Thursday, April 15, 2010

The relationship between host and guest


Some people seem to see the shoes-off rule as an unfair restriction on the freedom of guests. I think that is a very sad attitude.

I rather see the removing of shoes as a beautiful and peaceful exchange between host and guest.

The guest removes her shoes when she enters the home. She shows respect to the house she is entering. She does not treat it like a restaurant where her custom is king. Nor does she treat it as her own home, where she may do as she pleases. She has entered the home of another family and she must respect the fact that their lives are lived here.

The hostess is in turn delighted by the respect that the guest shows her. In removing her shoes, the guest has entered into the environment of her family. The hostess will treat her guest with all the courtesy and kindness that she would show to her own family members. She will take care to look after her to the utmost while she remains under her roof. She will serve her the best food, give her the best seat. If necessary she will drive her home in her car or let her stay the night.

In removing her shoes, the guest becomes like the hostess, who is already shoeless. She identifies with the hostess who has welcomed her into her home. In their both becoming shoeless, the host and guest enter a fellowship and unity. They are both without shoes; they are equals. This is true friendship.


Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog and wonder whether you or any of your followers can give me some advice?

I never wear shoes at home and always remove them when visiting friends etc.

My dilema is that I am down to the final 2 for a job as PA to the Chairman of a property company. The first interviews took place at the office of the recruitment consultant, but the final interview is at his home.

I should explain that the job is based at his home, which is described as "a private manor house in a country location" - sounds great and I would love to get this job.

My question, as you may have guesssed, is what I should do about shoe removal at the interview as I will be at his home.

As you can imagine although I am completely in favour of shoes off at home, I don't really want to do a job interview in my staockinked feet!! ( I am planning on wearing a buisiness suit with jacket and skirt and heels).

I really don't know what to do and any advice would be much appreciated.

I wondered about asking the lady at the recruitment consultant's as I know she has visited the property, but I have no idea what her attitiude to shoe removal is!!


Celestial Fundy said...

Charlotte, if it were a social visit, you could do as you please, but with it being an interview, yoiu have to keep up with the expectations of the interviewer.

It seems daft to me to wear shoes in an antique manor house, but I imagine the owners might want to pretend they belong to the gentry and walk about the house in shoes.

It is probably best to take your cue from whoever answers the doors.

You could ask to remove your shoes, but there is no guarantee this will impress the interviewer.

On the other hand, you could just be yourself and do what you normally do.

It will probably be more obvious what you should do on the day than it seems now when you are planning ahead.

I don't know if any of that helps.

I read on twitter that somebody had been interviewed by some fashion designer and had been asked to remove her shoes and do the interview sitting on the floor! So you never know.

Sandro said...

Of course, if you consider the shoes-off policy a right thing, you should follow it whatever other people think;
IMHO, stockinged feet can look perfect and quite official, so I see no problem for it to match a job-interview environment all the more that it's going to be at the employer's home, and shoes would look wrong in a home environment.
At the same time, you may be at risk of losing your chance of promotion if your prospective employer is a shoes-on person; but if he is not, or even is the opposite, you may win a great advantage from your removing your shoes (who knows maybe he as the interview at his home to check the shoe issue?).
Anyway, you may understand his attitude to the policy as soon as he answers the door (if he is in shoes or not/ some shoes at the door etc.).
If it still remains unclear at the start, simply ask before entering something like "shall I take off my shoes?" Even if he says "no", he may expect the opposite from you, but just think it is polite to say "no" in such cases.
At last, if you stay in your shoes at your first visit, you may start taking your shoes off in future in case you get the job and convince your boss shoes-off is the right option (if you believe it's right as we do, wouldn't it be a good way to help someone else join it as well?)
Thank you for the question, Charlotte, and please feedback esp. when you go to that interview!

Celestial Fundy said...

I think its like if a creationist student is taking a science exam or writing an essay on science.

She might not accept the theory of evolution, but if she wants to pass the course, she needs to write what the examiner expects to be written.

You need to do what the interviewer expects you to do regardless of your own custom.

But then, you never know what will happen on the day.

It will all be clearer when you arrive.

Just don't wear strappy shoes- you don't want to look awkward taking them off, if removing seems appropriate on the day.

Moderate Mouse said...


I don't know if this will help, but do you by any chance have access to a store that carries slippers, namely ones that look like the currently in style ballet flats? (There are at least three where I live.)

I've got two pairs of said styles of slippers myself: one pair in black and one pair in white and so far have found that these tend to work well with basically anything from jeans and a top to more formal attire. (By the way, while this is not to say that I NEVER wear shoes at home, I do limit the circumstances under which I do.)

Again, I don't know if this will help, but slippers I've just mentioned if you really are reluctant to combine your business suit with stocking feet but want to hold true to your convictions on shoes in the home.

Moderate Mouse said...

I don't know when/if you'll see this or when/if you'll be able to get back to me on this, CF, but I wanted to see if it would be okay with you if, for my newest blog, "The Way Of The Accommodite," I included a link to your blog, more specifically the post about the Tramplian vs. the Offalist. (There's at least one blogger that I know of who doesn't want people linking to her blog without permission, which I don't necessarily blame her. I didn't know if you felt the same way as well.)

The reason that I'm asking this is because I'm doing a blog about how a certain type of person called the Accommodite (who let's just say is most likely to have a submissive personality, which I consider myself to have), and I want to do a post on how the Accommodite would handle the whole shoe issue (for which the Tramplian vs. Offalist blog would be referenced). Long story short, while the Accommodite doesn't necessarily begrudge the Tramplian or Offalist views on whether or not shoes are worn in the home, the Accommodite prefers to take a more, um, flexible approach herself.

Again, I just wanted make sure it'd be okay if I link to your blog. If you'd rather I didn't, I understand, and I'll see about something else.

Celestial Fundy said...

I am always happy for people to link to this blog.

I think it is silly to object to people linking. A blog is in the public domain. Why blog, if you don't want people accessing it?

Of course, I can understand the complaint of a certain charity which got linked by the website of a certain far-right organisation.

Jenny said...

Hi Matthew,
This is Jenny from
Wow, you really do have a whole blog on removing shoes at the door. I am enjoying your articles!
The relationship between host and guest is a good point. Today, a woman's shoe is one way for her to make a statement. By removing shoes, maybe we become a little bit more humble when entering the home.

Moderate Mouse said...

Thanks, CF.

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for dropping in, Jenny.

Sandro said...

Jenny, IMHO, you become more attractive in this way, but not humble )

Anonymous said...

Hi Charlotte,

I think a few people have posted on here about wearing slippers in work.

Just wondering whether you are aware that there are some fairly smart slippers avaible?

I must admit i would be a bit reluctant to do this myself, but my daughter does it all the time. She found some leather mule slippers in Russell and Bromley.
They were about £50 I'm afraid , but she says they are ideal for wearing in work and look smart as well.

Hope this helps.


Anonymous said...

Ooh thanks those sound good and there is a Russell and Bromley near me.

Thanks to everyone else as well.

The interview is on Thurs this week, so hopefully I will think of something by then!!


Sandro said...

Hello Charlotte,
so have you had the interview, and what's been with the shoes-off?