Saturday, October 02, 2010

Treating Guests Like Children?

Some people feel that in being asked to remove their shoes, they are being treated like children.

They may find it obnoxious, having to follow a house rule. They may think it is fine to ask children to take off their shoes, as who knows what they might step in, but they feel patronised to be asked to take off their own shoes. They believe that adults can be trusted to wipe their feet on the doormat.

What I would say to these people is that there are many good reasons why hosts may ask them to take off their shoes. I suggest they try not to think of it as a house rule, but just as a polite request (like somebody asking you to hold their umbrella). These people probably go shoeless sometimes in their own homes, so it should not be too onerous to do this when at the homes of others.

The fact is that wiping your feet will not remove all the dreadful stuff that your shoes pick up. You may try to be careful what you step in, but a lot of the worst things, like lead or weed killer is unseen.



Other people may feel that removing their shoes makes them feel childish. They do not feel terribly grown up skipping around a house in their bare feet or padding in their socks. What I would say to those people is that they should bear in mind that in many cultures, going shoeless indoors is the norm. In Japan or Sweden, nobody thinks it childish to be in socks or bare feet. There are plenty of situations in the UK where adults will be without shoes; such as on the beach or in a Yoga class. I suggest that when they visit shoeless homes, they ought to bring some slippers to wear.

39 comments:

Moderate Mouse said...

To anyone who thinks that going shoeless is childish: there are adults in my family who'd beg to differ on that one.

I'm not really into padding about barefooted or sock-footed myself, especially if I'm engaged in something serious, such as housework. However, as this year has progressed, I have become grateful to have access to my three pairs of ballet flat slippers and blue at-home flip-flops (whichever ones I wear depends on time of year and/or whatever else I'm wearing) for at home for a few reasons:

1) As I don't drive, many of my commutes are on foot, and on rainy/snowy days, my shoes are bound to take a beating.

2) Even if it's a dry day, in a given week, I'll be walking long distances and/or going somewhere where I can count on constantly being on my feet and will better look forward to switching to slippers when I get home.

3) When I'm out and about, my shoes probably get enough as it is without constantly going around in them at home.

4) They're easier to slip off if I want to, say, check my weight or curl up somewhere to relax than say, something with laces, buckles, etc.

5) Symbolically, it affirms that I will be sticking around the house for a while to the best of my knowledge, not only when I've just gotten home but in the mornings when I have time to read my Bible (finished the Old Testament yesterday; I start the New Testament today, which I just realized I haven't done yet), take care of the morning dishes, take care of something on Facebook, etc. (If losing track of time in the mornings becomes an issue, I could always use the built-in alarm on my cell phone to my advantage.)

Maybe various adults in the US and UK aren't quite ready to disassociate shoe-wearing from the private home at this point. But like a lot of things that increased acceptability over time, what adults may not be ready for now could end up being by far more acceptable by the time that say, my nephew's generation reaches adulthood.

Sandro said...

BTW, I've found the source of the picture: it's from a German girl's blog who said she hated shoe-free parties in Sweden )

Celestial Fundy said...

There must be more to you than a pretty face. :)

Sandro said...

I just wanted to check the environment and concrete circumstances :)

Moderate Mouse said...

Do you recall the name of the blog, Sandro?

Jasper said...

Well, I'm not Sandro, but I went to look for it and I found the blog, too. You can find the post Sandro is referring to at http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/mareikesglasses/2009/04/27/bad-kids/. If you cut the part after 'mareikesglasses', you reach the blog's homepage. Hope this helps and that Sandro doesn't mind me replying on his behalf.

richyrich said...

I thought that shoes off households were common in Germany too

Sandro said...

It is common in Eastern Germany, but much less spread in Western Germany. Austria, German Switzerland and likely Luxembourgh follow the East-German way.
Jasper, no objection ) It is my mistake, I should have done it beforehands.

Sandro said...

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/fashion/foot_fetish_QX5HVLsDe4dRDnyQmMUXaJ/0

another tramplianistic article, yet ALL the comments are offalistic!

Sandro said...

http://www.joyoftights.info/feet.html
another interesting passage )

Celestial Fundy said...

Sabdro, can I ask you not to post bad language on this blog?

I know it does not say anywhere on the sidebar, but I sort of guessed with my religious views being plain, that people would guess that I don't appreciate swearing.

I don't like having to delete your comments, because you are a long standing commentator whose views are much appreciated here.

Thanks.

Celestial Fundy said...

I read the article in the New York Post.

Celestial Fundy said...

I am not keen on fetishy sites.

I am sure plenty of people come on this blog because of having a more sensual interest in stocking feet and they are very welcome with the little they get here, but I find kinky sites a bit freaky myself.

Sandro said...

CF, could you please clarify what bad language you mean?
Regarding the last source: I've found it while I was googling the source of the last material you had posted, and only after I posted it did I realize the general concept of the site. Nevertheless, the material does contain the apology of shoes-off at homes.

Celestial Fundy said...

I dare say it does, but I feel embarassed looking at those sort of sites. I can never stay on them long!

F-cking and t-ts are generally considered to be rather obscene words.

I want parents to be comfortable with their children looking at this blog.

Sandro said...

did I use it?

Celestial Fundy said...

Those words were in that little quote about nylons you posted.

You have never used that language before and I look forward to reading the rest of your contributions to discussion here.

Moderate Mouse said...

I checked out the link to the "Joy of Tights" article just out of curiosity, but I when I went to check out the link to the New York post, I was unable to access the article for some reason. In case I'm not in a position to try again on the latter, how badly did the article trash the whole shoes-off concept and how blunt were the comments for it?

Moderate Mouse said...

Never mind my last comment. I think I found the article that Sandro was talking about (the New York Post one). I just had to do some extra searching is all.

Sandro said...

Ok CF, your blog - your rules, but citation IMHO should be treated differently from direct posts. The words I mentioned also depict one's attitude to the issue. Otherwise, I should paraphrase it, yet would it be appropriate?

Celestial Fundy said...

If you post a quotation, readers will see the language you are quoting and I don't want that on my blog. I don't care whether it is your words or somebody else's.

Please feel free to re-post the quotation with the offensive words modified or removed.

Thankyou.

Sandro said...

OK )
http://www.sorryimissedyourparty.com/2008/08/foot-condoms.html

One criticizes shoes-off parties in very inventive words. Yet people in the picture of such a party look quite happy!

Moderate Mouse said...

I never cursed on any of the threads here, but I've nonetheless said some things in previous threads that I shouldn't have said. (One such incident that keeps coming back to bite me is one in March where I had said something that gave the suggestion of shoelessness being too informal, a comment that, according to you CF, said made me sound like one of those alleged etiquette experts. When it turned out that I offended you, I felt really bad about what I had done, and even though I apologized then, I still feel bad about it as I absolutely hate it when I say/do something that hurts or bothers someone else.)

However, many of the words that aren't acceptable here (that I know of) are ones I don't generally use myself anyway (except in some of the fiction that I've written in the past, but even then, it's my characters that are the ones doing it). Having said that, I've become desensitized over a lot of the words that someone could use for instance, the F-word in front of me and there is little, if any, chance that it would even phase me. (Strange for someone with my religious beliefs. I know.)

Celestial Fundy said...

MM, I really was not offended by that comment you made back then.

I do use bad language, including the F-word. Not out of preference, I hate it; but I picked that language up from colleagues and the words seem to roll off my tongue.

Moderate Mouse said...

You're not the only one who has words in their vocabulary that they wish weren't there.

There's someone in my life who doesn't like to use God's name in vain, but it slips out of them if they are provoked enough.

As for me if I at any point use or quote what I understand to be a curse word, I'll often either make the disclaimer that I'm not normally a cusser or I'll say the word in a low enough tone that it's clear that it's not a word I normally use, and that I'm reluctant to have that word come out of my mouth. Barring that, the closest I generally come to swearing is the use of the word cr*p, but I've never been 100% sure if it's officially a cuss word or not. (I might use that word in front of my peers but not so much in front of any of my grandparents, my eight-year-old nephew, or anyone I know from church.)

Eldar said...

I liked the link posted by Sandro; I mean the German girl´s blog. It´s a pity she doesn´t like the shoe-free parties, but I think it´s only because in her part of Germany she was not accustomed to it. Generally, I hope that shoe-free house parties will become a norm in the West. It makes a lot of sense. Also, as one of the previous posts in this blog asserted, one can be elegantly barefoot. Yes, shoes are part of the outfit, but one can also look elegant in stockinged feet/barefoot. Just a matter of getting used to it.

Celestial Fundy said...

Very true, Eldar.

Eldar said...

I was in few house parties this summer back in Estonia. After Belgium it was so refreshing to come and see piles of shoes in the halfway. In Estonia the people like to dress up when they go out, so it was very nice to see all these people dressed up to the nines, and in their stockinged feet. I was in one semi-formal dinner, the men were in their suits and socks, and ladies in skirts and nylons, some in bare feet. And it felt so natural...

Celestial Fundy said...

Great stuff.

Eldar said...

I noticed that in the Western part of the continent there are still prejudices towards the shoelessness, particularly in the southern countries. It defies common sense to hear that some people still have odour issues, or are somehow shy to show their feet off. As I´ve read in one of the threads on the topic, if you have odour/shyness issues, all you have to do is to wash regularly and make sure that your socks/pantyhose look good. By the way, this advice comes form a French lady. That means that with some common sense approach people even in the more shoeless-resistant countries could get used to it.

Sandro said...

Hi Eldar, it's nice to read from you again; you hit it on the nose saying about elegance; BTW the two pictures I've posted as comments to this post do prove your statement.
PS. Did that French lady advocate the shoes-off policy? Don't you remember the link please?

Eldar said...

With pleasure, Sandro. Look here, Marie from Paris:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/entertain/msg1220470926755.html

Moderate Mouse said...

I'm not much into going unshod while otherwise dressed up. However, I have a couple of pairs of ballet flat slippers that don't look so bad with skirts or slacks. (I've done that at home when passing time that I had in the mornings sometimes before needing to be somewhere. I haven't been able to give it a shot at any "parties" I've attended, partly because more often than not, the theme/tone of them discouraged if not prohibited dressing beyond the jeans and t-shirt level and partly because they were such that people were in and out enough that to repeatedly take off shoes and put them back on would've maybe been irritating, if not a tripping hazard depending on how many there were.)

I see where the German girl was coming from, but I wonder if both the "outfit" situation and the "coldness" one could've been remedied by some cute slippers (if Sweden has them; I wouldn't know as I've never been there and it doesn't look like I'll be going there anytime soon) that could've acted as a next best alternative to the shoes that she couldn't wear. That way, she could've still been respecting the whole shoes of thing, which would've made her Swedish friends happy, and yet, she could've still felt fully "put together" and less cold, which would've made her happy.

Sandro said...

Google Translate gives me a chance to see the shoes-off topic is being actively discussed in French web, with quite a few advocates.

Celestial Fundy said...

What sort of things are they saying in France?

Sandro said...

is it polite to ask guest for shoe-removal and if bad weather is the only condition when the policy is acceptable

Sandro said...

It's been not my question, but the answer for yours, CF)

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks.

Sandro said...

you are welcome, CF