Sunday, January 01, 2017

Nordic Habits Die Hard

My mother had a Finnish lady over as a guest this New Year. She insisted the woman should keep her boots on when she came in, but the lady insisted on taking them off. Trying to get a Finn to keep her shoes on in the house is not going to work.


Paul said...

This is a bit bizarre and impolite to take your boots off when the hostess said you should keep them on, don't you agree?

Bob said...

Not impolite at all. The visitor may have felt her boots were dirty or that they may have damaged the flooring. I cannot speak for Matthew's mom but it is not uncommon for a host/hostess to tell someone it is not necessary to remove their shoes to be polite whilst they really would prefer that they be removed.
My wife and I went out to dinner last evening with three other couples and then back to one of their homes to ring in the New Year. During dinner the woman whose home we were going to afterwards mentioned that they had recently had their hardwood floors refinished. When we got to their home all the woman immediately began to take off their high heels over the "protests" of the hostess. BTW she had replaced her heels with slippers

Paul said...


First of all, just because the floors have been recently refinished does not mean you cannot wear shoes there. So it might be that the hostess really meant it that there was no need to take heels off, and she changed into slippers just for comfort. Did she provide slippers to her women guests or they had to walk in their stockings (which probably wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world)?

I would never ever ask my guests to take their shoes off as this would mean I value my floors over them (and, besides, I don't clean the floors myself.) Some guests ask whether they need to take their shoes off, my answer is always "as you wish." 90% of the time they leave their shoes on. If someone comes who doesn't know me very well and takes their shoes off without even asking, I look at it as being a bit overly familiar and can't help wondering "will this person rummage through my fridge?" In other people's houses, I keep my shoes on unless explicitly asked not to, and even then I ask "are you sure? My shoes are clean."

Bob said...

Paul, Thank you for your response. Obviously we feel differently about this matter. We have both expressed our opinions so further discussion in unwarranted.
Have a happy New Year

Mark said...

Last year I looked around a very grand house that was for sale. The owner greeted me and I automatically started to remove my shows. She said it wasn't necessary. Nevertheless I still took them off. I suspect she said I could keep shoes on because of our quant English manners and reserve.
The house has absolutely lovely carpets throughout and it was obvious that shoes did not get worn in the house.
Sometimes people say to keep shoes on when they really want them off.
Personally, I always take them off. After all, I can't expect people to respect my house if I don't respect theirs.

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