Author Topic: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?  (Read 6952 times)

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Thipu1

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 11:58:08 AM »
Back in the 1970s there was an Italian seafood place near the shore that was really good and included a glass of wine with the meal.   They had a big sign at the entrance that read, 'No shirt on your body, no wine on the house'.

IME, the 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' signs indicate that beach wear is not acceptable in the restaurant.  As other posters have said, the shoe stipulation is usually a safety issue.  the shirt shirt stipulation is an aesthetic one.  Who wants to sit one table over from a shirtless man who has crumbs from the restaurant's excellent bread stuck in his chest hair?






lowspark

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2014, 12:07:49 PM »
Back in the 1970s there was an Italian seafood place near the shore that was really good and included a glass of wine with the meal.   They had a big sign at the entrance that read, 'No shirt on your body, no wine on the house'.

IME, the 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' signs indicate that beach wear is not acceptable in the restaurant.  As other posters have said, the shoe stipulation is usually a safety issue.  the shirt shirt stipulation is an aesthetic one.  Who wants to sit one table over from a shirtless man who has crumbs from the restaurant's excellent bread stuck in his chest hair?

Ewwww.... 

 :o 8) ;D

shhh its me

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2014, 01:55:01 PM »
Back in the 1970s there was an Italian seafood place near the shore that was really good and included a glass of wine with the meal.   They had a big sign at the entrance that read, 'No shirt on your body, no wine on the house'.

IME, the 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' signs indicate that beach wear is not acceptable in the restaurant.  As other posters have said, the shoe stipulation is usually a safety issue.  the shirt shirt stipulation is an aesthetic one.  Who wants to sit one table over from a shirtless man who has crumbs from the restaurant's excellent bread stuck in his chest hair?

Ewwww.... 

 :o 8) ;D

Well someone had to paint the picture.

lowspark

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2014, 01:59:50 PM »
Back in the 1970s there was an Italian seafood place near the shore that was really good and included a glass of wine with the meal.   They had a big sign at the entrance that read, 'No shirt on your body, no wine on the house'.

IME, the 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' signs indicate that beach wear is not acceptable in the restaurant.  As other posters have said, the shoe stipulation is usually a safety issue.  the shirt shirt stipulation is an aesthetic one.  Who wants to sit one table over from a shirtless man who has crumbs from the restaurant's excellent bread stuck in his chest hair?

Ewwww.... 

 :o 8) ;D

Well someone had to paint the picture.

LOL. Yes, you're right! And someone had to react. :) Might as well be me.  >:D

SoCalVal

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2014, 03:23:51 AM »
I was curious and looked it up, and apparently it has its beginnings in establishments that wanted to keep hippies out back in the sixties.

I've never looked it up but have always been under this same impression.  I think one of my parents might've told me this when I was child because I asked what these strange signs meant (I used to see them a lot in the 70s).

I, too, saw the first part of this thread title pop up when looking at the latest topic replies and thought, "What in the world now...?"  ::)  Really, do people not consider that others (not just us Americans) might find wording a question this way a bit offensive? (of course, I'll see things here like referring to a deity as "flying spaghetti monster" so, at times, I think sense, etiquette and just plain consideration have gone right out the window since it happens repeatedly)



Psychopoesie

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2014, 07:30:30 AM »
I have seen dress standards posted at the entry of pubs and clubs in Australia. When it has been, the signs just say footwear, not specifically shoes IIRC. Some places may say no thongs (Australian term for flip-flops, not a type of underwear).

I grew up in Darwin which has a fairly casual lifestyle. The dress standards for the sailing club there (which is right on the beach) are:

a)  Except as may be determined by the House Committee for special events, appropriate smart casual attire must be worn by members and guests with the minimum dress to be:

Shirt or tee/shirt with shorts, slacks or skirt or dress and footwear.
Patrons wearing dirty or wet clothing or singlets bathing attire, or no footwear shall not be permitted to remain within the lounge area. Hats shall not be permitted in the lounge area.

b)  Patrons remaining in the Sailors Bar area shall wear appropriate clothing covering the upper body together with at least, shorts or bathing attire.  Hats shall not be permitted in the Sailors Bar.

c)   The wearing of clothing bearing profane, suggestive or improper words or designs shall not be permitted on the licensed premises.

shhh its me

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2014, 07:59:26 AM »
   I don't think the title was offensive, to my knowledge we're the only place that has "no shoes , no shirt , no service" signs.  I don't mean we're the only place that has rules about footwear in restaurants/stores or has signs , it just seems we're the only place that has that particular sign appear with some frequency.

jmarvellous

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2014, 08:33:48 AM »
To Psychopoesie's distinction, these signs use "shoes" as shorthand for footwear (which is a term I don't often see). You would be fine with any sandals.  Places with stricter rules will be clear that shoes must be closed-toed or have soles of certain material.  Those are unusual outside workplaces or gyms.

sunnygirl

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2014, 08:47:38 AM »
I thought this thread was going to be about some kind of Sex and the City-type culture/stereotype and the popularity of Manolos!

I've travelled and lived fairly widely and I've only encountered a few places where people would even think of entering an establishment barefoot, a few places in developing countries, and one beach party/club town where everyone was basically wasted most of the time. I have seen signs at a beach resort in Israel asking people to put on shoes before entering the shops, though.

I think if there's a cultural difference between the US and other countries at play, it's that in the US signs and visible warnings are very commonplace. I think this is due to the US's legal system. In one of Bill Bryson's books he talks about despairing at seeing signs warning people about things that should be obvious -that it may be dangerous to cross a railroad track without looking, or to touch a pan right after it comes out of the oven, or warnings on packets of peanuts saying may contains nuts, etc. But it's not like Americans are less endowed with common sense than anyone else, that they need to be told that peanuts contain nuts. It's that the US legal system is so much more accessible and democratic than in other countries (which is a good thing), it is easy to file frivolous lawsuits (which is a downside to that good thing). So everything that might potentially be dangerous has to have a warning no matter how obvious, not because they think people won't realise it's dangerous, but so they are legally covered against frivolous lawsuits. I may be wrong but I would guess that may be a factor in no shoes signs - to cover the vendor/company legally if they want to throw someone out for refusing to wear shoes, or if there is some foot fungus infection found.

Another factor is that the US is such a huge melting pot (as previously mentioned) with people coming from all kinds of different backgrounds, and perhaps some people are coming from backgrounds that have different habits where going barefoot is more commonplace.

lady_disdain

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2014, 09:38:12 AM »
   I don't think the title was offensive, to my knowledge we're the only place that has "no shoes , no shirt , no service" signs.  I don't mean we're the only place that has rules about footwear in restaurants/stores or has signs , it just seems we're the only place that has that particular sign appear with some frequency.

Yes. To me, the question was more about the signs (which seem to be much more common in the US than elsewhere) than about shoes. Then again, I don't think discussing cultural differences is offensive.

Jocelyn

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2014, 11:28:18 AM »
I think that it IS an American cultural issue. There are multiple cultures within America, but one of the things that makes us American is the idea of personal independence. We have a country that was built on the idea of moving on and finding a place where you could be free, if you didn't like the rules or social customs where you were. One thing that struck me when I went to Germany to visit relatives there was how much people worked at maintaining social standards. You kept your yard looking nice because you cared what your neighbors thought...perhaps because you were related to everyone in the village, perhaps because if your family had lived there for centuries, picking up and moving didn't seem to be as much of an option as it is for Americans. My German cousins anticipated that they'd live next to the same people for decades, whereas I figure that my neighbors will change every few years. While most Americans will modify their behavior for the pleasantness of those around them, there are those people who figure it's their right to be boors in public, that no one has the right to tell them they can't put their sweaty bare torsos in seat that will be later occupied by others. Gyms have to post signs telling patrons to wipe their sweat off machines, and restaurants deal with it by just telling customers they have to have on shirts. As for bare feet, I think it's more an issue of safety- the restaurants are protecting themselves from lawsuits by people who slip and fall. I see the signs mainly in fast food places, which have slippery floors and greasy food; I live very far from a beach, so it's not because of people coming in wearing swimsuits. It's just tacky folks who don't care if they're disgusting the other customers.

Twik

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2014, 09:10:36 PM »
When I first came to the US I was rather confused by all the signs with "no shoes, no shirts, no service". At first I thought it meant that they didn't sell shoes or shirts and had no service.

I have just been there with my son who hates wearing shoes when it is hot and he has been asking for an explanation for why you have to put on shoes almost everywhere. I live in a cold country so going barefoot is not common but there are no rules about it unless a place has an actual dress code - not common here.

I have asked several Americans and they tell me it is for health reasons that you have to wear shoes in places where food is sold. But why? Someones feet are not likely to carry more dirt than someones shoes?

Does anyone know the reason behind it?

Does your son expect to go to school barefoot, or to pursue his career with no shoes? The shoes and shirt ARE a dress code, whether you recognize it as one or not.

You might explain to your son that places where there may be hot things, heavy things and occasionally sharp things have an interest in people wearing shoes.
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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2014, 09:51:33 PM »
I was curious and looked it up, and apparently it has its beginnings in establishments that wanted to keep hippies out back in the sixties.

I've never looked it up but have always been under this same impression.  I think one of my parents might've told me this when I was child because I asked what these strange signs meant (I used to see them a lot in the 70s).

I, too, saw the first part of this thread title pop up when looking at the latest topic replies and thought, "What in the world now...?"  ::)  Really, do people not consider that others (not just us Americans) might find wording a question this way a bit offensive? (of course, I'll see things here like referring to a deity as "flying spaghetti monster" so, at times, I think sense, etiquette and just plain consideration have gone right out the window since it happens repeatedly)

BTW, SoCalVal, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or "Pastafarianism" is a pop culture reference to a parody religion (although some people claim to be true adherents). Folks on Ehell use it as shorthand to avoid naming any actual religion and thereby avoid religious debates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
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katycoo

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2014, 06:56:03 PM »
Because when you're going out into private but public areas (such as shopping centres, restaurants etc, you should be fully dressed.  That includes footware.

rose red

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Re: Why are Americans so concerned about shoes?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2014, 07:30:14 PM »
I have asked several Americans and they tell me it is for health reasons that you have to wear shoes in places where food is sold. But why? Someones feet are not likely to carry more dirt than someones shoes?

Yes, both bare feet and shoes carry in the same dirt or germs.  But a place can have dozens or hundreds of customers a day.  Would you (general you) rather step on those dirt/germs with your bare feet or with your shoes?  And as others have mentioned, what if there was something sharp on the floor?  Business owners are just doing all they can to protect themselves.  Who do you think a customer will blame for any injuries?