Monday, April 21, 2008

It is not Selfish to ask Visitors to Remove their Shoes


Some people claim it is selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes. They think that it shows excessive concern for one's carpet or flooring.

On the contrary it is not selfish at all.

Firstly, there is an health issue involved. Peoples' shoes pick up dust and animal excrement which is not good for one's health and especially bad for the health of one's children. If one has babies or small children that play on the floor it is extremely sensible to keep one's home shoe-free.

There are many worries today about the health risks posed by pollution, toxins and chemicals. Personally, I think many of these health scares are exagerrated. Many of the supposed health risks have not been scientifically verified. However, it is best to keep as much nasty stuff out of the house as possible.

Secondly, the notion of selfishness here is relative. In a country where shoe-removing is the norm, like Finland or Russia, it would hardly be selfish to insist on shoes-off.

In Britain or the USA, where keeping shoes on is the norm, there are many people who would like to insitute a shoes-off policy, but who are afraid of causing offence or being deemed 'selfish.' If a person is brave enough to insist on shoes-off, she makes it easier for those other people who feel that they would like to make their homes shoe-free. In time, the norms of the UK and the USA may change and shoe-removing may become as normal as it is in Thailand or Sweden.


Anonymous said...

I do believe shoes are not to be worn indoors. Their function is to protect us from street dirt, so wearing shoes indoors is improper.
Walking at people's homes with one's stockinged feet is comfortable and cozy. It is so nice to feel a carpet under your feet! You enter into a physical and emotional contact with your host's home when you're without your shoes. This custom develops home intimacy and, therefore, is beautiful.
Those who say they lose their outfit when shoes off could be replied: why don't you then leave your coats and hats on indoors? Socks and nylons are components of our appearance as well; they can be both elegant and fitting the whole appearance.
As many people, unfortunately, still don't share this logic, it is often considered rude to offer visitors "remove your shoes please". Yet I think one should always help other people to follow ideas he/she believes in. Allowing other people's stay in their shoes only looks polite; in contrast, it only indicates the host fears seeming rude more than breaking his/her own values.
I always take my shoes off at other people's homes. But, frankly, I had never asked my visitors to remove their shoes till recent. Luckily, 99% kick off their shoes either 'cause they share my view or just see my stockinged feet.
However, one of my new friends recently made me ask her to remove her shoes.
When she had com to my place for the first time, she unzipped and took off her high boots as soon as she entered my apartment. At her next visit she suddenly asked my permission to stay in boots explaining it's difficult to take them off. It was so unexpected that I said OK supposing she really had a different excuse (maybe torn stockings etc.) she didn't want to talk about;
However, I saw physical and psychological discomfort she obviously felt in her high boots while staying at my place. Therefore, I decided to ask her to take her shoes off when she came again.
So I did it; to my astonishment, she said she just couldn't take them off! So, it was another time when she stayed in shoes at my place. For a couple of the next times, she returned to shoes-off (with the same boots, BTW, which proves her excuses had been different as I had guessed) without my additional requests, and I thought she did so because I'd asked her once. However, when she again asked me for shoes-on permission with the same explanation (but for a different pair of shoes), I understood it would become a system if not stopped. While she was leaving, I at last could bring myself to ask her for shoes-off in a bit more persuasive manner. She said OK, and since then she has been following this rule and apparently enjoys comfort of shoes off at my home.
I am just asking myself: what had I been afraid of? to disturb her comfort?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for visiting.

I quite agree with you that it is a beautiful custom.

Thanks for the story of the lady and her boots.

I think it does make it easier for people when you just ask them.

Do you mind my asking where you are from? It is interesting to see where people are coming from.

God Bless


Anonymous said...

I am from Georgia

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

You are going to hate this; but I am guessing that is Georgia in the USA as opposed to the country, Georgia?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Wait a minute, I must be mistaken.

You are from the Republic of Georgia, are'nt you?

I am guessing your server operates through Azerbiajan, which is why you come up on the sitemeter as coming from Azerbiajan.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Why could'nt the Americans come up with original place names?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am from the Republic of Georgia; have no idea about my server )

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I cannot recall the site meter reporting anybody from Georgia visiting, but it does say a person, apparently from Azerbaijan visits nearly every day.

I take it that is yourself. The site meter usually reports me as coming from a different part England to where I am, so I presume that it has misreported your location too.

Tell me, removing shoes seems to be the norm in most former Soviet countries. Would I be right in thinking that removing shoes in homes is common in Georgia too?

Anonymous said...

it is common for my surroundings

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

That is good.

If you dont mind, I am going to post part of your first comment.