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Thread: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

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    Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    I am so proud to post the first post in such a theme as society!
    My question is about society in general.

    I want to know, do the Englishmen, the Europeans, the Americans - simply speaking do the people other than Russian people take their slipers when they are invited for teas or dinner, or someone's Birthday?

    As a man of society, in a way, I wish to know the answer.

    As for me - I am about to visit my beloved aunt and her family. Being a bigfoot I hardly hope to get the slippers of my size, so I shall take a couple with me to feel at home!
    Я так думаю.

  2. #2
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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    I think you'll find most people don't ask guests to remove their shoes in the first place and might even be surprised if the guest offers to do so. I don't know why, it's a cultural thing, but I'd guess it was originally to do with differing rules of social etiquette.

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    You say "do the people other than Russian people take their slipers" as if all Russians are always strolling around with slippers in their bags.
    I for one never ever took any slippers with me. I either use the ones that are provided by the host, or go barefoot (I almost always go barefoot at home anyway). On particularlly grand occasions like a birthday party and such, when i want to look good I take some nice clean shoes with me, not the slippers (but mostly I don't bother).

    I don't see anything strange or humiliating about that tradition. It's perfectly normal in the country where 9 months in 12 the streets are covered in mud or snowy mush. First, you'll turn your host's home into mess, if you don't change your shoes. And second, even if by some miracle you'll manage to wipe or wash them squicky clean (which I'm to lazy to do), it's highly uncomfortable to spend a few hours in a warm apartment in your warm winter/autumn shoes. I prefer slippers to sweaty feet.

    PS. Japanese take off their shoes when enetering the house. Do you think them strange or uncivilized? I don't. I think it's kinda nice. But what I know? I'm Russian.

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    Hold your horses, who has said anything anywhere about it being strange or uncivilized?

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    Leof,

    I would be please to present two types of view on your question.

    The first American and from my neighborhood. In our area ALL of the houses here have hard wood floors, White Oak to be exact, (there is even a sub division not very far away called White Oak). Now some people have covered up this beautiful wood because of the trouble of the maintenance, polishing, sanding, the creaking, and the fact that is colder in winter and so on.

    However, there are others like us who have no carpeting at all and leave the wood natural. We polish it and then watch the scuff marks start to appear almost the next day. Because of this, EVERYONE who enters our house takes off their shoes. As we have a front door and back door; we have two piles of shoes at all times. We have tried numerous concoctions to organize the shoes alas; they always end up in a heap. We have found this to be true with our other neighbors who also keep their floors bare. (as a side note, families not too far from us who have more expensive homes have what are called a "mud room" and that is where all the shoes, coats and junk go as soon as you enter a home. some of them have a small shower basin in the room to rinse off the muddy boots and shoes).

    Now, about the slippers part... No Americans that I know in our area wears slippers. Socks in the winter, but bare feet the rest of the year (ugly toe nails and all).

    From the El Salvadorian point of view... as my Hubby's brother and sister live with us, I can confirm that they BOTH wear slippers with socks in the house at ALL times (and when we visit El Salvador, most Salvadorians do too).

    Sister-in-law likes just plan flip-flops like these (with socks on!).


    Brother-in-law prefers slip on ones like these (also with socks on).


    I must tell you that my sister-in-law cannot stand it that I walk around the house bare foot! It drivers her crazy, yet she never says anything to me. She is a good woman for holding her tongue.

    So, do we offer slippers, flip flops or sandals to anyone who comes to visit? Sister-in-law does to some of the "older" relatives who come to visit and the kids do if they are going to play outside in the spriklers and get all wet... otherwise... no.

    Leof, please do me a favor and post a photo of the type of slippers you are referring to.

    Thanks!
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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    Hold your horses, who has said anything anywhere about it being strange or uncivilized?
    I wasn't talking about you, scotcher.
    It's just a rather popular opinion nowadays. Some people now consider it humiliating, because it "violates their rights".
    PS. An opinion in Russia, I mean.

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".


    These slippers I meant.

    I don't see anything strange or humiliating about that tradition.
    Neither do I.
    Я так думаю.

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    Taking off one's shoes is not a tradition in either America or England, and it is extremely rare to find people who do. I have done it in my house for years, but I don't require it of guests.

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    This custom can depend strongly on the kind of local soil and local climate. On the level of sanitation on the streets. On the prevalence of personal cars. Etc.

    I think that in regions with "black earth" soil during raining seasons changing shoes when entering non-public building is really good idea. Independently of how much efforts are used to clean streets. While in sandy soils regions it is not really neeeded.

    Years ago there was a tradition in Russia to use overshoes outdoors and leave them with an umbrella near entrance but now it is lost so "guest slippers" now a source of big etiquette problems.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    I'm an American and can honestly say taking one's shoes off when visiting guests is very weird. It can happen in rare occasions, like if your shoes were covered in mud of if your feet hurt.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo
    This custom can depend strongly on the kind of local soil and local climate. On the level of sanitation on the streets. On the prevalence of personal cars. Etc.

    I think that in regions with "black earth" soil during raining seasons changing shoes when entering non-public building is really good idea. Independently of how much efforts are used to clean streets. While in sandy soils regions it is not really neeeded.

    Years ago there was a tradition in Russia to use overshoes outdoors and leave them with an umbrella near entrance but now it is lost so "guest slippers" now a source of big etiquette problems.
    This I am familiar with. The tradition actually also occurs in select locales in the West. It really does depend on that mix of local conditions, family etc.

    Been on a farm lately? You'll know what I mean.

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    Re: Russian "be guests". Русские "в гости".

    In the US, the people who wear shoes indoors outnumber those who don't. However, I don't think the "no shoes" crowd is as small as some have made it out to be. In my experience, different houses have different rules and enough have "no shoes" rules that it isn't at all surprising when a host requests that you to take off any footwear.

    Of course, in rainy/snowy weather people take shoes off, but in dry times there are enough paved surfaces that it is possible to walk around inside without tracking in dirt.

    When I finally get back to the US, it's going to take me some time to get re-acclimated to the idea that people sometimes wear shoes inside. After living in Kazakhstan for a few years, it already seems like a strange, foreign idea to me!
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