Friday, February 12, 2010

Should One Provide Slippers For Guests?

re-post

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.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Not sure ehether you will remember put I posted about a week ago under a different thread about the lady who was starting weork at our home office for 1 day a week.

Well, she started on Tuesday and as soon as she arrived and had taken off her coat, she took her shoes off and spent the rest of the day in her stockinged feet.

Apart from having her shoes off she was smartly dressed ( smart blouse asnd skirt).

In the course of converstaion she said that she always took her shoes off. She said that if she was in someone's home she usually went in stockinged feet, but that she also carried a pair of slippers with her which she changed into if she was in an office type enviroment.

Tim.

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for coming back, Tim.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your messsge.

Do you think what she said makes sense?

Tim.

Sandro said...

Hi Tim, thanks for the feedback; would it be right to assume you hadn't notified her in advance, and shoes-off was her initiative?
Could you please also advise if she is of Asian or UK origins?

Sandro said...

Though you've asked Celestial Fundie, but not me, let me say IMHO what she said does make sense

Celestial Fundy said...

Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Actually what happened was on the previous thread Matthew suggested I ring her, which I did to mention the shoes off thing, and she said that she did it anyway.

No she is not Asian she is British in her mid 20o's I would guess.

I know she is a single mum and guess money is fairly tight,as I noticed that her coat was frayed and although her shoes were medium-heeled formal black shoes, I noticed when she took them off that they were rather worn and scuffed looking.

But, she is really good and always happy to do work even in the evenings and at weekends.

Hope this helps.

Tim.

sandro said...

thanks for the detailed info
I am glad to learn more and more people of European origins adopt shoes-off rules

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, would Georgians not consider themselves European?

I know Georgia is outside Europe geographically, but its historically Eastern Orthodox in religion, was part of the Russian Empire and takes part in the Eurovision song contest.

richyrich said...

Tim,

Glad that the lady who works at your home takes her shoes off when she is there. Just as a matter of interest, you say that she took off her shoes when she arrived at your home, where did she leave them, whilst she was there? Were they just left at the door or taken elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Richy,

She took them off as soon as she arrived and left them in the porch between the inner and outer doors, - if that makes sense whch is how I noticed they loooked so worn.

Do any of you have a view about her saying that she wears slippers sometimes when working in a proper office enviroment?

Tim.

Sandro said...

All the South Caucasus is geographically out of Europe and, at the same time, there is a strong will to be considered a part of European integration culturally, politically and economically, though people practice combination of Eastern, Soviet/Russian and Western values whatever they think about themselves.
Villages of course are more traditional, I mean not westernised almost at all.
Hardly can say which country is closer to Europe; one could think it is Georgia as a Christian country, but Christian Orthodoxy is not that European in values.

Sandro said...

I think stockinged feet are OK in most offices if floor is warm and clean enough.

Celestial Fundy said...

Tim, I did comment in a previous thread here that slippers in an office might come across as even more casual than stocking or bare feet.

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, is there such a place as Europe or is it just a landmass?

Russia tried so hard to be European under Catherine the Great, but she will always have a very different culture to the rest of Europe.

richyrich said...

Tim,

She probably thinks that wearing slippers is more professional than being in her stockinged feet in an office setting. As she's working in your home, she may feel that she can be less formal.

Is she due to come and work again in your house any time soon?

Moderate Mouse said...

There is a style of slipper socks that are of the same material as ones that look just like socks but take on more of the "slipper" shape. I'm talking about the ones that have that strap across the foot like you see on Mary Janes. If I was in a no-shoes home I could see those as a next best alternative to providing actual slippers (if that wasn't feasible) in case a person doesn't wish to be barefoot but doesn't have slippers of their own or isn't even in a position to have slippers on hand for some reason.

This style would probably work for female guests (and I'd have no problem to such a style myself), but male guests? Probably not. Does anyone know if there's a masculine counterpart to the Mary Jane style slipper socks that can be made available to male guests?

Sandro said...

I wrote "Europe/European" meaning EU :)

Candace said...

Hi, My husband Bob has posted on this site before and mentioned it to me. He has related the fact that I carry ballet type slippers in my purse which match my outfit that I change into when I arrive at someones home. This started years ago. I had a friend who had a no shoes policy, but "insisted" that guests wear slippers to prevent them from slipping on her hardwood floors. I had no issues with taking off my shoes when I arrived but did not like wearing slippers worn by others. I prurchased a pair of ballet slippers which we easily fit into my purse to wear when I visited her. The original pair was in black. Over time I bought other pairs in different colors to match whatever outfit I had on as I make it a practice not to wear shoes in peoples homes regardless of what others may do. No one has ever objected to this and it also saves my stockings from getting snagged!

sandro said...

Candace, had you practised shoe removal at people's homes before, or was it your friend years ago whose home not only changing into flats, but wholly shoes-off rule of yours started from?

Celestial Fundy said...

Candace, it is really nice to hear from you, seeing as Bob has mentioned you so often.

Do drop by again.

Candace said...

Sandro, I never really thought about it...I would generally take off my shoes if it was wet or the hostess was shoeless. After I got my own place I decided that shoes off was a good idea. Removing my shoes in the home of others is only fair because it is what I expect when they visit me.
Thank you Matthew...I will comment from time to time if I feel I can add and value

Sandro said...

Thank you, Candace

Anonymous said...

Richy,

Sorry about the dalay in replying.

Yes she is coming, once a week, on a Tuesday, so she will be here again tomorrow.

I am not sure why she wears slippers in offices, but you may well be correct. I certainly got the impression that she does'nt like wearing formal shoes.

Tim.

Anonymous said...

Richy,

Sorry about the dalay in replying.

Yes she is coming, once a week, on a Tuesday, so she will be here again tomorrow.

I am not sure why she wears slippers in offices, but you may well be correct. I certainly got the impression that she does'nt like wearing formal shoes.

Tim.

richyrich said...

Thanks Tim,

I hope you will let us know what the young lady does in regard to removing her shoes at your home tomorrow.

icnu said...

Hosts may provide slippers or socks, but should not be offended by guests who prefer to be barefoot, especially in the summer months. I have been to strange people like that, I was perfectly comfortable barefoot as I am at home but they constantly nagged me to put on their slippers (which didn't even fit).

When visiting others I prefer those who say "come as you are" or "shoes off please", but not those who don't allow barefoot guests, they seem to have a strange of phobia. I'm always barefoot at home, why can't I when visiting friends?

Celestial Fundy said...

Yes, that is an odd attitude.

If you don't mind my asking, where do you live in the world?

icnu said...

Central Europe. The households in question were in Germany and Austria. "You can't be barefoot in here, we have tiles on the floor! You will catch a cold!" "So what, I'm barefoot on tiles at home and I'm perfectly healthy" ...

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