Monday, November 15, 2010

Degrees Of Firmness Part 2


I think for friends I would go for the very direct no.6 (Could you take your shoes off, please?) and for people I did not know, I would use the more restrained no.4 (Are you alright with taking your shoes off?).

It may be that you are just too shy to use the more direct requests. However, you might find that the softest approach no.1 works a lot of the time. If you are barefoot and there are a lot of shoes by the door, you may get the right reaction just by saying:

You can take your shoes off here, if you like.


Bob said...

as you know we are a shoes off home and rarely do we have to ask. When we do, it is do you mind taking your shoes off.
MM since you are not in the habit of taking off your shoes other than at home, if you visited a shoes off home how would you like to be asked?

Moderate Mouse said...

I would not want number nine used on me as it'd make me feel like I should be on red alert. (Am I sitting up straight enough to the host's liking? I didn't drop a crumb, did I? Was I suppposed to use a coaster? I don't remember seeing a coaster. You get the idea.)

Number eight, I'm not sure about. I don't know why.

I'd have to say somewhere between number one and number seven. (In the home I live in, I'm not the one authorized to make the judgement call on guests taking their shoes off or leaving them on. If I was, I'd probably go with number one, and I could imagine my eight-year-old nephew, if nobody else, taking me up on that.)

I was raised under the impression that, unless your visit will be overnight or longer, you have no business having your shoes off, even if those living in the home have theirs off. It just wasn't done. Take for instance, my sister's house. If I'm staying at her house overnight or longer, I'll have my slippers with me at the time and change into those at my earliest available opportunity. So far, nobody has batted an eye at that. However, if the nature of my visit is such that I will only be there for a few hours, I feel obligated to keep my shoes on regardless of whether she or anyone else in the household has theirs on or not (especially if the "guest list" includes one or both of my parents).

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you don't have to ask at all.

I had a neighbour call on me last week as she is on he residents committee at the flats where I live, and there is an issue we the lease.

She had come straight from work and took her boots off sat the front door without asking.

I told her there was no need, but she inisted that she did'nt want to wear her boots in the flat. They were navy high-heeled ankle boots.


Celestial Fundy said...

Andrew, thanks a lot for visiting.

I take it you don't have a shoes-off policy. Have you ever thought that perhaps your flat would be cleaner if nobody wore shoes inside?

You are right, a lot of people will take off their shoes without being asked. However, not everybody does and those of us who prefer shoes-off in our homes should not be afraid to ask.

Moderate Mouse said...

Okay, something really wierd happened today when I was out and about.

On my way home from having run an errand, I stopped by a home decor store. There's a part in the middle of the store leading from the door to a set of stairs that consists of hard tile.

On both sides of the store with various types of merchandise is carpet. It's not the flat carpet that a lot of stores use if they use carpet at all. It's that really soft, fluffy kind, know what I mean?

Anyway, for years I've walked on all sorts of flooring with shoes on without a second thought. However, today, while I thought nothing of walking the tile part with my shoes on (black loafers), I felt a little funny when I did so on the carpet part. (Did I mention that it was the fluffy kind?) If it wasn't the dirt factor that made me feel this way (and I don't think it was), it was perhaps that the shoes somehow "clashed" with the softness of the carpet. (Even one of my pairs of slippers would've felt more appropriate.) I think I almost wanted to slip my shoes off when on said carpet, but what "proper" American adult would be caught dead with their shoes off in public unless 1) At the pool or comparable setting, 2)getting a pedicure, or 3) trying on clothes or shoes? (Funny thing though is that on Facebook's YoVille, when my character is in the furniture store, I'll at times change my character's appearance so that her shoes are off prior to stepping onto the rugs.)

I came here nearly two years ago as probably one of the biggest skeptics about the concept of excluding the use of shoes from the private home to ever comment on this blog. And yet, I all of people end up feeling funny about wearing "real" shoes on fluffy carpet in, not even a private home, but IN A PUBLIC PLACE after so many years of thinking nothing of it. Doesn't that strike you all as a bit odd?

Sandro said...

CF, that Andrew said "you don't have to ask" means he didn't mind the lady removing her boots. That he told her "no need" might be due to some fear of looking impolite.
MM, nothing weird about your wish. Unfortunately, while shoes off at homes is a norm around most of the Caucasus, people rarely would think of taking their shoes off in situations like one you've described. Neither did I. You know who gave me a hint to reconsider the point? An American and an English ladies! The first one removed her shoes in a hotel lobby on a rainy day; the second one, a university professor, entered the office room in her stockinged feet because the floor had just been washed. I praise your feeling in the situation, MM

Bob said...

MM thank you for answeing my question. Can I assume that based on your last post you would not feel ill at ease if you were to encounter a shoe free home? and further if you were greeted at the door and the host/hostess was shoeless that you would take off your shoes without being asked?

Anonymous said...

I did'nt mind but told her she did'nt need to take them off and she still did.

Also, when i went to make coffee I looked at her boots and they were spotless so why did she insist on taking them off.


richyrich said...


There could be several reasons why the lady wanted to take her boots off. If her boots were high heeled perhaps she felt they'd damage the floors. Or maybe she was aware of the fact that outdoor shoes track in a lot of germs and chemicals etc. It may be that she was so used to taking off outdoor shoes in anyone's home that it came second nature to her and that it was only a matter of natural courtesy to automatically take them off. Or it may be as simple as that her feet were hurting after being in boots all day and that she was only too glad to have any excuse to discard them!

Moderate Mouse said...

"Can I assume that based on your last post you would not feel ill at ease if you were to encounter a shoe free home?"

I don't think I'd have a problem with it. While I haven't fully stopped wearing shoes in my own home (i.e. shoes are on from the bedroom to the door when I'm on my way out and they stay on from the door to the bedroom when I get home, but I do switch to slippers at my earliest available opportunity), I have cut down on it (in favor or ballet flat slippers or a pair of flip-flops worn only at home depending on weather and/or whatever else I'm wearing) to a point where I've realized that, "real" shoes aren't as necessary around the house as I had previously thought.

"and further if you were greeted at the door and the host/hostess was shoeless that you would take off your shoes without being asked"

I'd at the VERY least offer, especially if 1) my shoes had taken a beating from any rain or snow encountered on the way over and 2) I've never been to said house before and don't know what the rules are on shoes in the home.

If I saw shoes lined up at the door, chances are I'd take them off. Otherwise, I'm not sure what I would do. Most of the time, if I'm at someone else's house, one or both of my parents and/or my older sister is also present, and they are all in the "shoes stay on by default" camp, so I feel like I have to copy whatever my sister or parents do.

On an unrelated note, this is going to sound like I've lost my mind, but I can't help but feel that even if my shoes had been pristine, it wouldn't have kept them from aesthetically clashing with the carpet, and I don't mean in color, either.

Sandro said...

MM you have a chance to be a pioneer ) Maybe your surroundings would be happy to follow you.
Andrew, we take off our coats indoors regardless of how clean/dirty they are. Shoes are to protect our feet from outside dirt, and they are not needed at home. She might have wanted to show you she respects your home environment.

Celestial Fundy said...

Andrew, not all dirt is all that visible. Her boots could have picked up dust (which is bad for you) and bits of grit that damage carpets and flooring. Not to mention weed killer and other contaminents.

As Rich points out, her boots could also have caused damage to your floor.

I am guessing you are British? Is that right?

Celestial Fundy said...

MM, you keep coming here. Its bound to have an impact.

Anonymous said...

Something about parents and grandparents in America-we are talking 65 and 85 and up that don't remove their shoes as a rule. It must be a generational thing.

Fluffy carpets and shoes don't go together either. It just feels wrong. It's like your feet are missing what is there to be enjoyed. Nice soft carpeting.

Carpeting isn't totally clean though, it throws dust into the air, air ducts and causes allergies-- which is a lot of extra cleaning.

My mother is resentful that her floors are so dirty and when she cleans them, she often says how dirty they are by complaining with out considering that they have been tracking in on their shoes the entire time. Our carpeted home is shoes off policy. Her view point is that if they don't remove their shoes in their own home, why should they in ours? Self centered and rather brazen if you ask me.

Celestial Fundy said...

There is a view that carpeting improves the quality of indoor air by absorbing dust, whearas in a home without carpets, the dust builds up and you breathe it in.

If you don't have carpets, you definitely need a shoes-off policy to reduce the dust you bring in.

Sandro said...

My wife has a female friend who lives in the same block-of-flats. Even more, she lives on the next floor. To reach our place, she needn't walk outside. However, the lobbies and staircases are as dirty as streets. This girl likes to dress up. So, she visits us in elegant dresses and pumps, which she by default kicks off at the door. If she didn't accept the idea of shoeless elegance, she would come casually dressed. No context, just wanted to share )

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for sharing that, Sandro.

I don't think you had ever mentioned that you are married. What does Mrs. Sandro think about it all?

Sandro said...

she is an absolute shoes-offer practically, but never considers the issue theoretically

Celestial Fundy said...

I doubt that many people have thought about it theoretically.

Sandro said...

so do I )