Unblissful Signs

Coat of arms of the town of Kingsville, Ontario.

Coat of arms of the town of Kingsville, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A note of explanation: As many of you know, I am the municipal reporter for my small town paper, but I also write a column. This week’s column was the subject of yesterday’s post, but I also wrote a second half. This is the second half. The woman mentioned in the article, Mary-Ann was a legal secretary and she and I worked at different firms years ago (she was a real legal secretary, I was someone  floundering in  a sea of unemployment until my father-in-law hired me). Steve, the associate editor is my colleague. The signs that I am talking about are the portable signs that seem to be popping up all over our lovely town of Kingsville in southwestern Ontario (we brag about being the southern most town in Ontario)–and as you can see from the column, I am of two minds–I believe businesses should be able to advertise and prosper, but I also wish that they could find another more attractive way to do it. I tend to stay away from opinion pieces having to do with the municipality–because I want to maintain my subjectivity–but sometimes you just have to speak out:

 On a Different Note…..

            “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

            Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind….”

           

            Many of us of a certain age remember the song, “Signs”, from the early 1970’s. It was performed by an unknown Canadian rock group, Five Man Electrical Band and composed by Les Emmerson. It was written during what Wikipedia calls “an era of social and political change.” I would argue that all times are eras of social and political change, but that is an argument for another time.

            A few weeks ago, Mary-Ann Costa wrote a letter to the editor about the proliferation of signs in our little town that tend to take away from our quaintness. Intrepid associate editor Steve I ‘Anson then took up the gauntlet and expressed his dismay at the way some signs do not add to the attractiveness of our town.

            I usually like to sit on the fence in matters having to with do the rights of others, which is not to say I do not have an opinion but I generally do not voice it. In this case it is the rights of the business people vs. the rights of aesthetics—and to say that one is more important than the other would be wrong. I do not have a solution, but if someone came up with an attractive way to display what businesses have to offer they would be instant heroes.

            I am not crazy about the proliferation of these signs. I cover municipal council and I know that they have come up with a by-law to deal with the signs—but the matter to my mind is complicated.

            Civic pride should not suffer at the hands of business, nor should businesses suffer at the hands of those with delicate sensibilities (my husband says I suffer from this), but there should be a solution. There must be a middle ground—a way to advertise that does not offend or to paraphrase the song “Signs”: block out the scenery breaking our minds. We need to put our thinking caps on.

            Our town is quaint and lovely and a wonderful tourist destination—but it is also a place of business. Can’t the two come together?

 What do you think? Do you have any suggestions that would make our lovely town more blissful?

Do You Need Shoes to Party Hardy?

Shoes!

Shoes! (Photo credit: Cynewulf)

“Abandon shoes, all ye who enter here.”  – National Post

Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up.  The subject of “peace on earth, good will to (wo)mankind” seems to no longer be a hot topic for this time of year. The new hot topic? Whether you should leave your shoes on or take them off when you enter a private home for holiday parties. The topic is so hot that the Canadian newspaper, the National Post devoted the front page to the subject.

It seems people have very strong opinions about the topic.  One of the “experts” quoted in the article said she did not mind if people left their shoes on, but noted quite pointedly that she did not have white carpeting. (So, I am thinking that if she did have white carpets she might not be so open-minded). Another woman  put the responsibility squarely on her visitor’s shoulders. She said quite adamantly that they should come prepared to leave wet footwear at the door, and bring a pair of shoes to wear inside. (I am thinking she is not a “party hardy” kind of gal.)

Another responder to the question of “shoes on or shoes off” said that “guests should leave their shoes on. Any decent party will involve a lot of spilled drinks, passed out people, and possibly, a flood. If you’re worried about a bit of slush on the carpet, you’re probably going to react badly when your brother-in-law falls through the coffee table”. He has a point. One might wonder about the type of parties he goes to. (I have not been to one of those in years–I sort of miss them.)

A highly fashion conscious woman sniffed at the question and said that shoes must stay on as they “are the most important part of an outfit.”  She stated: “May as well wear my pyjamas if I have to take my shoes off.”

My opinion, shaded on the side of “make your guests comfortable” is to not ask people to shed their shoes at the door, and let them make up their own mind. In fact, most of the time I encourage people to wear their shoes in my house especially if they are unexpected so that their socks do not gather up the dust tumbleweeds that tend to float willy nilly around my house. (If I am expecting guests though, I tame the tumbleweeds beforehand, spray furniture polish in the air, and use candlelight, not so much for the ambience but to hide my lack of housekeeping skills.)

The easy solution—in Canada in the wintertime?

Fancy Yelp KC Party 146

Party! Party! Can’t tell if they have their shoes on. (Photo credit: Yelp.com)

Wear your boots to the door and put your shoes on after you have discarded your outerwear. Easy peasy. Or wear cute socks. The ones with the reindeer are especially nice.

Where do you stand on the shoes on, shoes off controversy this holiday season?

Christmas Cashmere Socks

Shoes

Shoes (Photo credit: MiriamBJDolls)

“Abandon shoes, all ye who enter here.”  – National Post

Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up.  The subject of “peace on earth, goodwill to (wo)man” seems to no longer be a hot topic for this time of year. The new hot topic? Whether you should leave your shoes on or take them off when you enter a private home for holiday parties. About a week ago, the National Post devoted the front page to the subject plus half a page article within the pages of its arts, style & design, books, and food & drink pages.

It seems people have very strong opinions about the topic. In my opinion, sock and stocking feet are none too stylish, but I am letting the cat out the bag a little too soon. Suffice to say, I have a solution that will enlighten the masses about this seemingly very controversial question–but first, a few “experts” weigh in the subject.

Danielle Perry, an intrepid reporter at the National Post asked seven “experts” their opinion. Bernadette Morra,  an editor at Fashion magazine said she did not mind if people left their shoes on, but noted she did not have white carpeting. Karen Kwinter from Canadian Living magazine put the responsibility squarely on the visitor’s shoulders. She said they should come prepared to leave wet footwear at the door, and bring a pair of shoes to wear inside.

Ryan Oakley, who is called an “avid sartorialist” in the article said that “guest should leave their shoes on. Any decent party will involve a lot of spilled drinks, passed out people, and possibly, a flood. If you’re worried about a bit of slush on the carpet, you’re probably going to react badly when your brother-in-law falls through the coffee table.” I tried to look sartorialist up in my thesaurus and dictionary, but came up with nothing. Sartorial though, relates to “the tailoring of clothing in general”, so we can assume the guy is a fashionista.  A fashionista who  goes to parties I have not been to since I was in university— but I get his point—leaving your shoes on can be a matter of survival.

Stylist, Samantha Pynn (are we supposed to know these people?) says that shoes must stay on as they “are the most important part of an outfit.” She says, “May as well wear my pajamas if I have to take my shoes off.”  Noreen Flanagan from Elle Canada says that Christmas is “the one time of year when everyone prefers a “shoes-off”. But she says this takes some preparation, and suggests that one wear cashmere socks

Now, I want you to guess what the opinion of Ron White, the creative director of Ron White Shoes had to say. Predictably he fell on the “wear shoes in the house” side of the controversy. He agrees with Pynn  that “shoes make the outfit.” He would never ask guests to take off their shoes—as he says it is rude and tacky. He believes it would be the same as asking someone to take “their outfit off as you welcome them into your home.”

Arren Williams of The Bay made a lot of sense. Williams said, “If you’re hosting a swish affair and expecting everyone to turn up in their finest, then the shoes stay on.” He or she ( I cannot tell from the first name if Arren  is male or female) said that there is “honestly nothing sadder than seeing an artfully coiffed and maquillage’d guest padding around  in stocking feet while attempting to still carry off a newly purchased cocktail dress with aplomb.” (Yes, I had to look up maquillage’d too– it means “made up”).

So what is my solution? First my opinion. I do not ask people to take their shoes off at the door—I figure they can decide for themselves how comfortable they are (and how dirty their shoes are). In fact, sometimes I encourage people to keep their shoes on if I am not expecting them and the dust tumbleweeds are so excessive you cannot even find the dust bunnies. But I agree, many times shoes help make the outfit, and really how dignified is it for a man in a lovely suit to be expected to pad around in his executive style socks? My solution is old fashioned. Shoe rubbers for men.  And ladies, remember those little plastic boots that used to go on over your shoes, that folded over at the ankle and you did up the button with a little elastic loop? They were ugly, and as a kid I was made to wear them. But they did the trick.

An example of an ankle sock

An example of an ankle sock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I will not bet using my own solution—I will either wear regular boots to the house and put on a pair of shoes I have brought for a formal occasion, or don cute little slippers if it is a casual. To be honest, I am comfortable wearing just my cashmereless socks when I have jeans on—but I always check to make sure there are no holes. That would just be embarrassing.

Next week: my solution to solving the whole “Peace On Earth” issue, now that we have taken care of the “shoes on, shoes off” conundrum.

Published in: on December 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm  Comments (6)  
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