Friday, July 31, 2009

Housewarming Parties

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If you are moving into a new house or apartment and you want to make a clean start and have a no-shoes rule, you have an ideal opportunity to kick it off with an housewarming party.

The best thing to do is to indicate clearly on invitations that you will be requiring shoes-off. That way people will have no surpises. They can bring slippers, wear clean socks with no holes or a floaty skirt that looks great with barefeet (Trinny and Susanah actually recommend that hostesses of dinner parties should wear a long skirt with barefeet or slippers).

Having an housewarming party is such an excellent way to send the message that your new house will be a shoe-free zone. Even those of your friends who do not come will see on the invitation that you want shoes-off.

Requiring shoes-off at a housewarming party sends the message that you are really serious about the rule and that it is not just an exception for a wet winter evening. After all, some people with shoeless homes actually make an exception and allow shoes-on in parties. However, having shoes-off at an housewarming makes it clear that you want the house to stay as it was when you bought it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Being Proactive

A major part of my job is making people aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. I have to be proactive in my day job. So I thought maybe I should be more proactive in promoting my pet cause.

To that end I asked a colleague whether she wore shoes in her house. She replied that she did, though she also wore those slippers socks some times. I asked her whether she was concerned about the wear and tear to her carpet. She replied that she had never even thought about that (probably the reaction of the average 18-year old when I warn them that drinking seven pints of lager is a bad idea). When I explained my policy, she said she thought people had ever right to insist on no-shoes in their homes.

Inspiration?

Sneaker thief's stupid police station raid

This totally reminded me of A Woman's Right to Shoes, the infamous Sex and the City episode where Carrie's shoes are stolen at a shoes-off party.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Totally Together: Creating a Mud Room—even if you don’t have one.

Totally Together: Creating a Mud Room—even if you don’t have one.

Children

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I am always a little surprised when I see children wearing shoes at home, whether on television or in person. It surprises me because when I was a child, my parents expected me to remove my shoes at the door. When I visited my friends' homes, their parents often expected me to take my shoes off. So it always seems a little strange when I see children keeping their shoes on at home.

The practise of removing shoes was expected until I reached the age of about 12. My parents became less stringent about it as I got older. Occasionally this house rule would be revived in later years. It was restored when I was 21 when my parents and I moved to a house with cream carpets, though they were not consistent in keeping to it.

There are some homes, in the UK, where the hosts will expect the children of guests to remove their shoes, but would not expect it of adult guests. Some guests will insist that their children remove their shoes without removing their own. I can understand why some people may be more concerned about children's shoes; children do tend to be less careful about what they step in and are more likely to run around in long and wet grass. However, adults should never forget that their own shoes pick up an awful lot of less noticeable dirt. There is also the fact that children learn to follow rules better when adults act consistently. There is a certain amount of 'do as I say, not do as I do' in the requirement of shoes-off for children only.

Some childcare experts are of the opinion that children should wear shoes to the minimum necessary and therefore recommend shoes-off indoors for health reasons.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Really?

Working at the hospital is turning me into a weird telly addict who does not own a television. Yesterday, I saw an episode of the soap Hollyoaks on the staff room television.

In this episode there was a south asian family who were wearing shoes in their home. While removing shoes is the norm in countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, I know that some south asians in Britain do keep their shoes on. I visited a Pakistani family who wore shoes in their house (though I did not see the house upstairs, perhaps they did not wear shoes upstairs). Nevertheless, I am not entirely convinced by what I saw in the programe. They had their shoes on the whole time they were onscreen in the episode (at home), both upstairs and downstairs and the lady was wearing boots. Does anybody wear boots indoors?

I think this had more to do with the weird tendency of t.v. drama to always show people with their shoes on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One of those 'Housey' Programes again

There was a 'housey' programe on the t.v. in the hospital accident and emergency waiting room. In this programe, a couple are shown a variety of properties that they might like to buy.

When the couple finally chose their property, both they and the two presenters were shoeless in it. A good deal of the time, the presenters of these programes never take their shoes off, but you get exceptions.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Visited my new neighbour

I visited my new neighbour yesterday. We had coffee together, then later went for an India take-away.

I removed my shoes without being asked. He was in his socks himself. His carpet was as light in colour as mine, if not slightly lighter, so not wearing shoes in the apartment makes sense.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watched an anime film yesterday

I watched an anime film yesterday, Spirited Away. I got it at a very low price at the DVD sale in Tescos. Anime films are getting pretty popular here in the west. As I have commented on this blog before, a lot of western young people are exposed to a lot of Japanese culture (including removing shoes) through media.

I love Japanese culture, but I prefer not to make this too obvious. Lots of other people love Japanese culture, so being a big fan of Japanese things is hardly original. Loving Japan is one of the characteristics of the liberal, middle class whites satirised in the blog Stuff White People Like.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Smelly Feet

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The issue of 'smelly feet' is often raised as an argument against the Shoes-Off rule.

In Western society there seems to be a lot of paranoia about the phenomena of 'smelly feet'. I think this is simply a result of people not removing their shoes very often. Your feet will actually smell a lot less if you remove your shoes regularly. It is unfortunate that we in Britain have not yet reached the civilised heights of Finland, where it is acceptable to remove shoes in business meetings and on trains (not that people do not do so in Britain, but it is frowned upon somewhat).

Nevertheless, I think most people worry too much about this issue. People imagine their feet smell far more than they actually do. I have met very few people who let off much of an aroma after removing their shoes, and most of them were people who did not wash and change their socks regularly.

If people know in advance that they need to remove their shoes, they can make sure they wear clean socks, or even better, bring slippers with them. If they are especially worried about it, they can use some of those fancy foot deoderents.

Feet wil smell a lot less if people wear sandals. Sneakers are best avoided in favour of leather shoes.

Some people will say 'I would rather put up with a dirty floor than people's smelly feet.' Well, I guess people decide on their own priorities. However, stinking feet will leave with the guests. A dirty floor will not. Nor will the dust they brought in on their shoes, and that is very bad for your health.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Neighbour

A new neighbour moved into the apartment downstairs. He seemed a very nice chap and a I invited him in for a cup of tea.

He was from south Wales. Naturally, I asked him to remove his shoes. I suspected, that being from wild Wales, he might not be aware of how us civilised folks in Hertfordshire are so houseproud.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Athlete's Foot

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An unpleasent fungal infection.

A lot of people mention Athlete's Foot as an argument against people having a shoes-off policy. However, this is a quite unnecessary concern.

Athlete's Foot is generally associated with swimming pools and changing rooms. It is possible to catch Athlete's Foot on one's barefeet at a swimming pool or in a locker room. However, recent research indicates that this is not so likely as was previously thought.

Most importantly, the reason people catch Athlete's Foot in those places is not because people there are barefoot, but because the fungus needs a warm and wet environment. People get exposed to the fungus in the damp conditions. If they fail to dry their feet, the fungus is very comfortable and even more so if the victim puts on sweaty socks.

The fungus will not survive long on the clean, dry floor or carpet of a person's home and so you are very unlikely to catch Athlete's Foot in somebody's house, even if the owner has the condition.

What is more, people who are not wearing socks are likely to put on sandals when they leave, as opposed to closed shoes. Thus, they will not create the right environment for the condition to thrive.

Of course, if you are worried about it, you can always bring some slippers or socks when you visit a shoes-off home.

People who have a shoes-off policy ought to let their visitors know in advance and be willing to lend a pair of clean socks, if not slippers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Go Ahead: Make Everyone Take Off Their Shoes at Your Door

Go Ahead: Make Everyone Take Off Their Shoes at Your Door

'Lose Those Shoes Before Entering', by Jasmin Malik Chua

'Lose Those Shoes Before Entering', by Jasmin Malik Chua

A slideshow on Good Housekeeping

Holiday Party Etiquette 101

A hostess is within her rights to ask guests to remove their shoes — especially if it's snowing or raining outside. If it makes you uncomfortable, bring an extra pair of your own shoes so you won't have to go barefoot. In fact, she should offer slippers so you won't be cold or embarrassed. That said, a good hostess should be flexible. If she doesn't know her guests well or is having a big party, she should suspend the no-shoes rule, at least for one night.


The Good Housekeeping magazine has consistently been very favourable towards the idea of a shoes-off rule.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Time for a Show of Strength: "I'm Gwyneth Paltrow!"

Do you remember the bit at the end of the film Spartacus? The bit where a group of people being crucified all show their solidarity by declaring "I'm Spartacus!" It was parodied in the film 'The Life of Brian' with another group of crucified folks shouting "I'm Brian!"

Let's show the world that we stand together. Let's show them that we will not be dismissed as anally retentive, obsessive compulsive or germophobic.

If you want to show the world you are with us, who don't like shoes being worn in our homes, then declare with me:

"I'm Gwyneth Paltrow!"

Okay, maybe she might not cut the figure of Spartacus, but she's famous and she has a shoes-off rule.

Come on people, let's show the world how many of us there are. If you have a shoes-off policy in your home, type "I'm Gwyneth Paltrow!" in the comments box. Please also write where abouts in the world you are from.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

How House Proud are You?

How House Proud are You?

Another article about that survey.

I find it amazing to think that a third of British people ask guests to remove their shoes. Do you think I can claim any credit for this? I am starting to feel triumphalistic.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Should one provide slippers for guests?

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In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. It is argued that this will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

I am not inclined to think so. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go barefoot, rather than wear slippers that are not their own. In conversations I have had with people about Japan, I have noticed people go 'ew' at the idea of wearing borrowed slippers.

It might be a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sock Shop

Sock Shop is a firm that sells only socks and hoisery. According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, it is relaunching its chain of specialist stores. These stores had not been much of a success in the past.

As I favour flip flops all the time, I only wear socks at work (sometimes) or when there is snow. I can't see myself buying many pairs from Sock Shop. But I totally approve of the shop. If people buy fancy and stylish socks, they are going to want to show them off and are not going to reming removing their shoes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wow, this confirms a lot of things

Britain’s ‘Chaps’ Too (House) Proud To Party

18-24 year olds are Britain's most house-proud and cautious hosts, as financial concerns around home dramas turn people into paranoid party poopers, reveals Greenbee Home Insurance.

Step aside Hyacinth Bucket. Turning stereotypes on their head, research reveals that 18-24 year olds are turning into a nation of CHAPS…that’s Cautious Hosts Against Party Stress. Twenty-six per cent of the house-proud and overly cautious young hosts make guests remove their shoes to safeguard their floors, almost double that of those aged 65+ (14%) who may have been expected to be the most mishap-minded.


A study has found that young people in Britain aged 18-24 are the most likely hosts to ask guests to remove their shoes. Apparently this is most common in the Midlands (where I have lived most of my life).

Maybe I am a but surpised about the Midlands bit. In my experience, removing shoes is more common in the south.

But as for young people, I totally see that. The article mentions finance as being the main reason, but I think it is also the fact that many of us were required to remove shoes when we were children. We have sort of grown up with removing shoes.

The future is bright, the future is Offalist

What did they do?

One of the letting agents visited my apartment today to carry out an inspection. I was at work at the time, though I knew one was coming.

I can't help wondering whether the agent took her shoes off. I was not there to ask her, but she would have seen my 'Please take your shoes off' doormat. What did she do?