View Full Version : Uncivilised Western customs.

Kaptin M
1st Dec 2004, 11:09
Long before moving to Asia (whilst residing in Oz), my family and I were in the custom of removing our shoes at the door, prior to entering the house.

After more than a dozen years away - with the last 6 in Japan - this custom is now a firmly entrenched part of my lifestyle.
But on returning to Australia, I now look more discerningly at the "custom" of Westerners wearing their shoes INSIDE.

It's pretty furkin' strange when you think about it!!

All day long, one walks through all the dirt, bitumen, dog sh!t, spittle, chewing gum, and general [email protected] left on footpaths and roads, only to return home, and to then proceed to walk the garbage off the souls of your shoes, and onto the carpets you've spent a fortune on!

But it doesn't stop there!!

After walking the [email protected] from one end of the house to the other, where do the shoes get stored??
In the most "sacred" room of all - the bedroom!!

This is definitely at odds with most other ideas Westerners have of "Hygiene"!!

Time for a re-think, methinks.

1st Dec 2004, 11:17
And just think where all the household food is prepared - in the most dirty, bacteria-infested room in the house...the Kitchen! Disgraceful.
But it gets worse - food prepared by people using their BARE HANDS - especially after they've just removed their shoes....

But the worst thing of all is this modern idea of having INSIDE LAVATORIES. Inside the house, I tell you.

tony draper
1st Dec 2004, 11:21
I been in gaffs where yer wipe your feet before stepping back into the street.

Kaptin M
1st Dec 2004, 11:22
But the worst thing of all is this modern idea of having INSIDE LAVATORIES. Inside the house,But the sh!t doesn't sit there, and hands are washed and scrubbed with soap, prior to food preparation, DT.

I'm serious about the shoes inside the house issue - it's pretty farkin' Neanderthal if you think about it!!

Proceed As Cleared
1st Dec 2004, 11:23
Storing shoes in the bedroom ?! :uhoh:

Must be an oztrayan custom...

Feeton Terrafirma
1st Dec 2004, 11:30
Out of curiosity Kaptin M when you go out to a restaurant do you leave your shoes at the door?

Can't say I've noticed many people doing that at Macas.

PS: And do you wash your hands before eating?

1st Dec 2004, 11:49
Kaptin M - fear not you are not alone! I was always brought up to take my shoes off as soon as I got home/indoors and to change in to footwear that only ever stayed indoors! I went to a school that required the same - we even had "uniform" indoor shoes which stayed in the cloakroom! It is so imprinted now that I find it odd arriving at someone's house and not being expected to my shoes off!! Most of the homes I have been invited to overseas (in Europe and USA) also did the "outdoor shoes off" routine...


1st Dec 2004, 12:16
SWH and BBH would be really upset if I asked them to remove their paws before coming in.:{
Kaptin I take it you don't have pets?:(

1st Dec 2004, 12:35
Buy a doormat and wipe the soles of yer shoes before entering the dwelling! I recall that outside the front door of many an "older" house was a iron bracket thingy that one used to scrape the horse sh!t of one's brogues before entering the manse. Don't see many of them these days, but there's plenty of dog sh!t around that means we should bring em back...


1st Dec 2004, 12:39
I like the idea...but in northern european winters, unless the house is fully carpeted, or has underfloor heating....yer tootsies get frozen off!

tony draper
1st Dec 2004, 12:39
Long as yer take yer boots off before entering her indoors.

1st Dec 2004, 12:54
Oh.... I dunno Drapes? :p

KaptinM, same custum regarding outside shoes here in Norway, much nicer! :ok:
Most people have spare footware around for visitors as well.

Maxalt, felt slippers (http://it-student.hivolda.no/prosjekt/v01/261-Toving/Bilder/hul01.jpg ) have stood the locals in good stead for thousands of years here, and believe me, it never a frozen tootsie to be suffered. ;)

1st Dec 2004, 14:33
I only wear shoes when socially required to, and then under some protest. Barefoot is the way, but I realise that in Norway and similar places it may not be quite as practical as here.

(One of the funniest things we Aussies ever see is Poms walking along the beach in sandals and socks). ;)

(Still trying to find a way to upload the photos of the view from the deck). :uhoh:

1st Dec 2004, 14:49
Electrification came rather late, Dub Trub, to rural Saskatchewan (a redundancy, that). With it came indoor plumbing. I see you have shared the experience:
But the worst thing of all is this modern idea of having INSIDE LAVATORIES. Inside the house, I tell you.

One of my clients blamed the consequent social disruption, the spread of barbecues, etc., on the ladies. As he said: "We used to eat in the house and sh*t in the outhouse. Now we eat in the yard and sh*t in the house".

1st Dec 2004, 19:20
Most Western households seem to enjoy the smell of cooking wafting through the home - mrsr1 is from SE Asia and hates it, most cooking there is done outside - the BBQ here gets all year round use as a consequence.....

1st Dec 2004, 19:55
Can't say I've noticed many people doing that at Macas.

Calling Macas a restaurant is a very loose interpretation of the word Feets :E

1st Dec 2004, 21:12
Binos - All the time there are junkies out there shoving needles in their arms whilst on the beach I will wear something to cover my feet! Agreed, not all beaches are so contaminated but any popular ones are certain to be, to varying degrees.

1st Dec 2004, 21:55
Not the same everywhere in Asia.

Japan; most places I've entered shoeless are spic-and-span including the bathrooms which have electric toilet seats that can clean your butt with water with pre-setted temperature and pressure.

Thailand (upcountry); many places I've entered shoeless are dirty, including a variety of bugs and lizzards and have a hole in the ground for dumping.

1st Dec 2004, 22:00
One of the best things (perhaps the best thing) about growing up in the Gulf was the ability to walk around the house all year in shorts, t-shirt and barefoot. Much better for the skin and for personal hygiene.

In Thailand it's customary to remove your shoes before entering a restaurant. (Can you imagine going into Pizza Express.....)

But true, not particularly practical in the depths of a northern European winter.

1st Dec 2004, 22:56
Personally I am of course a firkin Yankee of the worst stripe, but some kind of call to civilized behavior has compelled me to remove my shoes at the entrance door of any residence and I do this to the surprise of many hosts.

1st Dec 2004, 23:36
Nose Blowing!
Perhaps this deserves a seperate thread.
We in the West look on with disgust as Abdul/Patel/Ng and friends blow a stream of snot onto the floor.
Uncivilised heathens!
So what do we civilised advanced westerners do?
Blow a great slimy ball of snot into a filthy rag, and then carry it about in our pocket untill it dries up! (repeat for several weeks untill said rag refuses to unfold or shatters)
I'll get me coat.:(

1st Dec 2004, 23:42

Haven't used a hanky in forty years. Kleenex. Seems to be ritual when leaving the house or going on a trip to check for sufficient kleenex.

Came in handy when a pax fell down with a crash on the bridge when boarding. Cut the nose wide open and I had a fresh pack of kleenex to assist before the f/a got there with a handful of napkins.

Onan the Clumsy
1st Dec 2004, 23:42
Toilet Paper.

WTF??? If you trod mud onto the carpet, you wouldn't get a piece of cloth and rub at it would you? You'd get a bucket of water.

Anyway... Toilet Paper.

1st Dec 2004, 23:53
Don't get me started on feckin' carpet in the good old English bathroom/toilet. :mad: THAT is unhygenic.

2nd Dec 2004, 02:19
ISTR that they made special carpet for kitchens too.....

2nd Dec 2004, 03:24
The only thing special about carpet in an Englishman's bog is the amount of bacteria.

2nd Dec 2004, 03:36
We always take our shoes off in the house and I feel strange indoors with shoes on.

That's actually odd when you consider Alice the murderous spider that lived under the sofa. (She was executed for killing our Big Black Dog that kept the monkeys at bay. It took half a can of Ridsect but I did want to be certain!)

Lilly the Chihuahua doesn't wear shoes in the street but when she goes out we carry her under one arm (or stick her in a coat pocket - she's only tiny) so she never gets her feet dirty.

2nd Dec 2004, 06:15
Jerricho, the English custom of having shaggy carpet in bathrooms and toilets is indeed quite startling to us forriners isn't it?
Which reminds me, better throw a pair of plastic slippers in my suitcase, Lord knows what the facilities in our *3 star family hotel* in London will be like tonight. :ooh:

Evening Star
2nd Dec 2004, 07:09
Going back slightly, to add to Asia and Norway, it is obligatory to remove shoes before entering a house in Russia. Same reason as Norway I suspect, not a good idea to tramp the snow through the house. Presume that does not apply in Asia. Anyway Russian hallways have hard easy clean surfaces, and there the shoes remain. Mrs ES wrinkled her nose at the English habit of carpet in the hallway, and I must say I can see her point.

Find myself agreeing with Proceed As Cleared about shoes in bedroom being a strange Australian habit. Think most people I know store their shoes in the the hall cupboard (a.k.a. in the ES household as the 'Harry Potter Room'!).

I been in gaffs where yer wipe your feet before stepping back into the street.

As young wet behind the ears trainee surveyor learning all parts of the profession, had to survey some houses in Birkenhead where this applied. :yuk:

English custom of having shaggy carpet in bathrooms

Luxury for the feet on stepping out of the shower. Another example of English civilisation leading the world. :rolleyes: :cool: :ok:

2nd Dec 2004, 07:21
As I live in dog dirt kingdom, I do remove my shoes as I come through the door then shuffle around the place in nice warm slippers as all old farts do. In the summer if it ever gets warm enough, the slippers are abandoned for bare feet. Shoes in the house, no way.

tony draper
2nd Dec 2004, 07:22
If I look out my back window across the valley I see vast areas of muck,acres and acres of the stuff, bloody disgracefull, some of it is so deep that trees and grass actually grow on and in it, and the farmer lets his poor cows sheep and the like wander about in it unshod,the authorities should be informed.

Feeton Terrafirma
2nd Dec 2004, 07:33
Calling Macas a restaurant is a very loose interpretation of the word Feets

I must admit you got me there Jerricho, but my excuse is that I wanted to stir Kapitan M

2nd Dec 2004, 15:18
Nurries mate.

Now, if you had said Sizzler................ ;)

simon brown
2nd Dec 2004, 16:23
I dont know whether anyone else had this as a child, but if you got your face a bit dirty when you were out and about with your Mother, she used to :

A) A accuse you of being a dirty little mite

B) delve around in her handbag....find a used bacteria ridden handerchief, then rub away any offending dirt....and she had the temerity to call you a dirty little mite in the first place:yuk:

I now know why I dont get colds or flu as an adult as I was immunised very young in life

2nd Dec 2004, 18:41
In Glasgow, Yes; but in Cheltenham? Or was it nanny?

El Grifo
2nd Dec 2004, 18:55
Worse than that Mr Brown, my mother used to spit on the hanky first, it made the removal of the offending dirt a bit easier.

I can still remember that peculiar spitty smell.

Grandmothers were more civilised I recall, they use to ask ones self to spit on the hanky.

2nd Dec 2004, 20:29
Totally agree with the shoes off now.
We haved lived in NZ for the last eight years, and shoes off prior to entering ours/theirs's/your's houses is SOP.

One downside though, one day Y jnr left his near new pair of trainers outside the front door, ( to be de-humidified, he said)
and they were " borrowed" permanently, after a few hours.
Enterprising local yoof ( with good eyesight, apparently thought nothing of running the 30 yards down the drive to the front door,
and legging it down the road with offensive prise.


2nd Dec 2004, 22:07
Flappy, you're not wrong. Although, I would hesitate to add startling and nauseating. First house I bought in England I immediately ripped out all the carpet in the bathroom and put down tiles. Without fail, Pomgolian visitors all commented "Oh, you've tiled the bathroom floor. Don't your feet get cold?"

"Well, you see that thing called a floormat................?"

3rd Dec 2004, 00:15
Flaps and Jerricho I agree with both of you. There were more than a few years here in the U.S. that EVERYBODY put carpet in the kitchen and the bathroom.

The first thing I did was rip out the carpet in both the kitchen and the bathroom and replaced it with tile.

Throw rugs are the answer. Heck, one can put throw rugs in the washing machine.


3rd Dec 2004, 00:19
Luxury for the feet on stepping out of the shower. Another example of English civilisation leading the world
You've only just discovered showers....??? :ooh:

3rd Dec 2004, 03:43
Jerricho - it appears logical to you to remove a carpet, tile the floor, then put down a rug to keep feet off the cold tiles! Was that not the intent of the original carpet? Logic?

Flaps - UGG boots!!! The most wonderful invention by man, even if those deceitful Yanks have stolen the name to prevent its unauthorised use. Mine go on, (indoors) at the end of summer, and are there for the duration that you lot "up North" pinch our sun!

Kind regards,


tony draper
3rd Dec 2004, 06:57
We had showers here when you lot were up to yer knees in buffalo shite.

3rd Dec 2004, 11:47
I don't do the carpeted bathroom thing either - I grew up in a house with tiles in bathroom/loo and not carpet and have always thought there is something distinctly grubby about carpet there! Fortunately I have only once shared a flat, years ago now, with carpet in the bathroom and after establishing myself as a good sub-tenant I managed to get the carpet removed!! :ok:


3rd Dec 2004, 12:14
Considering we are carpeted throughout, I consider myself fortunate not to be permanantly riddled with disease particularly as summer or winter I am usually walking about in bare feet.
However, one is guaranteed a five star bollicking if one steps out of the shower or bath and does not use the bath or shower mats provided...

3rd Dec 2004, 14:59

it appears logical to you to remove a carpet, tile the floor, then put down a rug to keep feet off the cold tiles! Was that not the intent of the original carpet? Logic?

One 3 foot by 2 foot rug/bathmat VS whatever the size your bathroom carpet is, which is probably attached to the floor with grippers and has underlay.

You tell me which is easier to put in the washing machine to keep clean and sanitary. Plus, no carpet around the toilet. You might be able to account for your aim, bet you can't account for others.

CarltonBrowne the FO
3rd Dec 2004, 15:21
When I get home I usually take my shoes off.
But why stop at just the shoes? :E

3rd Dec 2004, 15:26
You might be able to account for your aim, bet you can't account for others.

Are you suggesting that some people (males, presumably) STAND UP to pee in a WC bowl?

Doesn't it occur to them to wonder what those seat-shaped things are for?

3rd Dec 2004, 17:55
It's a male's God given right to stand up to take a whizz.

tony draper
3rd Dec 2004, 18:10
Aha! penis envy rears its ugly head.

3rd Dec 2004, 19:03
Carpet? TILES?

You lot are LUCKY.

Round 'ere it's floor boards if yer' ave a job, if not it's just t'muck on 't floor coz' wood's bin used for t'fire :\

3rd Dec 2004, 20:02
ST, you could always just dig a hole.

3rd Dec 2004, 21:32
Shoes off before entering is definitely the norm in these parts. Most backdoors are surrounded by a clutter of boots, gumboots, jandals, etc. (Front doors are only for godbotherers, strangers, meter readers and emergency exits).

Folk within will be barefooted or socked, which is very hygenic. Dogs continuously tracking mud and shite indoors doesn't count :p

4th Dec 2004, 04:00
It's not just that men have terrible aim, but the toilet overflows occasionally. It's a lot less expensive to wash a throw rug than to replace wall-to-wall carpeting.

Charlie Foxtrot India
4th Dec 2004, 14:39
Nothing wrong with carpet in the bathroom, in my folks Pommie house you'd freeze to death in there otherwise.

Just don't let boys use the loo in there. They can have one downstairs with tiles. How come they never clean up thier dribbles after themselves, and then tramp round the house...yuk

if the loo overflows, well that's what insurance is for isn't it? Or get whoever left Mr Hanky in there to pay for it!

when I were a microbiologist we had funny little disposable paper bootie things we put over our shoes (steel toe caps of course, those petri dishes can be heavy) in the clean rooms. Get some of those if you are scared of germs...but I reckon not enough germs is bad for you, kids are so much sicker these days than when people used to not worry so much about everything in the home being sterile. (because the TV ads make people neurotic about these things)

Here in West Aus it's not mud but sand that gets tramped through the house! Sticks between the dog's toes until they get to a carpeted area where it magically falls onto the floor along with their hair.