Sunday, December 21, 2014

Emily Post- The Etiquette Daily: The Shoes stop here: How to accept the ‘no shoes’ policy

Emily Post- The Etiquette Daily: The Shoes stop here: How to accept the ‘no shoes’ policy

Q. I was recently in the home of close friends who announced they were going to start the ‘no shoes allowed in the home’ rule soon. I was surprised and commented ‘you aren’t serious, are you?’ They indeed are. I have always considered that rule to be downright rude and believe it communicates to the guest that the homeowners possessions are more important than they. I do not think it is hospitable. It’s their home so I guess they can do what they wish, but is there any way I can communicate my opinion without being rude? Is it rude to choose not to comply?

A. In some cultures it would be rude not to take off your shoes when entering a home. Your friends may have very good reasons for deciding no more shoes. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they consider their possessions more important than their friends. It is their home and they do have the right to make rules concerning it; so next time you visit take along a pair of slipper socks and enjoy yourself.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Another Sign

I was out delivering leaflets again for the Conservative Party again and came across another house with a 'Please remove your shoes' sign. That makes a total of five of such signs that I have seen in Stevenage. Of course, most houses I see have a few pairs of shoes sitting by the door.

This one was a yellow plastic plaque nailed to their front door.

Interesting that this one was outside the house. Only one of the other signs that I have seen in Stevenage was outside the front door, as opposed to in the hallway or porch.

If you were going to put up such a sign, would you put it inside or outside your house?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SKCheung: Should Guests Lose Their Shoes at My House Party?

SKCheung: Should Guests Lose Their Shoes at My House Party?

'It is your home and whether you want the guests to keep their shoes or not, it’s your choice. You don’t want high heels or spiked heels marring your recently finished hardwood flooring, of course. The key here is to make sure you let guests know of what you expect so that everyone can still have a good time shoeless or not at your house. You’re the host but you still owe it to the guests for coming, so make them feel warm and welcome!'

EcoNovice: Is Your Home Shoeless? 3 Critical Reasons to Leave Shoes at the Door

EcoNovice: Is Your Home Shoeless? 3 Critical Reasons to Leave Shoes at the Door

'As we enter the winter months and the holidays, keeping shoes out of your home can become a little more challenging. But the benefits are worth it! Removing your shoes (and encouraging your guests to do likewise) reduces the amount of toxic pollutants in your home, decreases the time and money you spend on cleaning, and promotes the development of healthier stronger feet.'

Monday, November 17, 2014

20s/ 30s Conference

This weekend I attended a charismatic evangelical conference for people in their twenties and thirties. I noticed that about a third of the delegates at the conference had their shoes off during the worship sessions. That sort of seems normal for people that age. Maybe in a generation or two it will be the norm to take one's shoes off in church.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Today's Parent: Shoes on or off?: A surprisingly contentious issue

Today's Parent: Shoes on or off?: A surprisingly contentious issue

Article by Emma Waverman

'When you enter another person’s home, is it shoes on or shoes off? It’s a surprisingly contentious issue and, as we near the holiday season, one that merits discussion.

I grew up in a household where shoe removal was not mandatory—and it still isn’t with my family. If your shoes are dry and complement your outfit, then they can stay on, so long as they’re not on the furniture.'

However, I didn’t realize how strongly divided people were about footwear. For example, a woman living in Great Britain runs a blog called Shoes Off at the Door, Please which lists 37 reasons why people should remove their shoes when entering a house. She lists cleanliness and safeguarding the floors, but also that it simply creates a “more relaxing atmosphere.”'

I appreciate the mention. Of course, she is not the first person to wrongly assume I'm a lady.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Congratulations to Bruce Rauner

Congratulations to Bruce Rauner, the new Republican governor of Illinois. I had mentioned a little while ago that Mr. Rauner and his wife have a shoes-off policy in their house. That's a domestic policy that shows good sense.

I hope they keep up the no-shoes rule in the governor's mansion.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Syrian Rebel

The front cover of the Independent featured a photograph of a rebel fighter in Syria. I love the fact that this rebel has removed his shoes before crouching on a mattress to fire a gun. Such perfect etiquette.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Daily Mail: Millions of Britons could be at risk from pneumonia, E. Coli and salmonella from filthy rugs

Daily Mail: Millions of Britons could be at risk from pneumonia, E. Coli and salmonella from filthy rugs

Millions of Britons could be at risk of life-threatening diseases from an unlikely source - their filthy carpets.
Unclean rugs can contain a shocking level of disease-inducing bacteria, according to research released today.
After swabbing the shoes of people of various ages across the UK, scientists found high levels of bacteria from the pneumonia and E.Coli families.

Yahoo Answers: Is it rude to ask female visitors to take their stiletto heels off at the door to protect the wood floors?

Yahoo Answers: Is it rude to ask female visitors to take their stiletto heels off at the door to protect the wood floors?

And Her Little Dog: No Shoes – Baby on the Loose

And Her Little Dog: No Shoes – Baby on the Loose

'So yesterday we did something a little different.

Our house became a shoe-free zone.

Ok, ok. Not entirely shoe-free. I still have my entire closet full of my favorite footwear. But we decided that we were no longer going to allow shoes to be worn in our home. From now on, you have to take your shoes off at the front door!'

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Home.Health.Love: Why You Should Have a No-Shoe Policy at Home

Home.Health.Love: Why You Should Have a No-Shoe Policy at Home

'Since having kids, we’ve instituted a no-shoe policy in our house. My three-year-old daughter is so used to this, that she immediately takes off her shoes whenever we go to someone else’s home, and she’ll often ask me why others aren’t doing the same.

I always find it awkward to ask guests to remove their shoes and it feels like an imposition. They just arrived and here I am making a demand of them! I am aware of the nuisance, but I have good reasons for it.

Studies have shown that people track in all sorts of harmful toxins from outside the home when they walk into the house without removing their shoes. These toxins persist in the air in the form of dust, which is inhaled and absorbed by our skin as it settles on the floor and furniture. Chemicals stay in the air and on surfaces longer in our homes than they do outdoors, where the sun and rain help break down pesticide residues.'

Pretty Handy Girl: Remove Your Shoes at the Door

Pretty Handy Girl: Remove Your Shoes at the Door

'Want to cut down on your vacuuming? Want to make your carpets last 10 times longer? Want to keep bacteria out of your home? Wow, sounds like a miracle product right? Actually you can accomplish all of the above by simply training yourself and your family to remove their shoes at the door.'

Sunday, September 14, 2014



This is probably the most difficult house rule for people to maintain with guests, simply because many find it awkward to ask. But if this is a house rule that is important to your family (And it should be! To find out why, check out “One Simple Step That Can Keep Your Child Healthy”), it’s vital to maintain it with anyone who walks through your door.

Chicago Sun-Times: Will Rauner’s shoe rules follow him to Springfield mansion?

Chicago Sun-Times: Will Rauner’s shoe rules follow him to Springfield mansion?

'Hmmm. News GOP gubernatorial gazillionaire Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana — who own nine homes — plan to actually reside in the governor’s mansion in Springfield if he wins prompts Sneed to ask this question.

Will the ramshackle mansion they plan to fix up be off-limits for . . . um, shoes?

As Sneed noted awhile back, Mrs. Rauner doesn’t like shoes worn in the house.'

Apparently Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor of Illinois has a shoes-off policy. Good for him and Mrs. Rauner. I hope he does implement it in the governor's mansion in the event of his being elected.

The Stir: I Ask People to Take Off Their Shoes in My House -- So What?

The Stir: I Ask People to Take Off Their Shoes in My House -- So What?

'About eight years ago, right around the time our daughter was born, my husband and I instituted a "shoes off" policy in our home. It seemed pretty minor at the time. All we asked was that guests not track the mud, dirt, and mess from the outside world into the house where our baby spent so much time on the floor.

With certain visitors, though, this was no simple feat (get it? hee). In fact, some -- I'm looking at you, Dad -- simply ignored the request and chose instead to traipse around the house, tracking all that mud, dirt, and everywhere. Thanks a lot!

Apparently, we are not alone. Whether or not to ask guests to take off their shoes is, as it turns out, a controversial move. Many moms (here at CafeMom and elsewhere) think it's the height of rudeness to require your friends and family to go around in their socks or bare feet. It's not. What's rude is ignoring a house rule when you're the guest because YOU don't feel like untying your laces.

The fact is, it IS a health hazard to have people wear their shoes inside your house. Even if you have hardwood floors like we do.'

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Looking at the stats, this blog seems to be getting a lot of visits from readers in France. Maybe removing shoes at the door is a hot topic over there.

Would any of our French visitors care to comment?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Food For Thought: Having A "No Shoe" Home Rule

Some great advice about having a shoe-free home. British people need more of this lady's assertive attitude.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kate Gosselin

Apparently the American television personality Kate Gosselin has a no-shoes rule. She requires this of the camera crew filiming the reality show about her lifestyle, Jon & Kate Plus 8:

Kate Gosselin’s Supposedly ‘Strict’ Rules For Her Show’s Crew Are Actually Very Reasonable

Friday, August 01, 2014

Bucking the Trend in Sheffield

More on the Turtle Mat survey:

The Star: Sheffield named one of most house proud cities

According to a study of domestic standards, 71 per cent of the city’s residents remove their shoes in their own home, and more than half would ask guests to do so too.

I suppose northerners are more candid. If they want you to take your shoes off, they won't mince their words. Good for people in Sheffield.

The Turtle Mat Survey

Turtle Mat Blog: Turtle Mat 2014 Houseproud Survey

A survey by the doormat copany Turtle Map surveyed British towns to find out how likely British people were to remove their shoes and ask guests to remove their shoes. The results are a little unsurprising, with the South being the most houseproud in general. One interesting result though, was that while women were overall more likely than men to remove their shoes, men were more likely to ask guests to take their shoes off.

On the whole, it identified the British norm as I have described it here, that most British people take their shoes off in their own homes, but would not require guests to do the same. This contrasts with Sweden or Norway, where guests would be expected to remove their shoes and also with Spain and Italy, where most people keep their shoes on in their own homes. I suspect the results of a similar survey in America would show a sharp polarisation between people who keep their shoes on and people who require shoes off for guests, with less of the British comproise approach.

I'm not sure I like the tone of the way the results were presented, with the implied suggestion that asking for shoes off is impolite or unwelcoing. What is impolite or unwelcoming about asking people to do what they would do in their own homes anyway? I suspect a not-so hidden agenda; it's certainly in the interests of a doormat manufactuer for people to wear shoes indoors, then they will spend more money on expensive doorats.

What do they do in Worcester?

Those of you who followed this blog in the early days might be aware I used to live in Worcester. It seems like such a long time since those days. I found this:

Worcester: Welcome to Friendly Worcester

The study, by Turtle Mat, primarily examined nationwide attitudes to cleanliness, judged on the number of people who take their shoes off when in their own home and ask guests to do the same.

And in a quintessentially British trait the majority of people always take their shoes off when in their own homes, but a lot are too polite to ask guests to do the same.

This trend was true for Worcester with 85 percent of people saying they always remove their shoes in their own home but almost two thirds would not ask guests to follow suit.

This is such a typically British stance. Taking one's own shoes off, but not minding guests coming in with shoes on. I think I prefer bolshy Americans who insist on shoes off for everybody who steps past the door.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Well that's original New Retail store launces asking shoppers to take off their shoes at the door.


On Saturday July 19 at 9am in Albany’s Westfield Shopping Centre, the new look
Number One Shoes super-store will launch with a housewarming party inviting the public to take off their old shoes at the door and walk in barefoot to get a brand new pair, all for free.

Limited to the first 100 people through the doors, it’s a shoe store opening set to bring excitement to local Albany shoppers this Saturday.

Sounds a rather New Zealand sort of thing to do.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A New Rule for Natasha and Stan

A short story I wrote a while ago.

Natasha took a glance outside the window at her three children playing in the backyard. For once they looked like they were behaving themselves and not trying to kill each other. Natasha had been waiting all afternoon for the sounds of screaming and the cries of hurt children, but that noise had not yet come.

Relaxed, Natasha turned away from the window and sat down. She picked up a celebrity gossip magazine. The cover was splashed with the name Mishelle Beckfield, wife of the famous footballer, Wayne Beckfield.

Natasha adored Mishelle Beckfield. Like herself, Mishelle had grown up on a council estate in Bedfordshire. Mishelle had got lucky and dated a guy who turned out to be a brilliant footballer. She had got to enjoy that glorious WAG lifestyle, travelling the world, meeting film stars and living in massive houses. Natasha always loved to see what Mishelle was wearing and she scoured the shops for cheap immitations of her outfits.

Natasha loved Stan her husband, but she rather wished she had married a footballer and not a gardener like him. Stan was an alright bloke, but he enjoyed watching football, not playing it. He was not drop dead gorgeous or stylish like Wayne Beckfield was either.

She tried to imagine what it must be like, living in a villa in the south of France and not a tiny council house. Mishelle didn't have to spend all day shouting at her kids; she had a nanny to look after them.

Slipping out of her reverie, Natasha opened up the magazine and flicked to the feature on the famous WAG. The feature had a collection of photographs of a party on Mishelle's gigantic luxury yacht. Natasha noticed that all of the guests were barefoot. The text informed her that shoes were not allowed on board to protect the precious teak decks.

Thinking of wooden decks, Natasha glanced down at the new wooden floor that the council had installed a month ago. She had been delighted when the new floor had been put in, as the old carpets had been filthy and worn. She did notice that even this new floor had gotten a bit scratched. There was a particularly nasty looking dent that her friend Vicky had made the other day when she came in wearing killer heels. Natasha always liked to giggle at the way her friend tottered around so clumsily in them. Mishelle knew how to walk properly in heels.

Looking at the scratches on the floor, Natasha supposed that the shoe-ban on Mishelle's yacht made a lot of sense.

Although the house was small, Natasha loved it. It was modern and a huge improvement on some of the places she had lived before. She had seen an awful lot of squalor when she had been younger. The council flat she had lived in when she had her first baby had been particularly grotty.

She was living in a nice place. It might not be a villa in the south of France, but it was good. Why shouldn't she keep it that way? She had a family, why shouldn't they live in a nice environment?

Natasha slipped off her flip flops and hastily carried them to the front door. She also picked up a pair of trainers that Stan had discarded next to his favorite armchair. She placed those next to her flip flops.

Natasha heard the sound of blokes laughing and the door opening. Stan and his fat friend, Dave, had come back from the pub.

" Hi luv! We've come back to watch the Grand Prix," said Stan. "There's some crap film on at the pub. I brought Dave along too. Is there any beer in the fridge?"

Natasha had put a couple of cans of Stella in the fridge, but first things first.

She took a deep breath and made a stern face.

"Right guys, take your trainers off and leave 'em next to the door, please. We're going to have a new rule in here. Shoes off when you come in," said Natasha.

Stan's jaw dropped.

"What for?" spluttered Stan.

"This new floor the council put in; it's getting messed up already. It's time to start looking after it," explained Natasha.

"I have to take my shoes off every time I come in?" asked Stan.

"I spend ages cleaning this place, Stan. It's the least you can do," replied Natasha.

Dave did not seem to happy about the new rule.

"Do I have to take mine off?" Dave asked.

"Yes. You're shoes are probably as dirty as Stan's. All my friends are going to have to take their shoes off too," said Natasha.

"I dunno, luv..." mumbled Stan.

"Are you two worried about getting cold feet? Right bunch of girls the pair of you!" exclaimed Natasha.

Alright, alright, babe! I'll take my shoes off," said Stan as he fumbled with his trainers. Dave followed suit.

"Very good. When you're done you'll find some Stella in the fridge."

"Yes!" they both said gleefully.

Turning from the two men, Natasha heard her children coming in from the backdoor. With the blokes on board, now was the time to explain the new rule to the kids...

Monday, July 07, 2014

FashionTV Swimwear Models at Zepter Yachts Launch Party

Fashion TV shows a swimwear fashion parade at a yacht party in Monte Carlo.

It's funny to see the models all wearing killer heels, while the guests are all barefoot. You might have thought that with the models exhibiting swimming costumes that they could have dispensed with their shoes like the guests.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Running Total

I was out canvassing for the Conservative party again tonight. I came across another house with a 'Please take your shoes off' sign on their door. Disappointingly, the owner was not a Tory voter.

In my time canvassing in Stevenage, I have seen a total of three 'shoes-off' signs and one 'shoes-off' doormat.

Of course, the majority of people who answer the door are not wearing shoes inside.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Simply D Constructed- Hump Day Confessions #17: Take Off Your Shoes & Stay A While

Simply D Constructed- Hump Day Confessions #17: Take Off Your Shoes & Stay A While

'Am I stereotyping? Probably a little. But this is coming from an Asian who grew up taking her shoes off, as a visitor and as person living in her mom's house. (And eating a lot of rice, ha!) It's a hard habit to kick, but a good one to keep. I'd like to think that:
A) Taking your shoes off is a sign that you feel comfortable in someone's home. When they ask you to remove your shoes, it is a sign that they find comfort and trust your company well enough to invite you to stay. (my attempt at interpreting a philosophical purpose in the matter)
B) You don't want outside business on your floors. Isn't this just common sense?

Imagine you are at a public restroom. Then later on you come home and are traipsing all over your house. Enough said, book closed. Forget about it. Take your shoes off, and throw them away. (No - just kidding, that's wasting money and we are a bit frugal here.)'

Friday, May 30, 2014

As the Sun in its Orb & New Goliards: Solve calceamentum de pedibus tuis

As the Sun in its Orb & New Goliards: Solve calceamentum de pedibus tuis

Solve calceamentum de pedibus tuis: locus enim, in quo stas, terra sancta est.

We all know about Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3), and how God commanded him to take off his shoes since the place of divine revelation was holy ground. Last Good Friday, I took off my sandals (which I wear throughout the year outside the coldest months) for the veneration of the Cross. I ignored the rubric where it says that the priest puts his shoes back on, and continued up to the end of the ceremony in bare feet. It was quite a discovery, since I had fewer distractions than I often have during Mass and Office.

I also remember a visit to a Coptic church in England some years ago, where the priest asked me to take my shoes off, exactly as Muslims do when they enter their mosque. Walking around with bare feet is another experience of a place, an intimate communion with the ground and the place.

A post by Father Anthony Chadwick, a priest in the Anglican Catholic Church-Original Province, who was kind enough to mention this blog.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cavalli Yacht Party at 67th Cannes Film Festival

Roberto Cavalli's yacht parties are a big shoes-off event of the year. Last year, the bad weather meant that shoes were permitted on the precious decks of his yacht, but this year was back to normal, with all their guests discarding their shoes and stilettos (exept for the appallingly slovenly dressed Justin Bieber, who apparently kept his sneakers on).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interviewing Beyond Expectations (fiction)

A short story I wrote about two years ago.

I have never liked interviews. It is so tedious to find that after just one or two questions, the candidate turns out to be utterly unsuitable for the job. So often it is the worst candidates who are the most eager and enthusiastic for the job. It is so painful to have to turn some of them down.

I had interviewed two candidates already for my investment business. One of the women I interviewed was a graduate with absolutely zero experience and the other was a quite loathsome woman who smelled of cigarettes. I keep my personal office in my home and I could not bear the thought of that last woman turning up at my house five days a week.

The next lady was due to arrive at 2:00 PM. In two minutes time in fact.

I glanced at the name written in my diary. Ruth Teller. The name sounded familiar on my lips.

The doorbell rang.

I opened the door and was met with a woman of about 40 years of age. She had medium length dark hair and an attractive heart-shaped face.

She was a very elegant woman, dressed in a dark grey skirt and jacket and a pair of stylish high heeled shoes.

"Ruth Teller I presume?" I said. Where had I heard that name before?

"Yes, that's right," she said in a refined voice.

"I'm Grant Farrow. I'm really glad you could make it here today, Ruth. Do come in."

After she had stepped through the door, I glanced down at her stilettos and grimaced.

"Would you mind taking your shoes off, Ruth?"

Ruth looked a little surprised at the request, but obligingly slipped off the heels, before following after me, moving softly on her stocking feet.

The carpets in my house are very light. Although I have had the shoes-off rule for six years, I still feel slightly embarassed asking people to take their shoes off, especially if they are visiting on business purposes.

I showed her into my office and offered Ruth a seat.

Ruth Teller. I finally recognised the name. Was this the same Ruth I was thinking of?

"I have to ask, are you the author of the Vichy novels?" I realised I would be a little embarassed if it was indeed a different Ruth.

"Yes, I am," she said modestly.

Naturally, the author of such a great series of books would have to be an elegant and stylish lady like this.

"I never expected to be interviewing an accomplished author of historical fiction!" I exclaimed.

"I'm flattered. Though I wish my books were as famous as you suggest," said Ruth.

"They deserve to be. I'm amazed at the level of research you put into the Vichy books. You really brought the whole complexity of Vichy France to life, not only its politics, but how the ordinary people in France lived in the Second World War," I said.

"Thanks. It certainly took a lot of work," said Ruth. She seemed a little embarassed at my flattery.

I had always had an interest in the Second World War, but before reading Ruth's Vichy novels, I had not had an awful lot of knowledge about Vichy France. The books had opened up my eyes to a world of collaboration and resistance, ideology and intrigue as well as both brutality and heroism.

"Are you a professional historian?" I asked. It seemed surprising that somebody with such expertise would be seeking a job as a PA.

"No, I'm just an amateur," she replied. "Though I have recently taken up some part-time study for a history degree. It helps having a very understanding husband," she added with a laugh.

"I hope the study won't delay the fourth novel," I said.

Ruth laughed.

"Oh no, the fourth novel will be on its way."

"I can't wait, Ruth. Can I ask what led you to write about Vichy France?"

"My mother is French. It's part of my heritage. When I was younger, I spent quite a bit of time in France and found it things that very much shook my world. I found it so fascinating that I had to bring it to life."

"It was really interesting how you went beyond just Vichy France in the third book. You brought in the work of German spies in Vich France. I have always had an interest in the Third Reich, but I had no idea about all that rivalry between those two intelligence agencies, sorry I forgot the names... the SS agents and the ordinary military intelligence.." I said.

"The Abwehr and Himmler's Sicherheitsdienst," offered Ruth. "The reasearch for that part was very difficult because I don't know German."

"I'll tell you what I really love," I said, getting ever so enthusiastic. "It's the character of Vincent, the police inspector. He is such a balanced character, not a hero, but not a villain either. He's so torn between his hatred of Communism and his disgust at the Third Reich."

"In a way he embodies the conflicting attitudes of the Vichy authorities," said Ruth.

"Will he marry Louise in the fourth book?" I asked.

"I'll tell you if you give me the job," said Ruth with a smile.

I had completely forgotten about the interview, having got so caught up in my enthusiasm for Ruth's novels.

"Forgive me, I am letting my enthusiasm carry me away," I said.

I pulled out Ruth's curriculum vitae and studied it carefully.

"It looks like you have an awful lot of secretarial experience. Did you never want to write full time?" I asked.

"My books don't sell that well. And my husband never gives me enough spending money," said Ruth.

I laughed. I knew I couldn't possibly turn Ruth down.

"I think you have the skills for the job and I'd be proud to have such a brilliant author working for me. Are you alright to start next Monday?" I asked.

"Wonderful," said Ruth.

"As you will have gathered, I don't allow shoes to be worn in the house. You might want to buy some slippers to keep here. If you bring me a receipt on Monday, I'll give you the money," I said.

"I'll go slipper shopping tomorrow," said Ruth.

"Excellent. Now before you go.."

I rushed out of the room and came back with three paperback novels.

Ruth sighed and took out a pen to sign the books.

This was one interview that I had enjoyed.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sign still there

With the election coming up in May, I was out delivering leaflets for the Conservative party.

Last year I mentioned that while out canvassing I came across an house with a shoes-off sign. I was leafleting in the same area and they still have their sign up.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Glamour Living: The Great Houseguest Debate: Do You Have a No-Shoes Policy Like AnnaSophia Robb?

Glamour Living: The Great Houseguest Debate: Do You Have a No-Shoes Policy Like AnnaSophia Robb?

Top-notch entertaining was the topic at hand this week at the celebration of Rachel Zoe's second book, Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour. Fashion A-listers like designer Prabal Gurung, model-musician Karen Elson, Olivia Palermo, and The Carrie Diaries star AnnaSophia Robb all stopped by to chat at the Tiffany & Co flagship.

I caught the young Carrie Bradshaw as she was sampling the tasty hors d'oeuvres on offer—the tuna tartare on a plantain chip, specifically—and asked about her own home entertaining. Turns out, Robb has one steadfast rule:

"I always like to entertain in socks. I have everyone take off their shoes. I mean, it's New York. Yeah, so dirty. And I feel like it loosens everyone up. Because if everyone's in their socks, then they just feel more like it's their home. So mi casa es su casa!"

I had never heard of AnnaSophia Robb. She is an American actress apparently. She plays a younger version of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City in The Carrie Diaries.

To Discover Russia: A Russian Custom to Take off Your Shoes at Home

To Discover Russia: A Russian Custom to Take off Your Shoes at Home

If you are invited to visit someone’s home in Russia, it is a very encouraging sign for your relationship. But you must be prepared to take off your shoes when you enter a house.

Of course, this is required not in every home and every family, but it happens a lot.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Warsaw Blog- Cultural lesson: It's a trap

The Warsaw Blog- Cultural lesson: It's a trap

'Times change, but it’s still likely you might be offered slippers. If you hear: “Oh, maybe you’d like some slippers?” remember: it’s not a question, it’s an order. Basically hosts are trying to say: take off your shoes, we love our linoleum more than any of our guests. Even if sleepers are not on offer, remember to ask if you should take off your shoes. Next thing you know, the hosts will probably offer you their slippers. There’s no way to win.'

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Simple Baby: Shoes On or Off? 8 Tips

Simple Baby: Shoes On or Off? 8 Tips

'I will admit it takes some time getting into the habit of taking off your shoes, but the trickiest part is asking guests to do the same. For a while I felt very badly asking, almost embarrassed. So here are eight tips if you’d like to consider implementing this in your house'

Frugal and Thankful: Finally a little project to show you

Frugal and Thankful: Finally a little project to show you

'I have a confession to make... I have a big pet peeve! It annoys me so much when people don't take their shoes off at the door when they come to your house. I guess, it's my upbringing speaking... But seriously, I can tolerate when it's sunny and dry outside, so you barely bring any dust in (even though I still don't know where your shoes have been!) but when it's raining and muddy... Really?? I do have children here. And I myself like to run around bare foot...

When the kids were younger, I obsessively wiped the floors after the guests would leave just because...well, babies crawl and eat everything off the floor! I still sometimes grab the broom... And with my closer friends I gently hint. But what to do with other kinds of acquaintances?

A few months ago I saw a similar to this sign on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea behind it. But since I didn't have $40 to pay for it (incl. shipping), I thought I could make something similar, even if it's less fancy.'

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Polite Request on a Church Website

Yesterday Southpark Christian Church, a Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, posted a notice on their website:

THIS SUNDAY is Palm Sunday!
Due to our new parking lot and our new carpet in the sanctuary, we ask that you please remove your shoes before entering the sanctuary for worship. Not only will this help to not track in black asphalt, but it will remind us that we are in a sacred space as we worship together and hopefully encounter God in new and meaningful ways.
Have no worries if you are unable to remove your shoes. We ask that those who are able, help us out with this request. Thank you for your cooperation. Please do not let this keep you from worshiping with us. We hope to see you there.

I am impressed that the elders of this church had the confidence to ask for this. Wanting to keep the carpets clean is a legitimate concern. So many churches have worn out and filthy carpets. A preacher I knew once suggested that all churches should have wood floors, but he was clearly unaware of how much noise would be generated by scraping and traffic on a hard floor.

Notice that the church says this is not mandatory. They are not going to expect elderly or disabled people to remove their shoes. A church can do this without penalizing people who are unable to comply.

I also find this interesting that this request was made by a church in the American South where there is no tradition of shoe removal.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Conversation over lunch

I am on a training course this week. Over lunch I met the partner of one of my colleagues. He had introduced her to this blog and she approved. She said she always asks people to take their shoes off in her home. That is wise, as the couple have a small child. It's always encouraging to meet people with a no-shoes policy.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Coptic Churches and Removing Shoes

I posted recently about the custom of removing shoes in some Christian churches. A week ago, I came across a forum discussion about the Coptic practice:

Orthodox Scarves Worn During Communion and no shoes a Must for Women??

The Coptic tradition is to remove shoes before entering the sanctuary of the church to receive communion. The original post complains that this results in walking on a floor that is wet and dirty. This seems an understandable complaint; it is not always nice to walk shoeless on a floor that has been walked on by dirty shoes.

The obvious solution would be for the congregation to remove shoes before entering the church, so that the whole carpeted area stays clean. Perhaps they don't do that because they want to emphasize that the sanctuary is the most holy area of the church.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Catholics, Protestants and Rule-Keeping

Last month I said on this blog that a lot of British people seldom wear shoes in their homes, but have no rule about it. I wonder if part of the reluctance to adopt a hard and fast rule is because we are a Protestant rather than a Catholic culture.

Without wishing to simplify things, the Catholic Church tends to be a little more keen on rules than most Protestant churches. The Catholic Church has definite requirements for it's members. They are required to attend mass every Sunday, to attend confession at least once a year and to keep the necessary fasts and feast days. Of course not all Catholics keep these obligations, but the individual Catholic knows whether or not he or she is doing these things.

In contrast in the evangelical denomination I attend, there is no definite list of what is required of members. I find it rather difficult to know exactly what I am expected to do. I find this tends to collude with my natural laziness and fails to give me much discipline and has therefore contributed to my general lack of devotion. I find I am rather drawn to Catholicism with it's rather more formal disciplines.

I think there is something to be said for rules. They instill a discipline as we keep them.

A family without a shoes-off rule may generally take their shoes off and this helps to keep the house clean. They let guests and visitors come in with their shoes on and this might in itself not make much difference to how clean the floors are. However, their willingness not to require shoes-off of visitors will likely lead the family to be less strict about their own shoe-removal. They will find themselves sometimes keeping their shoes on and being less bothered if their children fail to remove their shoes.

The presence of a rule creates a boundary that ensures consistency.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Rural Pub

I had dinner today at a pub in a West Sussex village. I noticed a lot of customers had been out walking and were removing muddy boots or shoes to enter the pub in their socks. I don't think I've seen people do that before.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Sneakers without Socks

Recently I have noticed a lot of girls and women wearing sneakers (we call them trainers in the UK) without socks. Has this come back into fashion?

I remember back in the 90s, a lot of people used to wear sneakers without socks. When I was 15, I went to a barbecue at another kid's house. The weather changed and as we headed inside, he asked us all to take our shoes off. One of the girls was wearing sneakers without socks. She refused to go inside because she did not want to be barefoot. Back then, removing shoes in homes was a lot less common. I often kept my shoes on when visiting friends. These days the girl probably would have expected to have to take her shoes off when going inside.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Diana Elizabeth: Our No Shoe Rule in Our House

Diana Elizabeth: Our No Shoe Rule in Our House

'I thought I’d write this post to do a little explaining about why we don’t wear shoes in our home – not in any reason to convince you to do the same because I honestly I’m not passionate about this issue one bit, it’s your house and you can do whatever makes you happy! Isn’t that great?
Since I’ve been asked why we decide to go the no shoe route, I thought I’d write a little post why and you can decide if this is a route you want to take one day.'

Put That On Your Blog: Take you shoes off

Put That On Your Blog: Take you shoes off

'In civilized countries like Ukraine, everyone takes their shoes off when they enter a private residence. Beside every door is some kind of shoe cubby with house slippers that you switch into for the duration of your visit.

Now, I hear your American qualms squealing, “Ew! Sharing shoes is unhygenic! What is this, a bowling alley? And doesn’t that take like a gazillion years out of your day to take your shoes off and put them back on every time you go into someone’s house? You’re seriously chipping away at your Candy Crush time with all that added work.”

I thought so when I first moved to Ukraine, too, but you know what is actually unhygenic? Traipsing those shoes that have been all over the Metro across the bedroom carpet your babies crawl on. In my house, we’ve been obeying the no shoe rule for years. In combination with the food stays in the kitchen rule, the no shoe rule has kept our carpets here virtually as pristinely renter beige as the day we moved in–Ack! '

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shoe Removal in Christian Churches

Russian Orthodox Church in Phuket, Thailand

For the most part, Christian churches do not practice removing shoes in places of worship as they do in Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. In the west, it is not the custom for Christians to remove their shoes in churches (though Roman Catholics go barefoot at some shrines and have historically gone barefoot as a penance). Some of the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox churches, the Ethiopians and Copts remove shoes in their churches.

As Christianity has spread to Asia, many churches founded in Asian countries have followed the local custom of removing shoes, whether out of habit, reverance or simple practicality. This crosses denominational lines; when I went to Japan, I visited a Roman Catholic, an Anglican, a mainstream Protestant church and several Evangelical Protestant churches. Removing shoes was required in all of them.

I was recently reading about Eastern Orthodox missions in Asia. It seems that Russian and Greek Orthodox churches in Asia tend to adopt removing shoes in those countries. I suppose that rather fits with the strong sense of reverence in Eastern Orthodox worship.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Current British Norm

Now this is entirely based on my own experiences, informed also by what I have read online. Other people living in the UK may see things differently. I have lived in several different parts of the UK, but I haven't lived everywhere.

The UK is not like Sweden, where everybody removes their shoes in homes. However, it is also not like Spain, where removing shoes in homes is seen as unusual.

I would say that the majority of people in the UK do not wear shoes in their own homes 90% of the time. They may not have a rule, they may sometimes keep their shoes on, but most of the time they take their shoes off in their own homes. They also generally require their children and friends of their children to remove their shoes. This may not be enforced strictly, but this is still an expectation.

Most households will not ask visitors to remove their shoes. However, more often than not, visitors will remove their shoes or at least offer to remove their shoes. This often leads to absurd conversations like this:

Guest: Shall I take my shoes off?

Host: You really don't have to.

(Guest notices shoes by the door)

Guest: I probably ought to.

Host: No, you can keep them on. It's really not a problem.

Guest: I'll take them off anyway.

Host: Thanks, that's nice of you. (It's what she wanted anyway)

Guests are less likely to remove their shoes at parties when they are dressed up, but they might still offer. They are also a little more likely to remove their shoes in winter, though shoe removal in summer is still common.

I would argue on this basis that it is perfectly fine to insist on shoes off as a rule. If you ask your guests to remove your shoes, you are simply asking them to do what most people do most of the time anyway.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Group Conformity

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a newly formed mid-week Bible study group. I had visited the home of the leaders many times. They don't have a shoes-off rule, but most people visiting them tend to take their shoes off.

The first week we met as a group, everybody took their shoes off except one lady who kept her boots on. The next week everybody removed their shoes except her. However, half-way through the meeting she decided to take her shoes off and put them by the door. Although the hosts said it was unnecessary, she must have felt an overwhelming psychological pressure to conform to what everybody else was doing.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stellibell Life: Be Swedish and Remove Your Shoes

Stellibell Life: Be Swedish and Remove Your Shoes

'In Sweden (and in my house) we all remove our shoes before entering the house. In the quest of creating a natural and healthy home this is an important step. By removing your shoes you are preventing outdoors contaminants such as pesticides from coming indoors, not to mention saving you time from constantly cleaning. Don’t be afraid to ask your visitors to remove their shoes. They will appreciate you shared a new customs that they can start using as well.'

Monday, January 27, 2014

Albania or Bust: No Shoes Allowed

Albania or Bust: No Shoes Allowed

When we arrived in Albania, where everything is covered in a fine layer of dust, and found ourselves in a house with tile floors, our habit of going shoeless inside continued. (Because of the house is always cold we are apt to wear slippers instead of going barefoot). Both our nanny and our housekeeper showed up on their first day of work toting plastic "slippers" which they put on the minute they enter the house. I quickly noticed that these hard plastic sandals are all the rage amongst Albanian women who wear them with socks year around while inside. Fashionable they aren't but practical they are. In reality, Albania is a country where most people seem to not wear shoes indoors. We've never asked our guests to remove their shoes while visiting and certainly don't expect them to, but many do any way. We have however, been asked to remove our shoes when we have been guests in other people's homes. This request has always been followed with being provided with our own pair of ill-fitting slippers. The first time this happened I was slightly aghast at the prospect of wearing someone else's shoes; now I make sure to carry a clean pair of socks in my purse for just such occasions.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lifestyles Of The Stay-at-home Mom: 'Please Remove Shoes' - Vintage Sign & Tutorial

Lifestyle Of The Stay-at-home Mom: 'Please Remove Shoes' - Vintage Sign & Tutorial

'As some of you may already know, I run a daycare but I also run a clean home. For either reason, it's kidlet centered and if my kidlets are living on the floor, it should be a clean down there. For that reason, I hang a sign right at my front door letting all that enter know, your shoes need to be removed if you would like to venture past the front mat.'

A tutorial on how to make a cool shoes-off sign.