taking off shoes

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Ruzete, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    I love that quote. It is so very true and it's nice to see someone with the guts to say it! :lol:

    My husband and I went to CR and Crete for 2 1/2 weeks. When we got to the airport heading home (Chicago) I suddenly realized I hadn't seen a fat person in 2 weeks. I realized it because all of a sudden there were several fat people waiting to board the flight. American's going home. I don't want to offend anyone, but I believe Americans have more fat people than any country. So yeah, it does make it more difficult to untie your shoes. :p
  2. Milewicz

    Milewicz Active Member

    It's a habit where I live in America to take off your shoes. It isn't strictly enforced, but a lot of people know enough to take off their shoes.
  3. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I've heard there are places in America where people don't wear any shoes at all - 'cept maybe when makin' 'shine. :wink:
  4. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member


    I guess I should look on the bright side then. At least my family wears shoes.
  5. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    My mother in law is visiting from the CR this month. I must admit that sometimes I cheat and leave my shoes on if I'm just getting something in the house and going right back outside. Well I'm walking into my kitchen, fully intending to leave my shoes on because I was carrying in groceries from the car. My mother in law is standing in the kitchen. Like a scared 8 year old girl, I stop dead in my tracks almost dropping the groceries on the floor. I didn't dare walk in there with my shoes on for fear that she would shake her head and grunt in a most disgusted way "filthy lazy slob" only in czech! :lol: :lol: :lol:
  6. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree with her :D :D :D
  7. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    To dzurisovak - well, it is your house, so you are entitled to do there whatever you want to; after all, it will be you who will clean the floors, not your mother-in-law!
  8. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Actually, it will be my mother in law this month. She is staying a month and since I work full-time, she cleans my house while I'm at work. I love it. She even does my windows. Both my husband and I are at work during the day so I think she is bored. I love it when she is here. I come home from work to a very clean house and dinner cooked. What a break!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
  9. artsncraftsgirl

    artsncraftsgirl New Member

    I am an American, married to a Czech man, and we just moved here to CZ this summer. I don't mind taking off my shoes, it's a great habit and sure saves on cleaning carpets. However, I cannot get used to my husband's mom chasing me down with those old slippers when I come to her apartment. I really prefer to be in my socks and usually hope she doesn't notice.

    My Czech sister-in-law who lives in the US, did the same thing when we visited her there. She was so worried that I would get sick from the cold floor under my feet.
  10. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    I wonder what the historical presidence is for all these shoes on or off in the house discussions... hmm... when I visited Russia, another Slavic nation, they insisted it was due to the cold winters. They take their shoes off and put on warm and comfortable slippers to avoid the chilling floors. Also, they pointed out how tracking snow and mud into the house with wet, grimmy shoes causes more work to clean up. So, courtesy would have it that one takes off shoes to show the comfort and graciousness of being in another's home, as well as to show respect by not trampling mud everywhere. Similarly, all of my Asian friends remove their shoes too as a sign of respect and to not dirty the floors as well.

    Yet, why do we Americans and English not care the slightest about it? Well, I think it might have to do with several strange factors. For one, if your shoes are so dirty that they are not fit to be in another person's home, then apparently the shoewearer is uncleanly in the first place!! This unclean person might not be worth the company. Now, that doesn't mean that we think that now, but that could be the origin of such a custom. I think that might explain it for city dwellers, yet as for those in the country, I think the style of shoes they wore weren't easily slipped on, and taking off one's shoes might be reserved for those who were staying there. A stranger visiting and removing his shoes would be presumptuous because this symbolizes them feeling "at home," yet they shouldn't be getting that comfortable. Once you get to know a family, taking off one's shoes becomes more appropriate.

    Additionally, poor Americans/Englishmen probably did not afford the cost of slippers in their houses, and shoes were the next best thing. Staying warm is more important than a clean floor. Many Americans and Brits come from poor classes that have hence moved up to middle class, so this might have something to do with it. As I understand it, the Czechs were split between urban and rural dwellers too, yet the industrial revolution didn't quite get to ravage their culture as it did for us others.

    How does that sound folks? I hope it sounds reasonable.
  11. artsncraftsgirl

    artsncraftsgirl New Member

    And, also, American lifestyles are more prone to busyness and not much visiting each other's homes. We are more likely to meet up at a restaurant or bar.

    I think you're right when you say you are being a bit presumptuous to make yourself too comfortable in someone's home until you know them better.

    Also, when my parents invite friends over for a dinner, it's usually a little more formal (they actually use the dining room), so having shoes off seems odd in that setting. Although, since they live in northern NY, in the winter or muddy months, it's common for guests to offer to remove shoes at the door. But slippers aren't provided as custom.

    I have found that most Americans will apologize for popping to see someone and say "I can't stay long, but I just wanted to say hi." Perhaps subconsciously, leaving one's shoes on indicates that you really do intend to make you visit short. Taking shoes off could signify that you are planning to stay awhile, and could place obligation on the host to be more accommodating.
  12. naychan

    naychan Member

    It is customary in a lot of countries to remove your shoes before entering homes/shrines/temples etc
  13. miffy

    miffy Member

    Hei sorsa! minäkin olen suomalainen (koska olen myös australialainen.. puhun 'finglish' :p)

    I miss Finland! I spent this summer Helsingissä, ilma oli kaunis joka päivä.

  14. Sorsa

    Sorsa Member

    Mitä kuuluu?

    Olen amerikkalainen suomalainen. :lol:

    Olin Tšekkissa kesällä 2005 mutta olin Helsingissä viime kesänä ja kaipaan kumpikin.

    Mukavaa alkavaa viikonloppuna!
  15. moheka

    moheka New Member

    Taking shoes off in the sense of keeping the house clean is practical, I find it is reciprocal hospitality, you come into someone elses house you respect the rules, you don't have any right to circumvent those rules, just abide by them, you don't like it, don't go to that house...simple.

    I'm Maori from New Zealand, and we take our shoes off for spiritual reasons, we don't offer our guest slippers. The tapuwae or the sole of the foot has to make contact with the ground of the whare or house of the host, the guest come as waewae tapu, literally translated 'sacred feet'. Taking shoes off is considered to be honouring the ancestors of the host of the house, and the guest becomes 'family.' And they are accorded the rights of a family member and more. Taking shoes off before entering a house has also the practical aspect as well in Maori culture, just as it has in Cezh culture.
  16. gypzy

    gypzy Well-Known Member

    Growing up, in the states, it was normal for everyone in my family to take off our shoes at home and as guests. I never thought anyone did it differently. So I am kinda shocked to hear that many Americans don't. When we would go to my dad's parents house I was told to take off my shoes because my grandma was from Germany and German women are picky about having clean and tidy houses. So maybe it was just a preference for my family to take off shoes in other houses and it was a rule at my grandma's rule. I feel weird about wearing shoes in the house. Every time most people come to my house they wear shoes and I stare at their feet hoping to give them a hint. No Luck :roll: . When I get my 20+ year old carpets cleaned I will make it a rule. Even if I have to tie them to a chair and take their shoes off :wink: . Joking :lol: ! I think it is a good rule.
    Also, now that I read that Dzurisovak and Ceit say Americans are fatter than Europeans I believe it may be true and not stereotypes. Although Jamaican women that work in Michigan during the summer are really big. Jamaican women that I have worked with said that is a sign of beauty in their country. When I lived at a hotel that had European summer workers I thought my Polish roommates and Baltic neighbors could have put on a few extra pounds.
  17. noreligun

    noreligun New Member

    You hit it on the head. Usually I only take off my shoes if I see others taking off their own, or if I see a pile of shoes near the doorway.

    And another thing. Most Americans despise white carpet. It looks nice but gets dirty way too easily and shows up ALL KINDS of dirt, not just dirt from your shoes. And if you have kids or a dog, just forget about it. It's completely pointless to have white carpet. Oh yeah I'm American by the way.
  18. wmeredi

    wmeredi Member

    I have friends in Prague who, when I visit, will say "no, no, you need not remove your shoes" at the same time I'm reaching down to unfasten my shoes. So if my hosts are saying I need not, am I being rude if I insist on removing my shoes to conform to custom? One friend said that she thought it awkward (in case she didn't have slippers handy) if guests went about in their socks--so when she said no, she meant no.

    In both cases, of course, these Czech friends changed their shoes for slippers at the door.

    So how should we interpret the "ne" from a Czech host--as a real one, or a ritualistic one before handing us the slippers, or what?
  19. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Yes, they always say "no, no, don't take your shoes off", but they wish you wouldn't listen to them and just argue that you will take your shoes off and really take them off. All Czechs have slippers for their guests, but if you bring your own, it will be taken very well - very thoughtfull and firm that you WILL take your shoes off.

    Strangely for us Czech still play those games when you offer them something and they say "no, no, I won't" and you absolutely have to force them to take it or you will dissapoint them. Unfortunatelly it works other way around too and it goes for food and alcohol and coffee......and poor us who are used to say "no, thank you" and we don't have those traditional games end up with second helpings or womething we really don't want.

    So, to make it short..............as you say in this case it is "ritualistic" and please play along. To walk into Czech household in your shoes says "your apartment is just as dirty as street - makes no difference to me" :oops:
  20. doman

    doman Well-Known Member

    Yep ! The best way's you should take your shoes off !
    Sometimes belong to the floor ! 8) :D

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