Thursday, October 04, 2007



There are some who think that asking guests to remove their shoes is contrary to the principle of hospitality.

This is a culturally relative matter. Albania and Turkey are countries in which hospitality is greatly valued and yet it is expected in those countries that guests remove their shoes.

The shoes-on people argue that a hostess should primarily be concerned with her guests comfort and not with the state of her carpet or floor. However, most guests will feel more comfortable after removing their shoes. They may, admittedly, be uncomfortable because they are embarassed about their feet or they feel their shoes are part of their outfit. Those problems can be dealt with by letting guests know in advance that shoes-off is expected and so they can either bring slippers or plan their outfits with bare or stocking feet in mind. Any embarassment should be minimal if guests are not taken by surprise.

In my opinion, those who insist that guests should be allowed to keep their shoes on take hospitality for granted.

When I get my own house or apartment, I may well invite you. I will give you the best seat. I will cook for you. I will serve you the best food I can. I will give you whatever you want to drink, whether it be alcoholic or not. I will give you my undivided attention. I will entertain you with conversation. If you live nearby, I will drive you home in my car. If not, I will let you stay the night. I will wash up the dishes and cutelry you have used and clean up any mess you make. Given that I am willing to do all this for you, do you really think it is so unreasonable that I ask you to take your shoes off?


Anonymous said...

Matthew...I believe that too much is made of shoe is a rule/custom that some people choose to follow in their is no differnt than not smoking or not eating certain types of food....the custom in our home is to remove your shoes....very simple...we are no less polite or hosipitable than people who do not employ this custom...of course there are situations where this rule may need to be suspended, such as for a person with a disability....but other than that if you come to our home you will be asked politely to leave your street shoes at the door.
Have a good day

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Quite so.

I am sure guests at your house have a delightful experience.

richyrich said...

I will probably be having a friend to come and stay with me for a weekend soon. Nearer the time what I will do is tell her that she should pack some slippers with her as I operate a "no shoes" policy in my house to protect my light coloured carpets.

I will extend her a warm welcome and provide her with generous hospitality and I can't see what problems she will have with being asked to come with slippers and change into them in the house, especially as I'll be informing her in advance.

I will keep you posted about how it goes if you like.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Please do. Thanks.

I have my party coming up soon.

I have not got that many RSVPs. Must be the breakdown in manners these days.

But I know there are a few coming.

God Bless


Anonymous said...

dxqrmsbzRichyrich...I agree with you...telling her in advance should not pose a problem and will avoid any akward moments when she arrives and is reminded that her shoes are to be left by the door
Matthew...I agree there has been a fall-off in manners in recent years, which is a very unfortunate development

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

On the positive side, though, if people are less worried about manners, they will be less worried about offending people by asking visitors to remove their shoes.

Anonymous said...

true, but those being asked to remove their shoes might not be as accomodating!!!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Depends how much they want to visit your home.