Monday, June 28, 2010

Worldly World: The offense of a "no-shoes" house

Worldly World: The offense of a "no-shoes" house

"...if a guest just doesn't like the insinuation that his or her shoes are nasty on the bottoms then they are welcome to not visit. Ever. Because the bottoms of their shoes ARE nasty and I don't care to have that tracked all through my home and over my expensive and expensive-to-clean oriental rugs."

48 comments:

Eldar said...

Just back from the week-end that I spent in Tallinn. Went to a birthday party of my good friend, and it was so refreshing to see everybody placing their shoes neatly at the door, with guys walking around in socks, and ladies in their party outfits and bare feet or stockings:)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I wear my dirty boots in the house, just after I have cleaned out the poo from the stable (3-horses worth).

I LOVE DIRTY SHOES! Mmmm!

Funny blog, though! :-)

Sandro said...

Hi Eldar, it's nice to here from you again. Is there any differentation regarding the shoe policy between different ethnical and social groups in Estonia?

Moderate Mouse said...

*Looks in bewilderment at Anonymous comment*

Um, am I the only one here that isn't totally sure as to whether or not to take the comment about the dirty shoes seriously? Anyone?

*Looks around at everyone else.*

Pathetic of me, I know, but sometimes on the net, it's hard to determine the tone of a comment.

Celestial Fundy said...

Eldar, good to hear that.

Buy the way, have you heard of an actress called Mary Tamm?

A beautiful lady of Estonian origin; she was a regular in Doctor Who in the late seventies.

Kev said...

I've certainly heard of Mary Tamm; now I've learned she's of Estonian stock. As posh as Lala Ward's though?

There's an awful lot of online comment that's no more than trolling.

It's not pathetic of you, more an inability to process certain forms of communication. I'd wager it's a recognised condition.

For clarification, then, the great grammar debate was no more than that: the kind of healthy discussion to be found here if a bit off topic :)

Celestial Fundy said...

"As posh as Lala Ward's though?"

Probably. Mary Tamm's version of Romana was much snootier than Lalla Ward's.

I can never decide whether I preferred Mary Tamm to Lalla Ward.

Lalla was like a female version of the Doctor, while Mary Tamm was good at putting down the Doctor.

Kev said...

I liked them both as Romana, but Lalla seems more my type of person: her choice of husband seems to confirm it!

Tom Baker and Mary Tamm were the inspiration for Anne Perry's Inspector Pitt novels, with herself in the upporting role.

Does anyone know if Mary Tamm or Lalla Ward maintain shoe-free homes?

It's also been interesting to have a debate on traditional English grammar, as it emphasises how "shoes-off" can be such an issue to the British psyche...and, indeed, how the two need not be mutually exclusive.

Celestial Fundy said...

I can't say I am a big fan of Lalla's husband, Richard Dawkins.

Eldar said...

Dear Sandro,
answering in short, I would say removing shoes cuts across social and ethnic lines in Estonia. If there are exceptions, these are more likely to happen in families with lower income and lower quality of life, especially in rural areas. In prosperous houses there is no question that shoes must be removed always.

Eldar said...

I would just add that not removing shoes indoors in Estonia really is considered as something low class.

yes, CF, I know of course about Mary Tamm:) I am sure she removes shoes at her own place and when visiting others.

Celestial Fundy said...

Eldar, would it be the case that ethnic Russians are more likely to opt for slippers?

And is the lovely Mary Tamm well known in Estonia for her contribution to Doctor Who?

Eldar said...

CF, you are absolutely right. Ethnic Russians have for some reason more predilection towards slippers. But again, the younger, better educated and better traveled generation happily discards what they see as a Soviet leftover. The slippers are associated with old, Soviet style flats, but in new and prosperous houses there is no need for slippers whatsoever.

Mary Tamm is known as a successful Estonian lady, yes. Not sure whether exactly for Doctor Who. What I am sure though is that she removes her shoes when visiting:)

Celestial Fundy said...

Even though she was born in England and spent her life there?

richyrich said...

The slippers are associated with old, Soviet style flats, but in new and prosperous houses there is no need for slippers whatsoever.

So I take it that Estonians just go around barefooted or in their stockinged feet when in houses.

Eldar said...

CF, I don't know her personally, but I assume she does:)

btw, when people remove shoes shoes in UK, do they use slippers or just go around in their stockinged feet?

richyrich, yes, you got it exactly right!

Celestial Fundy said...

It varies a lot.

Slippers are generally associated with older people, though that is more of a stereotype. Younger people sometimes wear slippers.

With the mild winters we have, a lot of women go barelegged all year round, so bare feet are common indoors.

richyrich said...

I usually go around in stockinged feet, I'll sometimes put on slippers when it's very cold in winter.

Celestial Fundy said...

I tend not to bother with slippers these days.

Much of the year I go bare foot and wear socks when it is cold.

Eldar said...

Thanks, CF. I remember you told me about that elegant lady who visited your parents around Christmas time and was in her bare feet. I assume she was pretty?

Celestial Fundy said...

I think she looked nice enough for a lady in her late forties or fifties. It was eight years ago.

I suppose she would not be considered conventionally attractive.

Our society tends not to recognise the beauty of older women.

Eldar said...

yeah, that's a pity( but I suppose you've seen a lot of young attractive British ladies in their bare feet when visiting?

Celestial Fundy said...

A few.

I am not terribly observant.

Eldar said...

I am sure one day in UK shoe removal will be just as natural as it is in Estonia or Sweden.

Celestial Fundy said...

Its closer than a lot of people think.

Eldar said...

that's excellent news!! but Belgium is really a difficult case!:( And NEtherlands too! Although I don't understand why they don't remove shoes indoors - with their climate!

Celestial Fundy said...

You need to throw a massive shoeless party.

Eldar said...

I did that more than once:) People really liked the idea and happily complied, especially, not surprisingly, women

Celestial Fundy said...

If anybody wants to translate this blog into any language to make it more accesible, I am happy.

Or pehaps any Low Countries readers could start their own shoes-off blogs.

Eldar said...

Yes. But I think it should be done in Spanish as well, as Spanish speaking countries are the most problematic in terms of shoe removal.

Celestial Fundy said...

I think pro-shoes-off material in Spanish is vital.

I want to challenge any readers who are familiar with Spanish to start a blog on this subject.

Eldar said...

Actually I speak Spanish and from time to time I find in internet discussions on this subject in Spanish, usually started by people who lived for some time in shoe removing countries like Sweden or Switzerland. I find that Latin American people are somehow more open this that the Spaniards.

Jasper said...

Well, actually I am from the Low Countries (the Netherlands to be precise) and I'm a translator at that.
In case you are wondering if I've visited before, yes I've been following your blog for quite some time now and I've even commented a few times (but my last comment was rather long ago). I am this thirty-something who is in a wheelchair and has tried to introduce a shoes-off policy for ages, unfortunately with varying degrees of success, depending on who is visiting.
I really like the idea of a blog like yours in Dutch (also suitable for the northern half of Belgium, as Flemish is just a variety of Dutch, just like US and UK English are two varieties of the same language), but I'm not sure if I would have the time to keep it up-to-date.

Jasper

Eldar said...

Jasper, you are welcome! Did you ever see pretty Dutch women take their shoes indoors and walk in bare feet/stockings?

Jasper said...

And as a small addition (I only saw your latest entry after having posted mine), I speak Spanish too (have a BA in the language), but I do not usually translate into that language, as most in the translation business adopt the native speaker approach.

Eldar said...

Jasper, did you see my question?

Jasper said...

Eldar, I have had quite a few girls and (mostly younger) women over who were willing to leave their shoes at the door, but strangely enough most of those who went barefoot did not have particularly pretty feet. And some of those who I expect to have pretty feet, were embarrassed to show them for some reason and preferred to keep their socks on. But the temperatures have been pretty high lately, so things may change temporarily.

Eldar said...

thanks, Jasper. But even those who remained in socks did take their shoes off? They were all Dutch?

Jasper said...

Most younger people I asked (think twenty-somethings) were OK with taking their shoes off. Two girls that I can remember preferred not to on specific ocasions (but complied on other occasions), because they were wearing open shoes with bare feet; one was embarrassed without specifying it further, the other one had sweaty feet, or so she thought. One of the women I was thinking of was from Singapore, so it was not surprising that she reacted positively. I've always had to expressly ask, though. Silent hints (is this proper English or is this 'silent' redundant?) do not work in my situation.
It is mainly the older generations (like my parents, mum is pushing sixty, dad in his early sixties) and people who are visiting only very briefly (like district nurses) who refuse. I tried shoe covers for the district nurses for some time, but unfortunately this did not continue without interruption.

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Sandro said...

Eldar, what I really like about Estonia is that it is higher classes who show to the whole society the standards of polite behaviour.

Celestial Fundy said...

Jasper, it is nice to hear from you again.

I think it would be great if you could translate a few posts and put them up somewhere.

If you did not feel you could keep up a shoes-off blog, you could post a few of the posts that you like best on a more general blog.

Celestial Fundy said...

Sandro, I suspect the key difference with Estonia is the different model of westernization.

I would think in Georgia, the winds of westernization blow primarily from the USA. While in Estonia, the main western model is Finland and other nordic countries.

Sandro said...

you've hit it on the nose, CF

Sandro said...

yet I have some questions: AFAIK in Scandinavia, upper classes may find it wrong to remove one's shoes, while in Estonia it's different

Sandro said...

...though I told I had also read some Swedish comment their Royals normally practised the policy in informal situations

Eldar said...

Sandro, in Estonia taking shoes off is really a no brainer. It is simply done, and that is. Every Estonians person is deeply surprised when he or she realizes that in some countries people would prefer to keep their shoes on indoors.

Sandro said...

I'm still interested in Swedish royals' attitude towards shoes off