Sunday, October 08, 2017

My Sister's Housewarming Party

Yesterday I attended the housewarming party of my sister and her partner in east London. They are renting; they can't afford to buy a property with astronomical London prices.

My sister and her partner were not wearing shoes inside, but they were not bothered whether people took their shoes off and said so when asked by the guests (unlike me- when I threw my housewarming I specifically requested shoes off on the invitation). The majority of the guests removed their shoes, but some did keep their shoes on.

It's interesting to think about the mentality of the person who comes in, sees lots of shoes by the door, but keeps their shoes on. Maybe it shows that the UK is not a very conformist society. Is the US even less conformist? Would people be even less likely to take the cue at an American party?

What it shows is that it is just not enough to leave your shoes by the door and assume that people will take the hint. If you do want shoes off, you are sometimes going to have to ask politely.

Sign in a Shop in Henley

I was on holiday with my father two weeks ago, in Henley-on-Thames, a very posh town in Oxfordshire where houses sell for millions of pounds.

In a shop in Henley, I saw this sign on sale with the message 'Leave your dirty boots here: Only your smile is welcome.' I suppose it's a bit much for posh people in Henley to ask visitors to always take their shoes off, but they can at least ask for boots muddied by coutry lanes to come off. I'm not sure how the 'only your smile is welcome' would go down.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mumsnet: Would you ask a healthcare professional to remove shoes if coming inside your house?

Mumsnet: Would you ask a healthcare professional to remove shoes if coming inside your house?

Another fierce debate on Mumsnet. Those on the 'No' side made some good arguments about the safety of lone workers, however, those arguing for 'Yes' made some good points too. I liked this comment:

"If a family are living with a disease like cancer they are likely to be very anxious and feel pretty powerless in the face of it.
Respecting their need to feel in control of the cleanliness of their environment would be a nice thing to do.
I guarantee most of them know that taking your shoes off won't prevent infections but if it helps them feel safer, why not do it?
Why not use anti bac if it helps?

People are not automatically stupid and demanding because they are in need of in-home care. We visit them at the worst times of their lives. Putting up with a few illogical requests is not difficult. It doesn't impinge on your professional status.
Its kind.

I don't understand why people get so offended. You walk away from that household at the end of your visit. They are still there dealing with caring 24 hours a day for their child or facing the death of a loved one.

Why not let them feel listened to?"

People do not choose to need healthcare workers. There need for respect in their home environment is as important as the healthcare workers' need for safety.

The 'No' side in this rightly point out that healthcare workers will visit many homes which are very dirty and whose residents may present a physical threat necessitating a quick exit. However, those living in clean homes who would never dream of assaulting a nurse or social worker may be deeply affronted by being treated in the same manner. Simply citing trust policy or health and safety does not remove the sense of invasion and disrespect some may feel when healthcare workers decline to remove their shoes. This is not at all an easy topic.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Organic Life: 5 Healthy Reasons To Adopt A Shoes-Off Policy At Home

Organic Life: 5 Healthy Reasons To Adopt A Shoes-Off Policy At Home

by Kathleen Corlett

“Basically any surface environment can be contaminated by animal fecal material every day,” writes M. Jahangir Alam, lead author of the report that was published this January and assistant professor at the University of Houston's College of Pharmacy. “It’s hard to find any surface without fecal contamination.” Even if you do try your best to sidestep any small pile of dog poop on your daily commute, spores from previous droppings can survive on surfaces for many months. Then, when we unknowingly walk on contaminated surfaces, our shoe soles become contaminated.

A very good article on why one should apply a shoes-off policy consistently and with as few exceptions as possible.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Theresa May in Japan

Theresa May removed her shoes in Japan for a tea ceremony; though it doesn't look like a proper tea ceremony. I'm pretty sure you kneel down for a tea ceremony. That looks like cheating.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

AirBNB Tip

UpOut: How To Run An AirBNB Behind Your Landlord’s Back

No shoes, no service —

Lay down the law regarding cleanliness. Only rent to non-smokers without pets, and ask them to take off their shoes.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Marie Claire: The very gross reason you should never wear shoes indoors

Marie Claire: The very gross reason you should never wear shoes indoors

by Penny Goldstone

"And in case that wasn’t enough to make your skin crawl, you have to worry about toxins too. Another study by Baylor University found that toxins from asphalt roads sealed with col tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins. Said toxins settle as dust particles, which can attach themselves to your shoes.

Dr Reynolds says, ‘Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.’

Oh, and then there’s the obvious factor of dirt, which is always a pain to clean off carpet, right?

The moral of the story is we are going to stock up on some decent slippers, stat."

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I learned about this from a comment by an Assad supporter in some forum. It seems President Assad of Syria and his wife removed their shoes when visiting the families of wounded soldiers. He might be a brutal dictator who uses chemical weapons to kill his own people, but he at least shows some basic courtesies when visiting people on his own side. Make of that what you will. Far be it for me to make propaganda for nasty regimes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ideal Home: What makes a bad house guest? We reveal the habits we find most annoying in our visitors

Ideal Home: What makes a bad house guest? We reveal the habits we find most annoying in our visitors

"It may or may not surprise you to learn that ‘refusing to take off shoes at the front door’ is the behaviour that annoys us the most. This is closely followed by guests that help themselves to food from the fridge. Tut tut!"

No doubt most of the people who moan about guests not removing their shoes are the people too timid to ask them to take their shoes off.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hosting in Hastings

I am on holiday and staying with my parents in Hastings this week. They had a Brazilian English language teaching staying with them as well. The chap who organised his trip asked my father to transport two of the man's students to their host family. The host family turned out to be living in a rather rough looking neighbourhood in Hastings. She also owned a rather fierce looking bull terrier. I am not sure I would have wanted to stay there. I was interested to see the hostess asked the two Brazilian girls to leave their shoes outside the house before they came in. Maybe to avoid them getting chewed up by the bull terrier?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

by Alexandra Black Paulick

"I made a major cultural mistake early on in my Asia adventure. It was in Thailand and I started blazing across the foyer to the reception desk in our small off the beaten path lodging. It had been a long day and I was more than ready to claim my room and curl up for a long night sleep. A bustling grandmother behind the counter quickly came running to block my path, utterly in shock at my onset.

You see I still had my sandals on. I had crossed the barrier of the lobby still wearing my chacos.

Much to my surprise, the older host of the house requested that our shoes be removed outside. It suddenly dawned on me that in my haste, I had passed a small group of shoes outside on the steps leading into the hotel. Slowly a memory of someone commenting about shoes and customs in Asia came to the forefront.

I went to slide my sandals off, still holding them in my hand but proceeding barefoot. Strike two. While our host was friendly and accommodating, she was committed that my shoes remain outside."

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

by Hannah Logan

"What makes it even worse is how obvious it is that I do not wear shoes indoors. If my bare (or sock) feet aren't indication enough, check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It's not a new decoration technique; they are there for a reason. And while this is obvious to most people, there are still some who are completely oblivious.

It also implies something about how the visitor feels about a place. Shoes are meant to be worn to protect your feet and keep them clean. For every person who keeps theirs on, I can't help but take it as a judgment against me and my home. As if my living space isn't clean or safe enough for them to risk taking their shoes off. I understand that, more likely than not, this is never the intention. Given the amount of action that my Swiffer and vacuum see, I can't actually believe that visitors consider my floors to be hazardous. Still, irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended."

The author states she does not request people to remove their shoes. This is the problem. It's useless seething with anger at people for not taking their shoes off if you are not prepared to communicate that this is your expectation. Lots of people leave their own shoes at the door, but would never expect guests to remove their shoes, so she cannot assume this is a big enough clue. She is going to have to learn to be more assertive.