Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This we know...

- You can make exceptions for elderly people or people with disabilities or medical conditions.

- Workmen who need to wear boots for safety can be excused.

- You can make exceptions for parties if you like.

- It's bad to demand shoes-off in a rude or aggressive manner.

We know all this. So why is there any real debate about having a shoes-off policy?

Parents' New House

I visited my parent's new house this weekend. It's bigger and much nicer.

One change is that the downstairs has wood flooring, while it is carpeted from the stairs upwards. This is the first house my parents have had with wood flooring. Naturally, they are worried about it getting scratched.

I'm not sure if they are about to start asking every visitor to remover his or her shoes, but they are avoiding wearing shoes in it themselves. My mother, who teaches English, had a French student staying who was removing her shoes at the door.

My mother asked me how much traffic I was getting to this blog (about 130-150 hits a day). She was surprised when I told her that removing shoes in homes was a controversial subject. She was surprised that anybody would be against the idea.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blue Cakes- A German Tradition:Guest Slippers

Blue Cakes- A German Tradition:Guest Slippers

'It’s customary when you go over to someone’s house in Germany to remove your shoes at the door. Being the neat freak that I am, I LOVE this tradition, and in the mess of winter with all the snow and slush, I think it’s particularly wonderful. Simply put, outdoor and dirty shoes just don’t belong on clean floors.

That said, although removing one’s shoes does do it’s job in keeping the house cleaner, it also conjures up a new problem: cold feet- and that’s no fun!

Many German homes have combated this problem with charm, practicality and an entirely new tradition: guest slippers. Just inside that entrance to one of these homes, you will be greeted a basket, drawer or shelf filled with your choice of various slippers that are made available to guests who visit.'

I have suggested here before that guest slippers would not necessarily be the best approach here in the UK. I think most British people are fine with taking their shoes off, but would find borrowing slippers a bit weird.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Long Strange Trip: To Shoe or Not to Shoe

Long Strange Trip: To Shoe or Not to Shoe

'Plus an article in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing May, 2007 which included a list of ways to decrease the risks of lead in the home.

Yes. Lead is apparently being tracked into our homes on the bottom of our shoes. That got my attention. I like to sit on the floor with my grandsons and play games.

As a result, I’m in the market for a sticker or unobtrusive sign to hang on my door. Shoes off. Please.

It is not my intent to debate the relative importance of such gestures compared to greater societal ills, and fears, such as terrorism, environmental hazards, disease and unemployment. I get that many people are struggling to put food on the table and keep their kids safe. By the same token, I feel that sacrificing civility, humility, and deference to others accelerates humanity’s decline. The crudeness and coarsening of our language is reflected in popular TV programs, music and movies. Self-restraint is dead. Self-centeredness is the order of the day.

But, kind sir . . . gentle woman, in my house . . . please remove your shoes. Okay?'

Patricia Little was kind enough to link to this blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tip Junkie: Remove The Shoes! {10 Creative Signs For Guests}

Tip Junkie: Remove The Shoes! {10 Creative Signs For Guests}

'Looking for some really creative ways to ask your guess to “remove the shoes!” I was asked over on the Tip Junkie Facebook page by Noralyn if, “I had any ideas for a sign that politely or comically request that my house guest remove their shoes at her front door.”

Asking guests to Take Off Shoes can be easier than you think with these fun ideas.'

Monday, August 15, 2011

Living in Perfect Harmony: What about your Shoes?

Living in Perfect Harmony: What about your Shoes?

Years later as a mother of three children, the house rule was that outdoor shoes had to be removed before entering the home. I was so worried at what surprises these three pairs of feet would bring in to the house! Then, as my children grew up and friends became a constant in our home, the rule applied to them as well. It was a habit that stuck.

Now, “God’s Little Angel”, (yes, my granddaughter) will soon be crawling around the floors of our houses. I shudder to think what she could pick up on her exploratory travels through the house if shoes were allowed.

It is summertime now. What a perfect time to instill changes in your homespace with regard to shoes.

Agree to change for the health of your homespace. And, if you cannot make abrupt all encompassing changes take baby steps. First, make sure you and those that dwell in your home remove shoes when entering the space. Then, gradually you will become more comfortable with asking others to do so as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Shoes-Off Policy is...

...simply one intelligent adult asking another intelligent adult to do something reasonable.

Saturday, August 06, 2011



Some people in Britain and the USA have an interesting perspective on this subject. They feel happy taking off their shoes at the home of an Asian person whose culture demands removal of shoes, but consider it deeply rude for a British or American person to insist on visitors to her home removing their shoes.

There are two problems with this attitude. Firstly, there is a touch of cultural arrogance about it. It implies that the Asian custom of removing shoes is purely of spiritual or cultural significance with no practical value. Maybe Asian people are primarily concerned about keeping their homes clean! Behind the pretended respect for a foreign culture, there is the unspoken assumption that Western practice is superior.

Secondly, this attitude seems to take a rather static view of culture, seeing it as a set of chains that bind people to particular rules of behaviour. In fact, culture is dynamic and fluid, it changes over time.

It seems to me to be quite obvious that if a person of Asian descent can be considered British while keeping her home shoe-free, it is perfectly acceptable for a White British person to keep her home shoe-free.

It may be the norm in Britain and most of the USA for shoes to stay on in homes now, but this may change. In fact, I believe it probably will. Many White Americans and even British people are adopting the custom of shoes-off in homes.

We are living in a global village with increased immigration, travel and communication between different cultures. There is tremendous potential for different cultural practices to migrate across geographical boundaries.