Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can Punks have a shoes-off policy?

A while ago, an Anarchist, Michele James-Parham was nice enough to link here on a post on her blog.

She described herself as a 'crusty punk person.'

I think I am too much of a conservative to call myself a punk. However, I do enjoy hardcore punk music. In fact, right now I am listening to Minor Threat, a band that Michele listed among favorite music. When I was 18, I aspired to be straightedge.

So can a punk adopt a shoes-off policy in his or her home? Punk rock is not generally associated with being bothered about dirt. It also might seem a little antithetical to punk to make people follow a rule.

However, in defence of punks who want shoes-off in their homes, having a shoes-off rule seems to fit in with the environmental concerns that a lot of punks have.

Furthermore, punk is all about chilling out and not being bullied by social convention. Somebody in the UK who wants a strict shoes-off rule must defy social convention to an extent.

Why should you allow guests to keep their shoes on at your party? Who cares about social convention. Live your life the way you want to!

4 comments:

Pittsburgh Midwife said...

Hey, you're talking about me -- but in a nice way!

You know, coming from an 'elbows on the table are OK' kind of person, I can see what you are saying about whether or not persons with an antiauthoritarian mindset can request that shoes be removed at the door.

However, it is a request in our house and not a requirement. Here's what we like and what we do...no one is going to send you back out the door if you don't follow. Tis different from someone mistreating my child or husband, in my eyes.

However, all of our friends (who might label themselves in a manner similar to us) have the same shoes off at the door ritual that we have, so it is just second nature for them when they come over.

At parties and other large gatherings, there are usually so many people there who take their shoes off out of habit that it's hard for one to ignore the pile-o-shoes at the door. Any person not familiar with a shoes off 'policy' would almost feel compelled to comply without ever being asked.

You bring up a good question. Even if myself and persons like me were to 'require' shoes off at the door, I can't imagine it really being 'called out' or questioned. It does warrant some thought.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for commenting. I hope more people will give their take on this.

"However, it is a request in our house and not a requirement."

There is a fine line between requesting and requiring. Once you ask somebody nicely to remove their shoes, unless they are incredibly rude, they cannot get out of removing them unless they have some good reason.

That sense of obligation makes somepeople uncomfortable about making the request. Hence, the frequent comment in discussion forums:

"I do like people to take their shoes off, but I never ask them to."

I am glad you are brave enough to be prepared to make the request.

I think what makes this interesting culturally is that in the west we associate shoes off with informality. That in itself makes the practice fit in better with the anti-establishment attitude.

I think to an extent the British or American person who adopts a shoes-off rule is re-writing the rulebook.

It is not an abandonemnt of manners, but a creative re-arrangement of them.

God Bless

Matthew

Pittsburgh Midwife said...

I agree. And with everything in life, you have a choice. You choose whether or not to ask, suggest, request, require or force people to remove the shoes...as they have the choice to do it respectfully, begrudgingly, absentmindedly or to tell you where you can shove it!

I definitely agree that it fits "in better with the anti-establishment attitude" because it causes many people to re-evaluate what they are doing (at the moment and in life in general) and it causes many people to feel uncomfortable and most people don't re-evaluate aspects of their life until they are faced with being uncomfortable.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"I definitely agree that it fits "in better with the anti-establishment attitude" because it causes many people to re-evaluate what they are doing (at the moment and in life in general) and it causes many people to feel uncomfortable and most people don't re-evaluate aspects of their life until they are faced with being uncomfortable."

I like that thought.

It just occurred to me that maybe it is like that with people having to take their shoes off when using the airport.

Suddenly passengers were having to stand in their bare feet or socks, feeling really silly.

They may have felt undignified. But maybe some of them began to think about whether their dignity really mattered all that much.

Maybe some of them thought about how a lot of things in a modern bureacratic society take away people's dignity?

Maybe some of them thought a bit about whether they really needed to fly. Was it really worth it?

Maybe some of them thought about why it mattered. They may have considered how the safety of their families was so much more important than their dignity.

It is interesting how being exposed to new situations challenges us to think in new ways.

God Bless

Matthew