Sunday, February 27, 2011

Neat Freaks?


It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up after their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Degrees of Offalism


0. All children and adults may keep their shoes on.

1. Small children required to remove shoes, teenagers and adults may keep them on.

2. Children and teenagers required to remove their shoes, adults may keep them on.

3. All family members required to remove their shoes, visitors may keep them on.

4. Family members and close friends asked to remove their shoes, other visitors may keep them on.

5. Family members and visitors normally asked to remove their shoes, but exceptions made for parties and some formal occasions.

6. Family members and visitors are normally required to remove their shoes on all occasions, including parties.

I would say that you only count as having a shoes-off policy if you are at level 5. Level 4 is close, but in my opinion is not really a true shoes-off policy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest post from Sandro no.2

Sandro is writing from the perspective of somebody from the former Soviet Union where shoes-off is rather more common. Plastic bags might not be a common alternative or compromise in the west, but some of the arguments he offers against them could also be applied to shoe covers. For most people, taking their shoes-off should not be an hardship so shoe covers should not really be necessary.

On Plastic Bags

Sometimes, plastic/fabric bags are seen an altenative for slippers/stockinged feet. Yet I think there are some reasons to disfavor those:

1)whatever tramplians think of what they call the ugliness of feet, bags look obviosuly awkward, and so would feel anyone wearing them; a girl in in a Russian forum suggested such bags as an alternative when visiting homes, but everybody laughed at this suggesion.

2)such bags are really slippery and so dangerous for the wearer; a lady in a Baku forum said she had been using them in her child's kindergarten until she fell a couple of times, which made her switch to slippers.

3)street shoes are not allowed in kindergartens and hospitals around the ex-Soviet countries; visitors ar often offered bags to put on their shoes; yet quite often shoes-off is still required, with optional bags/stockinged feet/slippers; the reason is dirt from shoes still penetrates fabric and plastic, especially if there is some leakage.

4)shoe bags still don't protect parquet from heels

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tip For Party Hosts


If you are hosting a shoeless party and a guest arrives who is wearing a very nice pair of shoes or a pair of shoes you know to be new, always complement them. That way, they will not mind so much leaving them at the door.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

OT On Wheels: The Woman Who Would Not Take Off Her Shoes; in which I discuss my Disappointment with Home Carers lack of Respect

OT On Wheels: The Woman Who Would Not Take Off Her Shoes; in which I discuss my Disappointment with Home Carers lack of Respect
I asked her, “Please would you mind taking your shoes off? We don’t wear shoes in the house.”

“No, sorry, I can’t. Health and Safety.”

“What do you mean? Don’t you have some inside shoes?”

“No. We’ve been through this before, we don’t take our shoes off when were on the job.”

It might be hard for her to understand the implications of this. For me, this is a direct violation of my express wishes and an intrusion into my living space. My carpet is a little symbolic- I saved for a long time to afford it, because I considered it important for my family. It’s warm, and it’s clean. Nobody in the family is allowed to wear shoes on the new carpet- visitors may occasionally visit the bathroom, but no-one comes into the bedrooms with shoes on at all. Apart, that is, from the Home Care.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Isadora Duncan- Pioneer of Modern Dance

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) is generally viewed as the originator of the Modern Dance movement. She rejected the techniques of ballet in favour of more natural, emotive and free-flowing movements. She established several influential dance schools.

Rejecting the tight outfits and dance pumps of ballet, she and her pupils danced in loose-fitting Grecian style tunics and bare feet. Isadora Duncan might not have been the first professional dancer in Europe or America to dance bare foot, but under her influence, this became standard practice in modern dance. Her work challenged the assumption that everything needs to be done with shoes on. That is the kind of thinking that this blog is about.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011



Remember that game?

I remember when I was a teenager I used to go to parties and they would get me to play Twister. I used to find the game really irritating.

Twister is one game which must be played in socks or bare feet.

Being a shoe-less game, Twister might seem the perfect accompaniment for a shoe-less party. But is this a good idea?

Being a prudish fundamentalist, I would question whether Twister in mixed-sex adult company is really quite decent, but I will leave the morality of it to one side.

For a low-key, informal party with close friends where shoes-off is expected, Twister might be a perfect game to play.

Nevertheless, some people think removing shoes at a party is really tacky. If you then ask these people to play Twister, they will consider your party to be embarassingly juvenile. While we should make no apology for asking such guests to remove their shoes, it is arguable that we must win them over by the quality of our wine, the delights of our food and the intelligence of our conversation.

On the other hand, you have asked them to remove their shoes and get more intimate. With a few drinks to loosen inhibitions, you could argue that Twister is the logical progression from asking party guests to slip off their shoes.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Rather Obvious Answer


"If you are so obsessed with keeping your floor clean, don't invite anybody to your home."

If you are so obsessed with what you are wearing, don't visit anybody's home.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Home Viewing in New Zealand

There are frequently property programmes on in the hospital staff room during the day. At the moment, there is often a program on which is about families relocating to other countries and looking at houses abroad. Usually on this program, it is families moving to Australia. However, there were a family wanting to move to New Zealand on today.

Usually when viewing the Australian homes, the participants keep their shoes on. However, in New Zealand taking shoes off at the door is much more common. The family on the show today all took their shoes off, along with the agent. With this being New Zealand where people commonly go barefoot outdoors, they did not bother putting their shoes on again when viewing the lawn and garden and so went outside in their socks!