Sunday, November 07, 2010

It is not selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes


re-post

Some people claim it is selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes. They think that it shows excessive concern for one's carpet or flooring.

On the contrary it is not selfish at all.

Firstly, there is an health issue involved. Peoples' shoes pick up dust and animal excrement which is not good for one's health and especially bad for the health of one's children. If one has babies or small children that play on the floor it is extremely sensible to keep one's home shoe-free.

There are many worries today about the health risks posed by pollution, toxins and chemicals. Personally, I think many of these health scares are exagerrated. Many of the supposed health risks have not been scientifically verified. However, it is best to keep as much nasty stuff out of the house as possible.

Secondly, the notion of selfishness here is relative. In a country where shoe-removing is the norm, like Finland or Russia, it would hardly be selfish to insist on shoes-off.

In Britain or the USA, where keeping shoes on is the norm, there are many people who would like to insitute a shoes-off policy, but who are afraid of causing offence or being deemed 'selfish.' If a person is brave enough to insist on shoes-off, she makes it easier for those other people who feel that they would like to make their homes shoe-free. In time, the norms of the UK and the USA may change and shoe-removing may become as normal as it is in Thailand or Sweden.

6 comments:

nissa_ami_kato said...

It's also not selfish for a potential visitor to choose not to enter a shoe-free home. Particularly for those of us with medical conditions such as diabetes who have received strict medical advice not to go about barefoot or in stockinged feet, a shoe-free home is a no-go zone and one would hope the host will understand and not take offense. (as I hope you will not take offense at my comment...)

As for 'did I remove my shoes before coming in here?' actually, yes, since it's 3 am here and I'm in my pajamas (and I should be wearing slippers but my last pair is worn out, plus the cat is sleeping on them.)

Celestial Fundy said...

I would not insist on a person with a medical condition removing their shoes.

As I have written before, all you need do to be excused is tell me or another sympathetic no-shoes host that you are under doctor's orders.

I might ask if you could bring slippers, or failing that a change of shoes on your next visit.

Celestial Fundy said...

Though a lot of people with diabetes in particular seem to ignore medical advice and go shoeless, even in the workplace.

Moderate Mouse said...

"Though a lot of people with diabetes in particular seem to ignore medical advice and go shoeless"

My dad did that when I was living with him. In addition to the diabetes, he had back problems he was dealing with (which were bad enough for him to be declared "disabled"), and according to him, being without shoes made it easier on him as far as balance is concerned. (He wore slippers around our then apartement sometimes but was also just as willing to go about most of his "at home" business barefooted or sock-footed. Me? Not so much. I dressed to the shoes every day regardless of whether or not I was going somewhere up until three months or so into living with him when he decided he wanted to instigate a "shoes-off" rule, at which time I settled for slippers. Understand, this was LONG before I came to the conclusion regarding what little business I had wearing shoes at home.

Unfortunately, 1) This policy ended up being an epic fail as shoes often were taken off/put on in the bedroom as opposed to at the door (and we were going to get a shoe rack for the coat closet, but due to a combination of time constraints and the amount of stuff we already had on the shopping trip we were taking at the time, it ended up not happening) and 2) while I don't know whether or not going shoeless had any part in him losing part of a leg and two toes on the remaining foot to his diabetes, there's a possibility that it could have.

(My grandma on my mom's side is also diabetic, but when she's not in "real" shoes, she's at least in slippers. I have yet to turn out diabetic, but I'm hoping that if it does happen, I can still get away with slippers. I'd hate for my progress in disassociating the wearing of "real" shoes with life inside the home to be in vain.)

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