Tuesday, May 29, 2007



Some people are of the opinion that it is very important that guests have the choice of whether to keep their shoes on or not.

However, it is not as simple as that. Some choices may impose on the choices of others.

Some visitors may want to take their shoes off, but may fear that doing so will be considered rude. Being informed that shoes-off is encouraged will be a great welcome for these people.

The shoes-on folks might then argue, "Yes, but you can still let people keep their shoes on without imposing on the people who prefer to go shoeless."

However, this is not the case. Firstly, those people who want to take their shoes off may fear, if there are lots of other guests, particularly at a party, that their feet may get squashed by other peoples' shoes. In a crowded party, it can be hard to avoid having people tread on your toes.

Secondly, people who take their shoes off will prefer to walk on a floor that is cleaner. In fact, there is another issue here, as Angie pointed out in a previous post. Some guests will enjoy sitting on the floor. And sitting on the floor is a much more pleasent experience when it is clean. So allowing guests the choice of wearing shoes imposes on those who like to sit on the floor.

The simple truth is that no host can please everybody. However, there are far more good reasons to insist on shoes coming off at the door than for allowing shoes to stay on. Let guests chose between slippers, socks ot barefeet. That is choice enough.


richyrich said...

And what about the right of homeowners to choose to keep their floors clean? (especially if they have chosen to have light coloured carpets) People who insist on keeping their shoes on will infringe their choice as well.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Rich, I think I came across your blog the other day. Something about fruit farming.

I agree with you. But what would you say to somebody who said that you should be more concerned about makign your guests welcome than keeping your carpet clean?

richyrich said...

I have no blog about fruit farming or anything else, someone else must have a similar sscreen name to me!

If someone did say that I shoudl be more concerned about my guests' comfort than about the cleanliness of my carpet, I would politely point out the fact that I do take great pride in my carpet and that it is very difficult to keep clean. If the person was a friend or someone I liked and s/he still insisted in keeping their shoes on, I would then as to see if there was any actual dirt on their shoes and if they weren't too bad, I would probably make an exception of them on that one occassion and then ask them if they would like me to provide them wityh slippers (or bring some slippers themselves) for future visits.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I don't think I would be brave enough to insist on inspecting a guest's shoes.

Do you keep a supply of slippers handy and is that something that you think would go down well? Or do you share my view that most British people would think borrowing slippers was weird?

richyrich said...

I'd agree with you that most British people wouldn't be too keen on the idea of using other people's slippers (they do it at National Trust properties though but they're probably disposable slippers)and that they would prefer to go barefooted or stocking footed than that. Still if I did ask them and gave them the option to bring their own slippers in future, it might make them realise how strongly I feel about the matter and maybe persuade them to take their shoes off. Still, I think that the great majority of people, if I explained to them about my carpets and they saw their light colour, they would see my point and agree to unchoe themselves.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yes, suggesting slippers is definitely the way to go.

If I invited somebody (that is if I had somewhere to invite them to other then my old folks' house) I would suggest they might like to bring slippers.

If somebody came and they were sockless I would offer socks, unless perhaps it was a hot day.

I had a young lady visit recently who kept her shoes on. I suppose she knew my parents don't mind that, but she knew how strongly I feel about it. She may have worried about getting cold feet, so I would have offered her socks if it had been my own place.