Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fictional People (Stereotypes?) Part 6


Natasha is 31 and lives with her husband, Stan, on a council estate in Bedfordshire. They have been married for just a year, but had been living together for several years previously. Natasha has three children, one of whom was from a previous boyfriend.

Stan works as a mechanic. Natasha recently started working part-time in a sandwich shop. She had not worked prior to this since she was a teenager. Natasha left school when she was 16 and got pregnant soon after that.

Natasha has a shoes-off policy in her home.

This was a recent decision, after the council redecorated her house and put in a new wooden floor. Natasha was immensely proud of the improvements and decided she wanted to make an effort to keep the place looking nice. She had been a single mother for a number of years and had lived in some flats that were pretty grotty. She was poor then and she and her husband don't have a lot of money to throw around these days either. Her attitude is that you should value what you have got and look after it.

Some of Stan's mates moaned about having to shed their shoes when visiting, but Natasha soon put them in their place, "Fussing like a bunch of girls, you lot. Do you think your hard do you, moaning about your cold feet?"

With three children, it is not easy to keep their house clean, so reducing the dirt from foot traffic went a long way.

Natasha had also been prompted to institute the no-shoes rule when she read in Hello magazine that Mishelle Beckfield, the wife of the famous footballer Wayne Beckfield, required people to take their shoes in her home. Natasha adores Mishelle Beckfield. She would love to dress like her, but lacked both the disposable income and the slender figure of the footballer's wife.

Mishelle Beckfield

As with many of the more prominent WAGs, Mishelle had a fair dose of luck on her side. Like many young women, she had spend a fair bit of time in the pubs and clubs where the young players of a minor football club used to hang out. She became the girlfriend of one of the players, and with her boundless enthusiasm behind him, Wayne became the star of a major football team within a matter of years, and scored a crucial goal for England in the World Cup. Their marriage had been a major media event that was featured in the celebrity rags of every soccer-loving nation.

Mishelle very much enjoys the celebrity lifestyle and has been able to meet film stars, supermodels pop musicians and was even the dinner guest of a French philosopher (whose conversation she did not find particularly interesting). Mishelle appeared in the reality show "You're a celebrity, I presume?" in which celebrities got to explore jungles in remote parts of the world. While she enjoyed the media attention, she found it something of an ordeal and needed a number of shopping trips to recover.

Mishelle has a shoes-off policy in her homes, which include her Georgian estate in the home counties, her villa in the south of France, her luxury apartments in New York and Paris, and you could probably include her yacht, on which she spends a fair amount of time.

It was actually the yacht that got Mishelle wedded to the idea of having a shoes-off policy in her homes. Before getting her own yacht, she had spent plenty of time in other peoples' yachts. She knew the drill; a yacht is a stiletto free zone. However much you might spend on shoes, they were not acceptable on a yacht. This was not too much of an hassle with her perfectly pedicured feet.

Mishelle had noticed that the wood floors in her homes seemed to take a fair amount of punishment from stiletto heels, both from hers and those of her friends. Sure, she had plenty of money coming in from her husband's lucrative transfer deal and the royalties from her ghost-written autobiography, but why throw it down the drain on repair bills? Take care of the thousands, and the millions will look after themselves.

The nation's most desired hostess wasted no time in laying down the law. If her friends could look glamorous in their bare feet at boat parties, they could look just as glamorous sans stilettos when visiting her. The gossip columns managed to get a few snarky comments about her shoes-off rule, but what did Mishelle care? She was used to journalists bitching and she suspected they were probably just as precious about their crumby little apartments in London.


richyrich said...

Do you know of any real famous footballers who have shoes off policies in their homes?
With all this snow we've had in this weather and the slush that gets on people's shoes, I would think that a lot more people are taking their shoes off when they enter their homes. Unfortunately though a lot of them will go back to wearing them when the weather goes back to normal. I was in work today and there was a trail of wet footprints all over the carpet in the reception area which I thought looked very unseemly. It definately occured to me that that would have been avoided if everyone had taken their shoes off as soon as they were through the door there. When reading internet postings about the subject, I've noticed that shoes off policies tend to be the norm in countries that have a lot of snowfall such as Canada and Scandinavian countries.
Some have mentioned that we could be seeing the start of a long term trend in the UK (they do occur from time to time, often over the course of several centuries)where we will get harsher winters (so much for global warming you might think!)than we've been used to in recent years with more frequent snow. If that does happen I wonder if it will accelerate the trend towards more shoeless households.

Anonymous said...

I happened across your blog, and I have to say, it's kinda strange. A little obsessive. I mean, I can understand wanting to not have them on in your own house, but you seem to care so much about whether other people have the same policy. OCD.

For what it's worth, I wear shoes inside all the time. Have boots on right now. I put flip flops on otherwise.

Celestial Fundy said...

Rich, I don't know of any.

Celestial Fundy said...

Anonymous, thanks for visiting and leaving your comment.

You think this blog is obsessive.

In my defence, I will point out that I get over an hundred visitors every day. Obviously, they think this blog is worth visiting.

Rich and any others, would you care to say why you read this blog?

Sandro said...

Why I like this blog: there is a tendency among some part of the society across the Southern Caucasus (I'd say little percent) to consider the shoes-off policy "old-fashioned", "low-culture", "non-European", etc.
Mostly taken from films, a stereotype is "nobody takes his/her shoes at people's home in Western countries". People underestimate the real ethical and aesthetic value of the shoes-off culture.
This blog keeps me updated about the real situation. I am also happy to share thoughts with my friends here.

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks, Sandro.

Leo Sigh said...

I live in Thailand. I would no more think about keeping my shoes on in my house or anyone else's house than I would of rolling around in dog poo and sitting on my carpet. It's disgusting. Whenever I go back to the US to visit, I can't believe how many people tramp around their homes wearing filthy shoes that are tracking in god knows what.

Interesting blog :)

Celestial Fundy said...

Thanks for visiting, Leo.

Moderate Mouse said...

You know, even when I had originally joined this discussion and had the reservations I did about forgoing shoes at home, I think there was something inside me that told me I shouldn't think that way, that if I couldn't see s slippers or less at home to be just as much for going about household chores or anything else of a serious nature as I might have for say, lounging around or still being in pajamas, then shame on me.

To the Anonymous person who claims to "wear shoes inside all the time":

If you are the kind of person who regards wearing shoes as part of being dressed/ready for the day with or without any intention of going anywhere (and I was the same way at one time, believe me) that's your businss. But do you really wear shoes around the house ALL the time? Do you wear them when sleeping or showering/bathing? For that matter, if you're up and about your house in your pajamas at any time, day or night, for any reason, are your shoes on then? That's what I thought.

(P.S. I apologize if the latter part of my comment has come across as rude or tasteless. I was trying to make the point that surely even those who are most against the concept of banning shoes from the home would have to admit that there are times that call for shoes being off.)

Sandro said...

Thank you, CF

new york luxury apartments said...

I think it is okay to have a shoes off policy. Because finding a good, reasonably-priced rental apartment in a New York Metro neighborhood that matches your personality is what living in New York is all about.

Celestial Fundy said...

Did you really read the post, or are you just hoping for some more web traffic?