Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Returned and refreshed

So I've been on vacation! An actual vacation, spent with my elderly relatives in Florida, for ten whole days. Talk about bliss. =)

And now I'm back, returned and refreshed, and working on catching up with everything that's in my inbox.

While I'm busy doing that, I leave you all with the great shoe quandary:

In my family, we have never worn shoes in the house. They track in dirt and make the floor messy; we always take our shoes off in my parents' house and my house and so forth. But when I was in Florida, and visited my great-aunt, she very adamantly wanted me to wear my shoes in her house. Now my question is, is this just a generational thing because my aunt is in mid-90's? Or is this something else, which I have no clue about?

Why wear shoes in the house? Why don't wear shoes in the house? What do you guys do? Discuss. =)

26 comments:

Bobbie said...

What other protest songs can a 90-year-old woman sing? Perhaps this is her version of "I shall wear purple." Or, more likely, I'm guessing it's generational. When I was a kid, I would have sworn to anybody that my parents wore their shoes to bed. I never even saw my father's bare feet until we went to the beach one summer in high school. (Did I just reveal too much?)My mother is "only" 74, but if she takes her shoes off in a house now, then by golly, there'd better be a pair of slippers waiting by the door for her.

saramurphy said...

Welcome back.

Growing up, we left our shoes by the door. Guests could keep theirs on, but the family walked in stocking feet.

Dad said he meant to follow Japanese tradition. (There is no Asian heritage in our family whatsoever) Mom later confessed that by leaving shoes by the door she didn't have to vacuum as often.

As an adult, I have two dogs and vacuum constantly. In our house, shoes are optional.

Megan Frampton said...

Some sort of study just came out that removing shoes in the house helps keep bacteria, etc., at bay. By a significant amount, actually. Wear fewer shoes, get less sick!

I cannot wear shoes in a house in which I am comfortable; not sure why someone would insist one way or the other, maybe just the age thing?

Glad you had a nice vacation.

Rachel said...

I always take off my shoes in the entry way for the reasons you listed (and because I have the softest carpet EVER), but I don't make my guests do it. Most guests do (because my carpet is so soft), but they know it's not a big deal.

My parent's house has hardwood, so everyone keeps their shoes on (because the floor is cold).

I do have a bit of an irrational grudge towards people who force their guests to take off their shoes, mostly because I think it's rude to make people reveal something that's private. What if they're embarrassed by their ratty socks or smelly feet? I don't want to make my friends feel uncomfortable (or smell their feet if they think it's bad enough to want to cover up).

Long story short - stating a preference is fine, but shoes off Nazis raise my bristles.

Anonymous said...

My grandparents raised me and we couldn't wear shoes indoors. And if we forgot we had to write 500 times "I will not wear my shows in the house"!
Now that I have my own house,3 cats and a dog, I wish I could strap booties on all their feet! I hate shampooing the carpets and ask close fiends to take off their shoes at the door.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I don't care what other family member or guests do about shoes when they're in my house. But I'm barefoot whenever possible. My feet yearn to be free! I go around in socks only in the dead of winter when barefoot is too cold.

David said...

I don't think it's generational, just individual.

On the one hand, taking off one's shoes keeps the floors cleaner. On the other hand, it makes the socks a lot dirtier.

If only we could all walk just above the floor, on a layer of air! That would keep both clean. It would probably feel pretty cool, too.

Mystery Robin said...

Maybe she thought it was more sanitary to not have people in their bare feet?

PJ Hoover said...

Always wear shoes. Growing up I think there must've been magic elves than came in at night to clean the mess up shoes left. Now that I have to clean myself, I haven't figured out where to get the magic elves.
But I still can't break the shoe habit.

Derek Clendening said...

We've never worn shoes in my house either. Still, the gentlemen who bought my grandparents house insist that I leave my shoes on when I drop in to visit.

Cathy in AK said...

Most of the time up here in the semi-frozen (though today it's totally frozen) north we're wearing some form of snow or rubber boot. It's expected for everyone to leave their wet, mucky shoes/boots just inside the door or, in most houses, in the enclosed arctic entry. Even in the summer, when the weather still tends to be a bit soggy, shoes are removed.

I grew up in a "keep the shoes on" household, so when I went back East for a visit after moving up here, my mother was a little surprised when I kicked off my shoes the second I got inside. She's slowly learning to accept my quirky, frontier ways : )

JKB said...

Eh.

We wear birkenstocks (we're in Germany; makes sense, huh?) inside the house. I have a nifty little pair that covers my cold toes.

This way, we have shoes for inside, and regular shoes for outside.

Welcome back from your hols! Those are the nicest things...

calendula said...

I take my shoes off at home because I like to curl up on the furniture. But I hate it when I have to take them off at others' houses...I went to a Christmas party and wore gorgeous high heels and pants that were too long (and needed the heels), only to find a shoes-off policy when I got there. So my too-long pants dragged on the floor all night, collecting cat fur... boo.

Elissa M said...

At home I switch from "outside" shoes to "inside" shoes when I come in. I spend a lot of time at a stable, so this only makes sense. I have Japanese friends, and I always remove my shoes when entering their homes. If I see shoes piled up by someone's door, I take mine off, otherwise I leave them on. Guests in my home are welcome to do as they please - unless they just came in from the barn!

Bea said...

I grew up in a family that always wore shoes in the house. I still do. I guess one reason is that my feet get cold easily, especially on the floors.

I don't think it's generational. It probably has a lot to do with where you grew up.

My father has a garden, and he goes in and out all day in the summertime. There is a stain on the carpet below his recliner from his muddy shoes. In the past, when I have asked him about taking off his shoes, he has said that it is too much trouble. He would rather replace his carpet every couple of years than take off his shoes at the door!

Right now my feet are snuggy warm in the shoes I have been wearing all day.

:) Bea

Jan said...

In my family, we have always worn shoes in the house. Neither I, nor my parents, nor my grandparents ever left their shoes at the door. Neither do my in-laws, any of my siblings, or, for that matter, any of my neighbors, friends, or acquaintances. I wasn't aware that anyone who is NOT from an Asian background left their shoes at the front door.

We might pad around in slippers in morning before we dress or in the evening after we're home for the night, but by then, the shoes are in the bedroom closet or under the bed. We also wear flip-flops in lieu of shoes in the summer, but those same flip-flops will be worn out in the yard or even to the supermarket.

Kelly Swails said...

We don't wear shoes in our house, mostly because it's a "ah we're home let's take off our shoes and get into our comfy clothes" kind of thing. I didn't wear them growing up but not because of any fastidiousness on my mother's part. Guests in my house can do what they prefer; most usually take them off. I always take off my shoes in someone else's house unless specifically told not to or I'm only staying for a minute.

Patrick McNamara said...

We tend to take our shoes off in the house and we have mainly wood floors (except for the carpeting in the upper hall). But part of that is because in winter shoes get wet and the water can not only dirty floors but damage them.

Aliette said...

In my parents' house, we wore our shoes--but my boyfriend grew up in a shoeless house (we're both about the same age), with his whole family wearing slippers.

I don't wear shoes in my flat--but that's because I've got carpet, which doesn't really take well to dirty shoes...

Chris Redding said...

I can't go barefoot anymore. Dang high arch and getting older.
I have slippers with arch supports in them for the winter and Birkenstocks for the summer.
Kids have been trained to take off their shoes, but hubby won't.
Guests can do whatever they want.
cmr

Ryan Field said...

Some people just don't like feet. It's like fear of clowns. Personally, I'd rather be locked in a room with a hundred clowns than two people with bare feet.

Glad you had some well deserved time off :)

cyn said...

no shoes. i'm asian-american. i don't understand the shoes things in the house. i like to be comfy. shoes don't = comfy to me.

the love is a brit. his fam wore slippers in the house. no outdoor shoes, either.

welcome back and yay for long holidays! =)

Bernita said...

Floors are meant to be walked on.
And, we have dogs.
I beg people to wear their shoes.

RecipeReader said...

Hmm...I don't recall this being an issue when I was a kid, but now that I live in Arizona, it's all about shoes, all the time, especially in spring/summer/fall when it's warm, because you don't want to step on a little, nasty scorpion and get stung. Yuck!

Dead Man Walking said...

Ha. Deep within my subconscious, I have filed away the "shoe folks/sock folks" of every one I visit. I hate going to the homes of friends/relatives who are "shoe folks". These are the ones that where their shoes in their home and probably even iron their blue jeans. Going to their homes sucks donkey nuts.

Sabrina said...

I live in Hawaii, but when we first moved here, my dad was in the military and our house didn't have carpeting, so we could wear our shoes inside. Once he retired and we moved out of military housing, our house had carpeting, circled by a moat of red dirt, and we rent, so my mom insisted we take off our shoes. So it's a little practicality, and a little local tradition. When I go to someone else's house, I ask them if they prefer shoes on or off.