The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58958   Message #936425
Posted By: *daylia*
19-Apr-03 - 09:32 AM
Thread Name: BS: The insult of the sole of the foot Q
Subject: RE: BS: The insult of the sole of the foot Q
The custom against the public "airing" of the human foot seems to apply to European countries as well. I was travelling from Geneva to Milan by train several years ago. I was very tired, and the coach was empty except for my Italian travelling companion, so I took my shoes off and put my feet up on the seat opposite me hoping to catch a few z's.

After a while I noticed that everyone passing by the door of the coach was giving me dirty looks. Finally I asked my friend if I was doing something "wrong" - was I not "allowed" to nap on the train? She said "Oh, you should know better than to take your shoes off. That's VERY bad manners!"

Surprised, and not a little annoyed (being tired and grumpy), I decided to ignore them - couldn't bear the thought of putting those tight shoes back on my aching feet. Besides, my socks were clean and my feet don't stink! I remember dozing off, silently telling those passers-by with the insulting glances "You think that's bad - wait'll I take my socks off for ya too! Then you'll really see my toes wiggle!"

The next night I got another surprising lesson in European etiquette. We were at a stoplight in downtown Milan - after the most incredible Spanish guitar concert I've ever been to in my life (!!!) - when the local prostitutes approached to ply their trade. These women were topless - *gasp* - and a couple of them actually leaned over the hood of the car to press their mammaries (enticingly I guess) against the windshield. My mouth fell open in astonishment, and I finally asked "Is that LEGAL over here?" My friend grinned and said "Well, not really, but the police don't do anything about it."

So toes are taboo but breasts are okay then? Go figure!!

I was also constantly being reminded to keep BOTH hands on the table when eating. No putting one hand on your lap! When I finally asked why, I was told it was to reassure your host and your fellow diners that you were not hiding a weapon under the table to attack them with. I guess in the old days of the knights in armour, that was a real concern. Such friendly, peaceful loving traditions - NOT!!

daylia