Why do americans allways keep their shoes on inside the house?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jens Raethel, May 18, 2002.

  1. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    When I see american TV shows, people allways have shoes on inside the house/apartment, they even put their shoes up on the sofa!
    Are you all (americans) doing that at home to?
    I live in Sweden, and here almost everybody takes their shoes of at home or when we are visiting others.
    I think its a way to show respekt...
    I dont like it when people walk in to my home "Theater" with shoes on!
    Now I would like your coments on this serious matter!! [​IMG]
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    In the UK, you would expect house guests to take off their shoes, but usually not casual visitors. However, if as a casual visitor the host or hostess asked you to remove your shoes, this would not be considered impolite or illogical.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Shoes do not remain on in my house--largely for practical reasons: My cat Attila once got seriously ill from something I may have tracked into the house. Ever since that scary two weeks years ago, everyone is required to remove his or her shoes upon entering my apartment.

    As for me, it's more comfortable to have shoes off anyway.

    Never thought about this from a cultural standpoint, though. Interesting.
     
  4. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    Well Jens,

    Americans are culturally lazy. Not to get into a political rant but in general, Americans rely too much on everyone else. Not taking the shoes off is just one side effect of our society. In some cultures respect and honor come first, here its just about us. Sad but true.

    By the way, I always remove my shoes when I enter someones house, unless they tell me not to.

    Bill
     
  5. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I've heard its more customary in the northern parts, especially during winter, to take off your shoes when entering someones home. I will typically take my shoes off when entering someones house if they're quite dirty or covered in snow. About any other time I don't unless asked, which is rare. Some people with light colored carpeting can be especially sensitive about it. As far as putting shoes on furniture, I don't typically with mine, and it seems most common to do only as your host does. i.e. if you're in some college kids place with trashy furniture you most likely wouldn't. When I'm visiting my mom's house, I make sure to keep my shoes off the furniture.

    As far as why I would keep my shoes on, there's a few reasons. I don't have to worry about keeping the floors as clean. My socks don't need to be in good shape. And I can stub my toes without concern.

    Also, in my experience a lot of homes don't have a convenient place near the door to sit and take off your shoes. I noticed in Fargo that right inside their door they had a bench, but that just doesn't work in a lot of places.
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Bill, how does taking off shoes relate to honor? That's just silly.

    I was just thinking, in every BBC show I've watched, I don't recall seeing them take off their shoes. What's up with the English are they rude too? Heck, Fargo is about the only movie or show I've seen this done. I have Indian friends, some of which also spent a lot of time in Africa, and from what I've seen they don't take off their shoes when entering other peoples homes. Perhaps this is just an unusual occurence among some Europeans and Americans.
     
  7. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    My house has a 'no-shoe' rule - I even remind guests before coming over to wear nice socks!
     
  8. Christopher P

    Christopher P Supporting Actor

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    I never wear shoes in my house, and I always get strange looks from people when I take my shoes off at their house. You don't have to take your shoes off, they say. I don't always, I guess it depends. I never thought about it as being a sign of respect. I think it's better not to possibly drag dirt and whatever else all over their floors, and if it is a more casual meeting, no shoes always beats shoes in my book for being comfortable.

    Chris
     
  9. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    It all has to do with American history and tradition. Back in the wild, wild west when cowboys came home they allowed their horses and sometimes cattle to sit by the dinner table to feed them scraps. (this continues to this day with dogs and fat belly pigs). Anyway, these animals were notorious for not excusing themselves to leave and go to the bathroom. People kept their shoes on for this reason and continue to do so in many instances out of habit.
    Hence the line from the song "Home On The Range" -
    "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and I'll show you a house full of s**t".
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    I've lived in various areas of the U.S. In the east (Upper New York State) during winter it's a must to remove ones shoes or boots. Most homes and apartments have a "mud room" for that purpose. While living in California people rarely took their shoes off except when asked. I had Korean friends in California and shoes were always removed. Also if one has a white or light carpet it is usually a must to do so.
     
  11. Chris Lock

    Chris Lock Second Unit

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    I don't wear shoes in the house.
    Don't judge real people by what TV characters do. [​IMG]
     
  12. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I don't wear shoes in my home or anyone else's. I don't even wear socks in my own house, because my feet sweat alot. I do wear socks in other people's homes, unless it's my cousin's house, out of respect so they don't have to see my gross feet, or smell them.
     
  13. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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    I wear my shoes a lot of the time in the house. Of course, I'm not wearing any now as I type this. Generally, I take off my shoes if the weather is messy outside (rain, snow, etc...). I also take off my shoes when settling down for a movie or any other extended period of time. If I'm going to be heading out shortly, I just keep them on.

    Really, I guess I never thought about my shoes. If they feel uncomfortable, I take them off...if not, I leave them on. In the USA there is no cultural disrespect meant by leaving them on. I don't think most of us care either way.

    Aaron
     
  14. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I take off my shoes in my home, of course...

    When it comes to visiting others, I usually look to the host for the etiquette in their homes. Some are militant about shoe removal- some will look at you like you're getting a bit too comfortable if you remove.

    So I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. I usually prefer to remove mine in the winter, as to not track snow and wetness around other people's house--- but again I don't think there is a culture-wide accepted custom.

    -V
     
  15. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Where I live (in the cultural community that is New Jersey) we usually leave our shoes on when we are in someone's house but if we go to another floor or are going to be staying a while, we usually take them off.

    Most of the time, I take my shoes off when I go into someone's house and they have a lot of carpeting. Also, during the winter, my shoes get covered in snow, so I take them off at the door.
     
  16. Shane Gralaw

    Shane Gralaw Second Unit

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    There's just no cultural relevance to wearing or not wearing shoes in the house. Here in Texas, we don't get snow (at least south of the DFW area) so tracking slush in the house is not a consideration. Plus, there simply isn't as much walking here as in Europe or other places, everyone drives so the likelihood of dirty shoes is less.
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    My shoes come off as soon as I walk in the door.

    My guests who are here for a short period is allowed, but anyone who will be here for a while and may enter other areas must remove their shoes. Casual, and first time visitors or people who are here with a purpose (cable guy, etc...) are OK.
     
  18. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    For me, it all depends on the condition of my shoes and whose house I'm at. If my shoes are clean and I'm at a family gathering or something, they typically stay on. When I'm at a friend's house, I usually take them off. And if they're dirty, I take them off no matter what the situation is.

    edit: Hey, I just now realized I've passed the 500-post mark. Yay me!
     
  19. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I always leave my shoes on when a guest in someone else's house.

    Interestingly, though, I do always remove my pants.

    Jon
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Again, don't judge real people by what TV characters do. Personally, I wear bath sandals around the house most of the time, because I have tile in every room in the house except the bedrooms, and that gets cold. I don't usually take my shoes off in others homes for exactly the hygine reasons mentioned above. [​IMG]
    However, lots of people do take their shoes off when visiting me, and I see this happen in other homes over here.
    I suspect the real reason TV characters keep their shoes on is the same reason that (I've read [​IMG]) porn actress do - even when they aren't wearing anything else - safety! (And you thought it was to appeal to fetishists...) Soundstages are notoriously dirty places, and the bottoms of people's feet and or socks would soon become filthy - not to mention the chance of stepping on a stray screw or nail. During shooting actors often have to dash off a set to change costumes for their next scene (especially on sitcoms) and they can't check every milimeter of floor as they go. I don't know if British sets are that much cleaner, or if the actors are that much more casual about safety, but this would seem to be a rational explanation for the behavior of their American counterparts. (Also the stage "business" or removing one's shoes - and the need to have the character put them back on if he/she leaves the "house" during the scene - would just add unnecessary time to the story-telling. When you only have 24 or 42 mintues to tell a story, you don't want to spend 5 of it having people screw around with footware. [​IMG])
    Regards,
    Joe
     

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