Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mumsnet: To ban the wearing of shoes in our house?

Mumsnet: To ban the wearing of shoes in our house?

More polarised debate on Mumsnet. Both shoes-off and shoes-on views are strongly represented there.

The people who say "We don't wear shoes in the house, but we would never ask guests" are not the middle-ground in this debate; they are on the shoes-on side. Nobody is debating whether you should take your own shoes off or make your children remove their shoes. The big question is whether you should ask guests for shoes-off.

21 comments:

Mark said...

I find the whole debate most perplexing. You can guarantee that it just about always turns nasty.
I ask myself what is it that makes it so hard for people to accept that many homes will ask everyone to remove their shoes. I am middle aged and I can't remember anyone I knew who wore shoes in the house. I concede that not all of these people asked their guests to remove their shoes.
clearly there is something about being asked to remove them that upsets people, especially in the USA.
If you remove shoes in your own house then what is the problem doing the same in others?

Matthew Celestis said...

Indeed; what is the problem?

Mark said...

Yes Matthew,and I have asked people on forums this very question and they are usually totally unable or unwilling to answer.
Therefore I suspect that it really has nothing to do with removing shoes but people actually object to being asked. They see it as an imposition or maybe and abuse of their perceived right to choose.
I have also encountered people who ask children to remove shoes but not adults. Another peculiarity.
So it is possible that for many this is about power.
There appears to be a strong psychological element in all of this.
But in all of the debates we see, few seem to get as vitriolic and polorised as something so innocuous and removing shoes.
It is a strange place we inhabit.

Bob said...

I recently saw a picture of your PM's wife campaigning. According to the article she was invited into the home of a voter for a cup of tea. Before entering she and another campaign worker removed their shoes. Apparently she has no issue respecting the wishes of her host to remove her shoes.
Mark I think that some people are reluctant to remove their shoes as they feel a loss of control.

Sandro said...

I think this has a lot to do with the host's ethnical identity.

Bob said...

Sandro, the ethnicity of the host/hostess should have no bearing. The fact that the host is Indian/Japanese/Korean or what ever gives them no greater claim to requesting shoes off than I. To say that you are willing to remove your shoes for fear of offending their culture has no validity

Matthew Celestis said...

Thanks for drawing my attention to that, Bob.

Bob said...

You are most welcome Matthew

Sandro said...

Bob, it should have no bearing, but I'm afraid it has, in Ms.Cameron's eyes.

Sandro said...

Would she offer to remove her shoes so readily if she visited, say, Mat's home?

Bob said...

Sandro I would hope that she would be as respectful of Matthew's wishes as she was of the Indian gentleman's.

Anonymous said...

Of course she would if Mat expressed his wish. Yet would she initiate as she has in the case?
Sandro.

Matthew Celestis said...

I'm sure she would be respectful of my wishes, Bob. But it's not impossible that if she failed to notice my 'Please take your shoes off' doormat (it tends to get covered in shoes), I might have to ask her.

Not that I'm expecting a visit from the lovely SamCam

Mark said...

I suspect that this was a well staged publicity stunt by Mr and Mrs Cameron. Let us see if she repeats her actions when she visits someones home where its not culturally respectful to remove shoes. What she did was guaranteed to attract media attention.

Matthew Celestis said...

You're not a Tory then, Mark? :)

Sandro said...

She would certainly get the hint of shoes at your door, Mat, and act accordingly )
Otherwise, I'm afraid she wouldn't. Your shoeless feet wouldn't be enough :)
Anyway, I still think that this visit shows the tendency: shoes off is becoming a norm.
PS. why not ask her for a comment?:)

Bob said...

In my opinion I would have to agree with Matthew and Sandro that she would remove her shoes if she saw the door mat or was asked. Further I think that she removed her shoes when visiting this gentleman's home because she was either asked or noticed that he was shoeless. I do not think that most people would remove their shoes, assuming they were not wet or otherwise soiled, if the host/hostess was wearing shoes or did not request it. So in summary I do not think that she willingly removed her shoes to attract media attention

Matthew Celestis said...

If she removed her shoes to get media attention, I'm sure she would have put nail varnish on!

Based on my experience, a lot of people in Britain would take their shoes off without being asked, sometimes automatically. But perhaps not a public figure like Samantha Cameron.

So is old Bill Clinton going to take his shoes off when he visits voters?

Bob said...

LOL Matthew....the voters Bill would want to visit would probably necessitate his taking off more than his shoes!
Taking off ones shoes automatically is not common in the US. Women who maintain a shoe free home are more apt to than others feeling that if they request it in their homes they should show the same courtesy to others. My wife generally falls into this camp. Large gatherings where other women are in shoes would be the notable exception.

Matthew Celestis said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding the difference between Britain and the USA.

In Britain people are more likely to assume shoes off is preferred, but are less likely to request shoes off.

In the USA, people are more likely to assume shoes can stay on, but more people feel comfortable asking for shoes off.

It's funny how cultural differences can be so subtle.

Mark said...

I may be cynical but a politician is not going to miss an opportunity to get media attention. Mrs Cameron is by proxy a politician. The whole visit was staged for the media. I suspect the Camerons and the person they visited don't exactly move in the same social circles. We live in cynical times. The visit itself was entirely cynical and would not have happened unless we were having a general election