Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Please remove muddy footwear"

While seeing my sister in Dorset, I visited a pub with a sign that said "Please remove muddy footwear." I can't remember seeing one of those signs in a pub before. It makes sense with a lot of people coming in from country walks. I imagine the stone floor would have been a little uncomfortable to walk on in socks, but I suppose regulars would know to bring a change of footwear if their shoes were going to get muddy.

My Sister's New Carpet

My sister and her partner have a new carpet. It's quite lovely; off-white and made of natural wool. Obviously, they want to look after it and so they are pretty keen to keep their house shoe-free.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jordan now has a shoes-off policy!

The Sun: Exclusive look at Jordan’s mansion

Katie Price did not appear to have had a no-shoes rule at the time she did that awful television series, judging by what I saw of it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

No, you don't


I sometimes read blogs where the writer says 'I have a shoes-off policy in my home.' Then in the next paragraph, she states 'I would never ask visitors to remove their shoes.'

I am sorry, but if you normally let visitors come in your home with their shoes on you do not have a shoes-off policy. You have a shoes-on policy. You permit shoes to be worn in your home that have been on public toilet floors, which have walked on weed-killer saturated drives and which have walked on lead paint and all manner of other objectionable things.

It is not reasonable to assume that your guests have cleaner shoes than your children or your husband.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The relationship between host and guest


Some people seem to see the shoes-off rule as an unfair restriction on the freedom of guests. I think that is a very sad attitude.

I rather see the removing of shoes as a beautiful and peaceful exchange between host and guest.

The guest removes her shoes when she enters the home. She shows respect to the house she is entering. She does not treat it like a restaurant where her custom is king. Nor does she treat it as her own home, where she may do as she pleases. She has entered the home of another family and she must respect the fact that their lives are lived here.

The hostess is in turn delighted by the respect that the guest shows her. In removing her shoes, the guest has entered into the environment of her family. The hostess will treat her guest with all the courtesy and kindness that she would show to her own family members. She will take care to look after her to the utmost while she remains under her roof. She will serve her the best food, give her the best seat. If necessary she will drive her home in her car or let her stay the night.

In removing her shoes, the guest becomes like the hostess, who is already shoeless. She identifies with the hostess who has welcomed her into her home. In their both becoming shoeless, the host and guest enter a fellowship and unity. They are both without shoes; they are equals. This is true friendship.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Comparison With Smoking


I think a valid comparison can be made between asking guests to remove their shoes and asking them not to smoke for three reasons.

1. In asking guests not to smoke or to remove their shoes, you are asking them to observe a boundary.

One is asking the guest to behave differently than they might in their own home.

2. While there are health issues involved in both, the overriding issue is the inconvenience caused by either guests smoking or wearing shoes in the host's home.

If a guest lights a cigarette at a dinner party, nobody is going to die of lung cancer as a result. Likewise, if a guest walks a bit of weed-killer into the carpet, it is unlikely that somebody is going to die (not that one should not be concerned about the health implications of weed-killing being walked into the carpet).

The real issue is the inconvenience caused. Smoking will bring into the house smells that are not appreciated by the host and may result in cigarette ash getting into the carpet or furniture. A non-smoking host will not appreciate this. Likewise, the host will be inconvenienced by guests keeping their shoes on. Carpets and floors may be soiled or damaged.

3. There is a possibility that the guest's comfort may be impinged by either being asked not to smoke or to remove her shoes.

If guests cannot smoke indoors, they will either have to suffer the craving or go outside in the cold to smoke.

Removing shoes is rather less likely to cause discomfort, but some guests might still be embarrassed at being asked to remove their shoes or may be unused to being shoeless in another home. This can of course, be minimized if they are informed of the policy in advance.

Guests might also be embarrassed at being asked to follow a 'house rule.' They might feel like they are being treated like children.

However, it is most likely that guests will not be at all bothered and will respect that the host behaves a certain way, whether in not smoking or not wearing shoes in the house.

If it is reasonable to ask guests not to smoke, it is perfectly reasonable to ask guests to take off their shoes.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Off the Post: Please remove your shoes before entering Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s home, but feel free to park in his space

Off the Post: Please remove your shoes before entering Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s home, but feel free to park in his space
'The attempts of Russian footballers in the Premier League to communicate with their fans back in the Motherland is frequently hilarious. Imagine our delight then when we discovered that Everton star Diniyar Bilyaletdinov intermittently writes a blog for Russian website sports.ru.

The midfielder’s observations on settling in to life in Liverpool are very enjoyable – there’s no traffic and the air is clean, apparently. But there’s one British ‘tradition’ that really gets on his nerves.

He writes: “And one more feature – I did not accept. They always come in the house with their shoes on. Whether it is a visitor to your teammate or the plumber who comes to remove the data from the water meter. I always ask: remove shoes, and they wonder – why?”'

How to silently remind guests to remove their shoes


1. Cast your eyes downwards at the guest's feet for a few seconds.

2. Make a faint smile with gritted teeth.

3. Look down at the guest's feet again.

4. When the guest looks down, nod.

This may not work on first-time guests. This is best for reminding people who already know you don't want shoes in your house.