Monday, April 17, 2017

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

"I understand your hesitation when it comes to removing your shoes at someone else’s home. Whether your heels complete your outfit or you just feel uncomfortable being barefoot outside of your own home, taking off your shoes may feel awkward and almost too personal. But there are certain, and valid circumstances in which the request to remove shoes is appropriate and there is a right way to go about it."

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

by Stephen Matthews

Shoes are packed full of harmful bacteria picked up as people travel and these can multiply and spread on carpets and floors.

And just touching the infected surface could land you on the toilet for a couple of hours with the embarrassing stomach bug.

Study author Professor Kevin Garey said: 'It's amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs.'

A pro-shoes off story in the Daily Mail, the Darth Vader of tabloid newspapers. I absolutely hate the Daily Mail with its pro-Brexit stance and its hostility to immigrants. However, it's probably true that a lot of the readers of the Mail keep their homes shoe-free. This is where class comes in.

A lot of people with shoe-free homes are young, trendy, professional hipsterish people (like me?). However, a lot more are what you might call upper-working class people. Skilled manual workers and successful small business people. People who have done well for themselves and have nice homes. Such people have lovely white carpets and don't have the social pretensions that would keep posher, more middle-class people from asking guests to take their shoes off. Those are not the sort of people I would get on well with if we had a conversation about politics, but I'm definitely with them on taking your shoes off at the door.

Some of the Trump supporting Americans who follow me on Twitter favorite my tweets on removing shoes. They are probably a similar sort of people to those Daily Mail readers who keep shoe-free homes.

Yes, we British really are obsessed with class.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pounding the Streets

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?

by Stuart Heritage

"My brother is a fastidious shoes-off-er. I visited him recently and, within a couple of minutes, he gestured at my feet in horror. “What are those?” he asked. “These?” I replied, pointing to my trainers. “I bought them onli–” “No!” he yelled. “What are they doing on in my house?”

This is the best way to divide people. There are those who despise the thought of rubber on carpet, who lie awake panicking because wearing outdoors shoes indoors upsets the natural order of things. Then there are normal people like me, who don’t really care because they understand the purpose of doormats.

However, as much as I hate to admit it, the shoes-off-ers might be on to something. A recent study led by researchers at the University of Houston has shown that 26.4% of shoes carry Clostridium difficile, while a 2015 study claimed that 40% of shoes carry Listeria monocytogenes. Work on a farm? A 2014 study concluded that your boots are almost certainly covered in E coli. These are not the things that should be traipsed through living rooms."

This is from a 'shoes-on' perspective, but it's good to see this issue getting some coverage in a major newspaper. The comments seem pretty evenly divided.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Classic Conversion Story

After she sadly had her dog put to sleep, my colleague cleaned her carpets, which apparently required a good deal of effort. She's now asking visitors to take their shoes off.

It's quite common for people to adopt a shoes-off policy after having their carpets cleaned. Unfortunately, some people let it slip once they have forgotten the contrast between their clean carpets and their dirty carpets.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Keep Out Dog Dirt

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon removes her shoes while visiting a nursery

Another topical post.

The Scottish first minister and SNP leader recently removed her shoes while visiting a daycare nursery. While some nurseries have a shoes-off rule for hygiene reasons, it's more likely the first minister removed her shoes to be more comfortable while playing with the children.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Toxic Dust

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Atlantic: Around the world, slippers are used to keep the outside out of the home

The Atlantic: Around the world, slippers are used to keep the outside out of the home

by Margarita Gokun-Silver

The Victorian era added its own twist to the infatuation with the indoor shoe. Women used Berlin wool work, a needlepoint style popular at the time, to make the uppers of their husband’s home slippers. “[They] would take those uppers to a shoemaker who would then add a sole. And they would be gifted to the husband to wear while he is smoking his pipe by the fire in the evening,” says Semmelhack.

Portraits of the Russian upper classes of the 18th and 19th century frequently feature subjects in either the Ottoman style mules or in thin—intended for indoor use—slipper-shoes. The same couldn’t be said for the poor. Peasants and laborers are either shown barefoot, wearing boots meant for outdoor work, or donning valenki, the traditional Russian felt boot. Perhaps because of this link between the indoor footwear and the leisure of the rich, tapochki were snubbed immediately following the 1917 Russian Revolution. Remnants of the maligned, old world had no place in the new Soviet paradigm. But the sentiment didn’t stick. Although never as extravagant or ornate as before, soon tapochki were back in most Soviet homes offering their owners comfort after a long day of building the Communist paradise.

Today, attitudes towards taking off shoes indoors vary, often by national culture. An Italian friend told me it was considered rude to go barefoot in the house in Italy, and a Spanish friend raised her eyebrows when I offered a pair of slippers. “Spaniards don’t take their shoes off.”

In Japan, where slippers are a Western introduction, most people take off their outdoor shoes before going indoors. Jordan Sand, a professor of Japanese History at Georgetown University, notes that architecture accommodates the practice. “The Japanese live in dwellings with raised floors. It’s basic, even in modern apartment buildings, that every private dwelling has space at the entry,” he explains. “As you enter the door there is a little space and step up and the rest of the house is higher than the outside. You shed your footwear there. In a traditional house, most of the interior space is covered with tatami mats. No footwear is worn on tatami mats.” While the Japanese generally go either barefoot or wear socks on the mats, there are exceptions. In those parts of the house that aren’t covered by tatami—the kitchen, the hallway, and the toilet—people wear slippers. A singular pair of slippers is reserved specifically for the toilet, where it stays.

When I moved to the U.S. in 1989, slippers disappeared from my life. Americans never took off their shoes and their wall-to-wall carpeting bore traces of the outside tracked indoors on the soles of their footwear. I could never get used to it. My shoes came off immediately whenever I entered my house and I’ve asked my guests to take off theirs. The panoply of terry mules I have hoarded from hotels is always on hand to help.

A rare history of the custom of removing shoes and changing into slippers. Is Wearing Shoes Inside a Home (or on a Couch in the White House) Rude? Is Wearing Shoes Inside a Home (or on a Couch in the White House) Rude?

by Natalie Way

"Your house, your rules, says Aimee Symington, an etiquette expert and CEO of Finesse Worldwide: “If you are OK with your guests playing leapfrog from your sofa to your chairs, then great. But if you’d rather have your guests leave their shoes outside, that’s your choice, too.”

If your hosts have a shoes-off policy, it’s good manners to respect their rule.

In many cultures, removing your shoes inside is customary. If you are a guest in a home where this is the case, it’s polite to adhere to the homeowners’ wishes.

“In countries like Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and Turkey, it is common practice to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home,” Symington says. “For some, it may be a religious belief, a cultural protocol, or a practical exercise, but be aware of this and always ask your host if they would like you to remove your shoes before entering their home.”"

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Godwin's Law!

New Jersey 101.5: Are shoes-off-in-house Nazis the ones complaining about Kellyanne Conway?

Give me a break America. I had to wonder, are these people ripping her the same people who turn into Shoe Nazis when folks visit their homes? The ones with the little shoe basket? Where all guests immediately upon entering are instructing to take their shoes off so they down traipse across the homeowners sacred carpeting wearing, gasp!, shoes?

In this case, I suppose so.

It's a while since I have heard the term 'shoes-off Nazis' but I've been accused of it a few times. The expression 'Shoes-off Nazi' basically sums up Godwin's Law that an internet debate is effectively over when one side calls the other side Nazis.

With the rise of Trump, Brexit, and debates about feminism comparisons to Hitler are pretty normal. Basically everyone thinks their opponents are Nazis. Brexiteers compare the EU to the Third Reich, while Remainers sometimes compare Brexiteers to the Nazis. But calling people with a shoes-off policy 'Nazis' is the height of silliness.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

No! No! Not Shoes on the Sofa!

Trump advisor and former campaign manager got criticised for getting a little too casual in the White House, with her feet up on the sofa.

Worse than that, she didn't even take her shoes off. I bet her heels made a hole in the cushion.