and they play on the floor. Could you take your shoes off, please?

If you do have small children, use this one. It will not be refused.

Could you put these slippers on, please?

See below for my thoughts on guest slippers. Most English guests would find this a bit weird.

Feel free to take your shoes off.

Very positive. Women will probably take the hint, but it is too subtle for the average bloke. Or they might just call your bluff.

Feel free to take your shoes off, please.

Not very grammatical, but a bit less subtle.

We all take our shoes off here.

This may work, it is human nature to try and fit in with others. Again, they might call your bluff.

(in Summer only) I get Hayfever. Could you take your shoes off, so as not to bring any pollen in?

Medical reasons are the best.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Apartments and Wood Floors

It has become very fashionable in Britain to tear out the carpet and have a fine hardwood floor fitted. No modern apartment can be seen to be without a beautiful wood floor. Some connect this trend to fears about carpets and Asthma. However, carpets do have some health benefits, most notably improved air circulation.

Regardless of the aesthetics of wood floors and regardless of the merits of wood floors vs carpet, the combination of hardwood floors and the British custom of wearing shoes at home is very bad news for people living in blocks of flats. The sound of people stomping about on a wood floor in high heels or boots can make life miserable for people living below.

If you live in an hardwood floored apartment and you have people living below, please think about your poor neighbours and take your shoes off.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How to Keep Your Carpet Looking like New

How to Keep Your Carpet Looking like New

This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD goes to... Lithuania!

Lithuania Page in Wikipedia

Lithuania HomePage

Internet Resources on Lithuania

I hereby grant the National Etiquette Award to Lithuania, as it is the norm in that country to remove shoes inside homes.

Lithuania recently joined the European Union and so Lithuanians are among the huge influx of Eastern European migrants to the United Kingdom. Personally, I have not met any Lithuanians, though there are a huge number of Poles in Worcester. I believe this wave of migration into Britain from Eastern Europe is very good for the country.

The Lithuanian language belongs to the Baltic family of languages. This Indo-European family is very ancient. In fact, Lithuanian is the closest language in Europe to Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.

Like many East European countries, Lithuania has been chopped up and divided between various European powers. It was once dominated by a German-speaking aristocracy. When Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire, the German nobility of Lithuania had considerable importance in the Czar's military and bureaucracy.

Lithuania gained her independance after the First World war, but was taken by the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Second World War, but then fell into German occupation. While many in Latvia and Estonia welcomed the Germans as liberators from the Soviets, the Lithuanians were mostly as anti-German as anti-Russian, though a few did co-operate with the Nazis. Most of Lithuania's Jewish population was wiped out by the Nazis.

After the Second World War, the Soviets were in charge again, but Communism eventually fell and the Baltic states were free.

Lithuania is a land of ancient forests. While the country is Roman Catholic, there is a strong element of Pagan nature worship that has influenced the folk religion of the country.

Should One Provide Slippers for Guests?

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In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. This will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

This is a fairly good idea, but I am not so sure. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go shoe-less, rather than wear slippers that are not their own.

I think it is a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Slippers that look like Shoes

I do not as a rule always remove my shoes when visiting other people's homes. In Britain, removing shoes is not the norm and might be considered odd or even rude. However, some people would like visitors to remove their shoes, but are afraid to make the request. I should very much like to encourage those people by my behaviour.

Hence, I only remove my shoes if the host is not wearing shoes and possibly not even then if I know they wear shoes at home sometimes.

However, some people wear slippers that look like shoes. This really can cause confusion, Men may wear leather slippers or moccasins that could pass as shoes. It was fashionable a couple of years ago to wear these slip-on sneakers. Some people started wearing them indoors as slippers. At the moment, it is very fashionable for girls to wear outdoor shoes that are identical to slippers. If somebody is wearing those indoors, how am I suppposed to know if they are slippers or not? In the summer, some people may use indoor-only flip flops as slippers.

So people, if you would like people to remove their shoes in your house, but are too polite to say, please wear slippers that look like slippers and leave lots of shoes by the door to make it obvious.

Or better still, just pluck up the courage to say "We remove our shoes in this house." You may be surpised how gracious people will be.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Climbing on Seats

At my church, there are a lot of children who like to clamber on the seats; climbing them, jumping on them or just putting their feet up on them.

Some parents are careful enougth to ensure that their children remove their shoes before doing this. However, some parents allow their children to climb on top of the seats with their shoes on. This is very anti-social.

It is not nice to sit on a seat where some child's dirty shoes have been. If you have children and attend church or any other kind of public meeting, please ensure they remove their shoes before climbing and jumping on the seats.