Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Word to Shoes-Off Advocates

It is always interesting reading forum discussions on the subject of removing shoes in homes. They do tend to get a bit heated.

One thing that bothers me about some pro-shoes-off people is the tendency to make anti-American remarks. You often get comments like:

"Those dumb Americans. The only country where people don't remove their shoes."

I really don't like crass anti-Americanism. I believe it is the modern version of the Idiot's Socialism. Personally, I don't understand how so many Americans fail to see the benefits of free healthcare, but I still believe that America is an empire of liberty and a great force for good in the world. I am sure many readers (particularly those shoes-off advocates who are strong environmentalists) take a less pro-American view than I do, but they must surely see the unpleasentness of showing spite to an whole nation.

It is necessary to point out that statements like these that cite America as being the only shoes-on country. While removing shoes is certainly not the norm in the south of the USA and in parts of the east coast, removing shoes is very common in northwestern states and two states, Hawaii and Alaska (interestingly with totally different climates) are very firmly in the shoes-off camp. Even in the south, removing shoes is becoming more common.

It is actually not the USA which is most resistant to removing shoes, but Latin countries, like Italy, Spain and South America. Removing shoes in homes is very rare in those regions. I can imagine removing shoes becoming the norm in the UK and USA, but I find it hard to imagine it becoming the norm in Spain or Chile.


Bob said...

I find your comment about free health care interesting. First off it is not free...taxes will be raised to pay for it and health care for older people...those over 65...will be cut. I could go on but most Americans have excellent coverage. yes there are problems with the system but what is being propsed does not cure the ills.

Celestial Fundy said...

That is all the thanks I get for sticking up for your country?

Ill have to write more posts praising Russia. :) They certainly take their shoes off in homes over there.

Bob said...

Funny reply...Thanks for standing up for the USA I appreciate it. I did not mean to sound ungrateful for your support but the health care issue does have me upset.
As you know we do have a shoes off home!!!
Happy New Year

Tiger Mouse said...

Yeah, thanks for sticking up for the US. (I'm from Kansas by the way.)

As far as resistance to the shoes-off policy in other countries, I don't remember where I read this, but I heard that in one country in South America (I don't remember which one though), if anything,it's rude to be barefoot upon receiving guests. I don't know if in such a case, one would need to have on real shoes or if slippers or socks would be okay.

I'm hoping that if wearing shoes inside a private home does, in fact become a NATIONWIDE no-no in the US (and I mean EVERY city, town, etc., in EVERY state, not just Alaska and Hawaii) like it is in Japan, that it will become acceptable to constantly have slippers in one's purse or something. As much as I'd like to get a pair to keep in my purse for when I need to leave my "real" shoes at the door for some reason, but due to a combination of being strapped for cash at this time and fear of my family's reaction (including nit-picky questions) I don't think that'll be happening anytime soon.

You know, maybe if a shoes-off policy does become more of the norm around here, it might be an incentive to keep one's home (relatively) in order (which I'm assuming those of you with shoes-off policies do). I know this one couple (and no, they don't have a shoes-off policy though if they did, I'd respect their wishes) whose house was SO cluttered that it's difficult to move around in, as well as find some of the furniture, let alone keep the carpet, tile, etc., clean. Chances are, one's shoes would barely, if at all, hurt the state of said house more than the clutter did.

If at some point, I DO someday break down and join the "no shoes in the house" school of thought, I will make sure I can actually FIND the floor before I worry about keeping (outside) dirt off of it.

Celestial Fundy said...

Yes, going barefoot does not go down well in South America (except in Guyana and Suriname, where there is a large East Indian population).

I don't know how well I would manage living in a Latin American country (or Spain). I did read a blog post by an Asian couple in Mexico who asked for shoes-off despite the unease of their Mexican visitors about it. I admire their courage in asserting themselves.

I would be interested to know about the behaviour of the Japanese Brazilian community.

If anybody knows about Japanese Brazilians, please share.

Bob said...

Tiger Mouse...just to put your fears at rest, my wife always has a pair of slippers...soft soled ballerina type her purse to change into when visiting.
No one has ever seemed to mind her replacing her "real" shoes for ones that do not dirty the floor or leave marks. When things improve financially you should consider it.