Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Always in Slippers

In my opinion, providing slippers for guests is not necessary. If people know the home is shoes-off, they can bring their own slippers and if they have not visited before it is hardly a great endurance to be in socks or bare feet.

Some people insist that providing slippers is a must by pointing out the example of Japan:

In Japan, you are not expected to go bare foot; the host will always give you slippers.


This is actually an half-truth. It is true that hosts will normally provide slippers in Japanese homes. However, these are intend to be worn in the hallway and kitchen. Bedrooms and living rooms normally have tatami (grass mat) flooring. It is expected that one removes slippers and step on the tatami in either stocking or bare feet.

Carpet has become more common in Japan and often it is expected that one removes slippers even before stepping into carpeted rooms.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I work in sales and marketing / promotion for a double glazing company.

I just keep a pair of slippers in my bag and when visting client's homes just change into them and leave my shoes at the door.

This way I don't need to worry if I have stepped in something or my shoes are wet or dirty.

Also it's usefull having slippers with you anyway as you can just chsange into them if your shoes are un-comfortable.

Am I correct in thinking there was a lady, I think her name was Becky on here a while ago? who worked in a libaary who wore slippers in work.

Some of the other girls I work with wear their shoes in clien'ts homes but it just would'nt feel right to me.

Byt the way I am UK based so hope my slipper habit does'nt sound weird!!

Kerry.

Celestial Fundy said...

Not weird at all. Thanks for visiting. I always like to hear from people who live in this country.

We did have such a visitor.

Do you prefer people to remove their shoes in your home?

Anonymous said...

Yes I do ask people to rempove their shoes in my flat.

I agree with the general thing about not walking dirt in.

The other thing, and this sounds awful I know but I am very bad at cleaning my shoes, typical girl!!. So while I always try yo look smart in work etc, my shoes are often fairly grey looking when they should be navy!!

Kerry.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry,

Yes you did read about me.

I stil read this blog and love it, but haven't posted because I did'nt have much of interest to sy really.

I still wear slippers in work, and I mentioned a colleague Rachel who started to work with her shoes off. She was told by a regional libarin that it was in breach of health and safety to work in her stckinged feet!!

As she did'nt wat to wea her shoesshe bought sme slippers in to wear as weel, so now ther are 2 of us!!

Hope you are all well.

Becky.

Celestial Fundy said...

Kerry, I have never been good at cleaning dress shoes either. Thankfully, these days I normally wear casual shoes in my job.

Moderate Mouse said...

I'm not that good about cleaning shoes either (though I will try to with dress shoes at least). At the thrift store I'm volunteering at, I usually wear sneakers (which I probably should get replaced when the opportunity arises; same is true for a pair of Mary Janes that I normally wear to church and for when I go to request/turn in/check on job applications). I'd maybe wear one of the pairs of strappy sandals my mom had gotten me but 1) There are still cold days on tap in my hometown and 2) I don't know for sure whether or not they will be acceptable on duty. (I've been volunteering since February, and staff members usually wear jeans or slacks as far as I know. I haven't been to said store in the summer, so I don't know whether or not any staff members ever wear things like shorts, capris, sandals, etc., on duty. I mostly just stick to clothing that as far as I'm aware conduces to a family environment.)

I don't know if working shoeless in the library is necessarily a health/safety problem, but I know I could never do that personally. If anyone's content to work unshod in a job that doesn't normally warrant it, good for them, but for psychological reasons, I could never bring myself to follow their example, especially if formal attire is somehow involved and/or it's in a "no shoes no shirt no service" kind of environment (and there are tons of places in the US that have that rule).

Sandro said...

recently saw a funny situation: one local girl didn't let her American guest remove her boots while she had said nothing when I and my wife took ours off :)

Celestial Fundy said...

I suppose she was trying to be hospitable in a culturally appropriate way. Rather daft though.

Sandro said...

it's quite a typical way many people in ex-USSR think they should show their hospitality )
maybe they want to say "you can ruin my floors if you want" )
or they think guests may not like to take their shoes off
in this case, she must have thought the American represented a shoes-on culture

Moderate Mouse said...

"in this case, she must have thought the American represented a shoes-on culture"

Speaking as someone from the US, in my experience, more often than not, regardless of whether the host/hostess had on "real" shoes or was in slippers or less, guests generally keep their shoes on at all times by default. (One exception might be if the guest in question was in overnight guest.) I may be wrong, but it seems that the idea is that while it's one thing to be unshod in one's own home as that's the place where you relax and just be you, if you're a guest, it's like you've got a certain amount of formality to maintain (even if you're in say, jeans and a t-shirt) and being unshod seems to run counterproductive to that. It just does. (Feel free to prove me wrong.)

Celestial Fundy said...

MM, comments on the internet on this and other websites would suggest that guests keeping on shoes is not an universal norm in the USA.

"I may be wrong, but it seems that the idea is that while it's one thing to be unshod in one's own home as that's the place where you relax and just be you, if you're a guest, it's like you've got a certain amount of formality to maintain (even if you're in say, jeans and a t-shirt) and being unshod seems to run counterproductive to that."

You sound like one of the so-called "etiquette experts" who make up rules for the rest of us.

Who says that going shoeless is too informal? Who made you lord and judge over what is formal and what is not?

In a society in which a guest can wear jeans, I see no basis for making some rule that shoes must be worn as well, particularly when it inconveniences hosts by bringing in all kinds of filth.

Moderate Mouse said...

I'm really, really sorry if my comment from earlier (the one that you said made me sound like one of those etiquette experts that made the rules for everyone else) upset you, CF. I never intended to make any claim of expertise regarding when and under what circumstances shoes come off or stay on. The connection between shoelessness and informality has been mentioned by other people in other forums. (And I do understand that even if shoelessness was problematic to formality, there are ways around it.)

As far as guests keeping their shoes on, that's the norm that I personally grew up on. Other people, in the US or elsewhere, may have been taught otherwise, but at this time, I can only go by what I've personally experienced. I don't know for sure if the shoes on thing was a formality issue or what, but it may have been an implication. Believe me, if shoes-off in other people's homes was closer to what I've dealt with on a regular basis, I'd be prepared accordingly. I really would. I'd also leave my shoes at the door if I was requested to do so. But for now, the best I can do is follow the lead of those around me.

Again, I'm really sorry if I upset you. That was never my intention. It never is. If my comments are in fact so offensive, I will gladly shut up, and you won't hear from me again.

Celestial Fundy said...

Actually, I was not upset. I just gave a rather forceful reply.