Thursday, January 10, 2008

Choice

re-post

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.

7 comments:

Sacramento Bob said...

The soled alternative:

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. We call these people “hospitable”.

And it really is as simple as that. When given a choice, it only imposes on the choices of others if they chose to let it.

Some visitors may want to take their shoes off, and they may rightly fear that doing so will be considered rude by either the host or other guests. After all, it’s not like their invoking their right to keep THEIR home dirt/germ/contaminant free so others may well view them as eccentric or inappropriately casual! But being informed by the host that shoes-off is encouraged will be a great welcome for these people, regardless of their socially inappropriate behavior.

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

And, in fact, this is the case. Admittedly, 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. But those with a shoeless habit must be aware of the need to tread carefully because toe-stubs are a common hazard when going shoeless in their own home, even in the absence of those wearing shoes.

Some of the most paranoid people who take their shoes off will prefer to walk on a floor that hasn’t been contaminated by the soles of shoes. And some guests who prefer to sit on the floor may be freaked out knowing that they’re sitting where “filthy shoes” have tread. But we can’t all expect the perfect environment for our enjoyment when we visit the homes of others, especially when our tastes are sufficiently out of step with prevailing social norms.

The simple truth is that no host can please everybody. However, if you read the previous post listing reasons to go shoeless and the comment listing the reasons to wear shoes, you’ll see that there are far more good reasons to insist on shoes staying on at the door than for allowing shoes to come off. Despite this, as a host you should opt for hospitality and set guests chose between shoes, socks or bare feet. That is choice enough.

Sacramento Bob

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks, for giving your view.


Anybody else is welcome to jump in and give their view.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to leave a brief comment. I found this blog a few months ago, and I'm sort of surprised at the reaction of some posts.

I am definitely an "offalist". When I first moved out into my own place I established a shoes-off policy in my apartment. My wife is also a shoes-off person, and when we bought our house a couple years ago, we made sure to institute a shoes off policy. We also keep a small sign outside our front door. While we don't have a lot of visitors, those close acquaintances and friends have no problem with taking their shoes off, and in fact, all of them have commented how much they like it. For those stopping by for very short visits, we don't push the issue as much.

I believe the shoes-off custom has become much more common in the past 5-10 years, and I imagine it will continue to do so. It is definitely much cleaner to keep outdoor shoes from the house, and I find it calming to leave the worries of the outside world as I take off my shoes at home and relax. I must say I'm also a fan of the many fashionable socks and slippers that are out there today, so I always enjoy going to a home with a shoes-off policy.

Paul

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Paul, thanks so much for commenting.

Shoeless Bob said...

Mattthew...a little bit of shoes off reversal....this past week my wife was in NYC on business and while there stopped in to see a friend who has been ill and has a home health care worker in her home while she recovers. Our friend has a no shoes policy in her home which my wife is well aware of. When she arrived, the health care worker answered the door, as my wife was entering she was told to please remove her shoes. My wife replied, of course, I am aware of the house rules. As she was taking off her shoes she noticed that the health care worker was wearing shoes that obviously had been worn outdoors. My wife suggested to the worker that she too should remove her shoes if she was asking others to.
The health worker, smiled and said you are correct and removed her shoes. Found this exchange interesting in that if one is asking for shoes to be removed, the asker should not be wearing outdoor shoes and my wifes retort about the health worker shoes being removed too.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Shoeless Bob. that is really interesting.

It seems obvious that the health worker ought to have removed her own shoes before asking others too.

I suppose it must have been a kind of professional mindset.

Her attitude was probably 'I am at work so I stay in my shoes.' Guests removing their shoes computed with her, but removing her own shoes while on the job probably did not compute.

Interesting one.

My mother is an health worker. I believe she has visited some no-shoes homes, but I have never had a conversation about it with her.

God Bless

Matthew

shoeless Bob said...

Matthew...thanks for your reply...perhaps you can ask your Mother what she encountered...have a good day