Monday, April 21, 2014

The Warsaw Blog- Cultural lesson: It's a trap

The Warsaw Blog- Cultural lesson: It's a trap


'Times change, but it’s still likely you might be offered slippers. If you hear: “Oh, maybe you’d like some slippers?” remember: it’s not a question, it’s an order. Basically hosts are trying to say: take off your shoes, we love our linoleum more than any of our guests. Even if sleepers are not on offer, remember to ask if you should take off your shoes. Next thing you know, the hosts will probably offer you their slippers. There’s no way to win.'


13 comments:

Bob said...

I found the customs to be interesting and a bit funny regarding the flowers and where to shake hands. Not a fan of slippers being offered, but would obviously not object to removing my shoes. If asked if I would like a pair of slippers I would respond with something like I heard my wife say once in a similar situation "No thank you but I will be happy to take off my shoes"

Kelly said...

How about this, "No thank you, I would prefer to keep my shoes on"?

Matthew Celestis said...

Kelly, if you said that to me I would either let you in or not depending on how close friends we were or why you were visiting.

But would you really feel comfortable saying that to somebody in a different culture like Poland? Would you not be a bit worried about causing offense, knowing that customs were different there?

I'm not sure it would cause great offense in Poland (though probably a bit of annoyance), but it would certainly be very offensive if you said it in Japan or South Korea.

Bob said...

Kelly, A few things I'd like to point out 1) I feel that it is best to advise people before hand about no shoes rules to allow them to not visit, bring slippers or accept the fact that they will be shoeless when they visit.
2)If you show up somewhere unexpected and don't know the customs of the home, either leave or deal with it. 3)Since you know the rules of our home and opted to visit we would expect that you would remove your shoes and either go about in stocking feet or bring either slippers or flat soled shoes that had not been worn outdoors. 4) We once had a lady who was trying to sell us a food plan. We asked that she remove her shoes she declined and suggested that we discuss it in the foyer. We declined that suggestion and she left. It seems that Matthew may be more tolerant than us.
Also if someone could not remove their shoes for physical reasons we would certainly accommodate them.

Sandro said...

Sounds strange:

Frank J. Bielatowicz, US Army WW2 veteran:
When the Italians went to church, they took their shoes off and they left them out in the -- like the hallway. They didn't wear the shoes in the church. And these people didn't have the shoes to give to the kids. So, me and Wally got the shoes like in Lucca, it was a little town, and we were able to give them the pair of shoes after we were off the front lines. We went to see 'em, they were nice people.

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.73413/transcript?ID=sr0001

Matthew Celestis said...

Bob, I'm more tolerant?

I can think of certain situations in which I might relax the rule for somebody who was willing (but still unable) to remove her shoes.

For instance if I was starting a business and Kelly was going to invest in my enterprise. I might not want to turn Kelly away.

Or if it was somebody I had known for years and there visit was something I was really looking forward to.

Matthew Celestis said...

I mean unwilling but able.

Bob said...

Matthew, I accept the two situations you presented as very reasonable for relaxation of the rules. We would probably do the same.
I guess that I am still perplexed by someone who is able but unwilling especially if they were forewarned. To Candace, myself and you it would be a polite gesture to do as a host asks.

Mat said...

Here's what I do. I automatically go to remove my shoes when I enter anyone's home, unless they specifically ask me to keep them on. I feel that avoids any awkwardness. If they insist I keep them on I check that they're sure about that. Personally I'm not happy about that but I respect their view. Most don't say anything when I take them off.

Matthew Celestis said...

Sandro, never heard of such an Italian custom. Maybe they were of Albanian descent. There are quite a lot of Italo-Albanians.

Bob said...

Matthew Candace and I follow much the same behavior. Personally I cannot recall an instance in the recent past where we even had to ask a guest. The only situation that came remotely close was when a girl friend of Candace's visited and brought her sister who was visiting from out of town.
Our friend walked in and after introductions said to her sister "we can just leave our shoes here"

Sandro said...

Neither did I. Tried to google again, yet found no other links. Albanians - could be, yet Lucca is on the other side of the peninsula.

Kelly said...

I would find it a bit presumptuous if someone I did not know well took their shoes off at my house. To me it would mean this person is overstaying his or her welcome, and I would wonder what he or she would do next - rummage in my fridge, maybe? All in all, I keep my shoes on at other people's houses and I prefer that others did the same in mine.