Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Refuseniks

re-post

If asked to remove their shoes, most people are polite enough to comply. However, it is always possible that there may be some refuseniks.

If somebody refuses to remove her shoes, the host has several options:

1. Not let them in.

2. Let them in, but express one's unhappiness. Not invite them in again.

3. Let them in, express one's unhappiness, but invite them again hoping that next time they will comply.

4. Let them in and say nothing. Not invite them again.

5. Let them in and say nothing. Invite them again in hope that next time they will be more polite.

There is no right or wrong response. Whether you let them in and whether you invite them again entirely depends upon your wishes.

You have every right to refuse to admit somebody to your home. If a person is visiting to sell you a product or service, or to promote their religious organisation (usually Jehovah's Witnesses are polite enough to offer shoes-off) then you might well refuse to let them in. On the other hand, if your boss is visiting, it might be a bad idea to refuse to let her in!

If the visitor is not a close friend, but a person you have invited to dinner in order to make close acquaintance with, you have every right to never let them darken your door again. On the other hand, you may not want to lose a close friend over the issue. However, you might feel more comfortable expressing your unhappiness to a close friend than to an occasional visitor.

There is simply no right or wrong response to refuseniks.

Would you let somebody in your house if they refused to remove their shoes when asked?

49 comments:

Moderate Mouse said...

Sorry to do this to you once again, but there were some spelling errors I noticed:

1. The first sentence after the list of options read "There is not right or wrong response." I wasn't sure if you meant to say "There is NO right or wrong response" or "There is not A right or wrong response." [Emphases mine]

2. In the second to last sentence in the second to last paragraph, where I'm sure you meant to say "lose," there was an extra "o."

3. In the sentence that follows that, where I'm sure you meant to say "AN occasional visitor," it reads "A occasional visitor" [again, emphases mine].

[P.S. I don't know anyone in my life who has a shoes-off policy so I don't know how they would ever handle these refuseniks that you speak of.]

Kev said...

If we're discussing the construction of the post:

1) Is just fine.

2) OK but would work better with "tight" in place of "close".

3) Guilty as charged.

As for myself, unless there were reasons for "shoes-off" blatent for all to see, I'd simply make alternative arrangements in the future; them playing a role in it befitting their general attitude.

Moderate Mouse said...

By the way, if I'm wrong about any of the stuff I've "noticed" (e.g. I mistake a mechanically correct word or phrase for an error or if what may look like a spelling error to me is simply an alternative to whatever spelling I've grown up on), I apologize. The things I point out on the mechanics are based on MY understanding of what's supposed to happen, but again, I apologize if I'm at all off the mark.

(I'd also be lying if I said that I've NEVER had any grammatical errors in any of my own writing.)

Moderate Mouse said...

I'm currently reading a book that takes place in Nantucket. Normally, I wouldn't bring it up here, but it just so happens that, last night, I came across a part that, though minor, is shoes-off related.

Two of the characters, Josh and Melanie, were um, borrowing someone else's house. (I'm afraid you don't want to know why they were there.) Anyway, when they get in, Josh takes off his shoes, and tells Melanie to do take hers off as well, to which she says, "Ohhh-kay" and he says, "I know...Sorry."

The Author doesn't say that she did, but it can be assumed that she did. But what we do find out is this: "The floors were made of rare would...and the rule was: No shoes, not even if you were the Queen of England."

(And the book is called 'Barefoot' if that counts for anything.)

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for sharing that. Perhaps some visitors may be interested to read it.

Kev said...

LOL don't worry, or even get me started on debating spelling with Americans!:)

Any language that isn't dead is bound to evolve, but Shakespeare proves no part of it need become extinct. I would assume one needs to live in a particular region for a time to fully understand how its language works.

The book sounds interesting based on its setting, if nothing else. I'll look it up.

My chip in here is the film Echoes of a Summer, from about 1976 and starring Jodie Foster and Richard Harris. If you don't know it, and keeping it brief enough to avoid your eyes being too moist to finish reading this post: there's a particularly tender scene with two kids on a beach and they decide to kiss, but one of them suggests that they should take off their shoes first, which they do.

Only ever seen it once, on TV back in about '82. The last time I thought to check, it wasn't available for easy purchase although that may have changed...

Moderate Mouse said...

"Perhaps some visitors may be interested to read it."

I was planning on letting the book go after I finished it (which I did today; I'm involved in a global online bookclub that specializes books that "travel" from reader to reader either via a "controlled" release to a specific person or a "wild" release where it's left in a random public place. I usually opt for the latter.)

I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm going to hold onto the book for now, and when I'm back home in August (I'm at my sister's for the summer) and have the means to send stuff via mail, I'll let you all know. At that time, I will have my email visible in my profile so that anyone who is interested can contact me privately. (I was planning on doing that anyway as I have another book that I received via a "controlled" release and, for reasons I'd rather not go into here, I plan on doing a "controlled" release for it as soon as it's feasible.)

(Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to select this option for how I wanted my name to appear in the comments. I'm unable to access my Google Account right now for some reason.)

Bob said...

There have been some comments previously posted that suggested Latin women generally did not like removing their shoes. In that vein, yesterday a Venezuelan women came to my home. She had asked if I could give her some advise regarding her business. When she arrived she immediately removed her shoes at the door and stated ..."I'll just leave my shoes here." Other than my ansering the door in sox, she had no indication that we maintain a shoeless home. I don't know if it was her custom to take her shoes off or if she was perceptive due to my being in sox.

Celestial Fundy said...

There are always exceptions, Bob.

Sandro said...

about ten years ago, I taught three Venezuelan girl students a course of local culture; when I told them about the shoes-off policy, they obviously found it a thing never heard off before, but really appreciated the idea; I am sure it was a huge step towards their conversion )

Sandro said...

Bob, your Venezuelan lady might have been one of my students )))))))

Bob said...

Sandro....She could have been!!

Sandro said...

I think most people are ready to adopt the practice wherever they are from as it is too obviously advantageous to ignore. The only obstacle is fear to break the tradition around. Once having found themselves in a shoe-free zone, they are happy to catch any hint and adopt the policy.

Sandro said...

BTW Bob, did you have any shoes at the door when that Venezuelan lady came?

Sandro said...

It's noteworthy Armenians are the only Caucasian nation who mostly don't take their shoes off at other people's homes, which probably is determined by historical hatred towards Turkey. Armenians in Russia or Georgia nevertheless adopt the policy, and so did they when in Azerbaijan

Celestial Fundy said...

I remember one of the memebers of the Armenian-American band System of a Down saying his family used to remove their shoes when they were younger.

Sandro said...

Must be the bassist, the only one who was born not in the US. I've never been to Armenia, but read repeated post by Armenians expressing their extremely negative attitude to shoes-off.
it might be the same as with Greeks: though not offalists in general, they are in some regions (I posted a link in an earlier thread).

Celestial Fundy said...

You like heavy metal?

Sandro said...

Yes I do ) Though it is not the only genre of music I like

Bob said...

Sandro,
In answer to your question, there were no shoes by the door. Other than my answering the door in sox there were no other indication that we maintain a shoeless home. Obviously, if she had not removed her shoes I would have asked that she did.

Celestial Fundy said...

So you don't store shoes near the door, Bob?

Anonymous said...

No Sandro we don't. Candace, my wife, has a thing for shoes...she probably has 40 or 50 pairs of shoes/sandles. When she comes home, she takes off her shoes and immediately puts them away in her closet. As for me I generally enter through the garage so I tend to have a pair there for ready use.

Bob said...

Sorry that last post was me. I hit the wrong box when I entered it..sorry

Sandro said...

No problem, Bob, I understood it had been you at once )
If no shoes at the door, she shouldn't be a tramplian because a host answering in socks still is not an indicator of a shoe-free home. Were she reluctant about shoes off, she would at least wait for some other hints.
Yet it's still a question whether she is an offalist.

Sandro said...

Yesterday, maybe for the first time in my life, I was invited to an "upmarket" home party in Tbilisi. The host asked us to take our shoes off. During all the party, I heard two women from the government criticising the host for her "old-fashioned" shoes-off policy. Others seemingly shared this opinion.
An ethnical Azeri, I have many friends from Azerbaijan working in Georgia. What is the difference between Georgia and Azerbaijan that while shoes-off is rather an exception for very-very-top pro-European families in Georgia, it is vice versa in similar Azeri families.

Sandro said...

A Georgian friend from a professor family invited me once to his home for a party. Though he, me and other guests removed our shoes, his mother was walking in her stilettos sliding on two pieces of fabric :)

Sandro said...

could anybody please share any experience about the shoes-off issue regarding baby-sitters if any?

Celestial Fundy said...

I remember quite a few of the babysitterd when I was younger removing their shoes. I think I was surprised when a middle-aged lady who was babysitting removed her shoes.

I babysat a few times as a teenager and kept my shoes on (I regret to say now). I was asked to babysit for a nine-year old son of a friend a couple of weeks ago and made up for that.

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, you had not mentioned being an ethnic Azeri before.

If you don't mind my asking, are you a Muslim?

I hope I don't need to say that comments from people of all religions are of course welcome here.

Sandro said...

I am not religious

Sandro said...

did they take their shoes off for their own comfort or due to the floor cleanness?

Anonymous said...

I have recently started working for a babysitting agency in Bristol.

It is not my normal job, - it is an extra job to earn a bit more in the evenings.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested that it is company policy that the sitters remove their shoes. It is up to us whether we just go shoeless or take slippers to change into, but we are not allowed to wear our shoes in client's homes.

I usually go straight from the office where I work, so am fairly smartly dressed. I don't bother with slippers, and just take my shoes off when I arrive and go in my stockinged feet.

Wre have been told that we must do this even, and this I think only happens rarely, if the client tells us that there is no need to remove our shoes.

I was also asked to take my shoes off at the interview, as it was at the home of the lady who owns the business, and she has a shoes off policy, as actually do I at my home.

Carolyn.

Sandro said...

thanks for sharing that, Carolyn;
do you feel comfortable with your shoes off babysitting?

Moderate Mouse said...

In the homes I've been to, those of relatives or otherwise, there was no such thing as a shoes-off policy. (My dad and I had tried having one of our own--his idea--during part of the time I was living with him, but we both lapsed on that.)

Speaking of babysitting, I know I've mentioned it in previous threads, but I'm currently spending my summer babysitting my 7-year-old nephew (my sister's kid). There's no shoes-off policy here, and it doesn't look like there will be anytime soon, but I don't see it bothering him too much if it ever came up. If anything, when he gets home from whatever he's been doing, he'll take off his shoes (if not also his socks) the first chance he gets, but ends up leaving said shoes in whatever room he took them off in.

In my own home, if I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, I'll opt for one of my pairs of ballet flat slippers or my blue at-home flip-flops. I brought the slippers and flip-flops with me to my sister's. I started out wearing slippers, but as the weather has warmed up, I've started wearing the flip-flops around the house (which, if I remember to do this I'll slip off if sitting/laying on "my" bed or curling up on the couch or in the recliner). I'm wearing said flip-flops as I write this, and when I go to pick up my nephew from his day camp (which meets four times a week), I'll be slipping into my Mary Janes as those will be easier to deal with than my sneakers. After that, I'll switch back out to my blue flip-flops.

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, thanks. I was just curious.

As for the babysitters, I have no idea. They were not asked to remove them.

Celestial Fundy said...

Carolyn, that is fantastic.

Remind if you have visited before?

Sandro said...

CF, I am ready to answer any question regarding my philosophy )
If they removed their shoes not asked and not asking, they might have done it by default

Anonymous said...

Sandro,

Yes I am very comfortable with my shoes off basbysitting.

Celestial Fundy,

No I have'nt been before, - just curious why is it "fantastic"?

I was a bit surprised when I was asked to take my shoes off at the interview, but actually once I had I think I was far more relaxed and self confident in my stockinged feet.

Carolyn.

Eldar said...

Bob, this is excellent news about the Venezuelan lady. When she took off her shoes, was she in her bare feet, or did she wear socks/stockings?

Your post reminded me of a situation few years ago when I was at a adinner party in Stochkolm, and there was also a Venezuelan lady, and she refused to tzake her shoes off, even though everybody else was in their stocking feet! Yet she was let in...

Eldar said...

Dear Carolyn,
you are very welcome! what do you think about removing shoes at house parties?

Sandro said...

Carolyn, the word "self-confident" is very important - this is what one can really feel when without shoes rather than embarrassed. It's a very good point against the shoes-on advocates.

Eldar, that Venezuelan lady in Stokholm might have an excuse of stinky feet or old stockings/bad pedicure )
Anyway, I don't think she felt OK in shoes at that party

Eldar said...

Sandro, this is exactly how it felt. It was summer, so she was not wearing stockings. She was very attractive, as many Venezuelan ladies are. But walking in shoes while everybody else was without them really felt very awkward. It looked like she really got bad pedicure, or was disrespectful. Whatever the reason, it just did not feel Ok.

Celestial Fundy said...

Carolyn, the reason I say 'fantastic' is because I feel strongly about the whole issue of removing shoes in homes. That is why I started this blog. Naturally, I am very pleased that your company's policy supports this.

What do you think in general about removing shoes in homes?

Bob said...

Eldar, in answer to your question, she was wearing a skirt and had flats on before removing them and she was then in bare feet.

Eldar said...

thanks, Bob! This is how it should be. she is a very well-mannered lady.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

If I was at a house party I would leave my shoes at the door, even if others had kept theirs on.

I would probably just go in my stockinged feet, although I sometimes take slippers to change into.

To be honest I tend to slip off my shoes indoors whenever I can

Carolyn.

Celestial Fundy said...

Please visit again, Carolyn.

Anonymous said...

God bless you for this blog! The custom of wearing shoes in our homes is undoubtedly an unneeded relic of the time when he had dirt floors and lived communally with our livestock. In today's world, we can join East Asians and others in choosing not to drag the filth of the world throughout our homes -- a truly civilized practice.

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for the encouragement.

Where are you from, if you don't mind my asking?