“Mind your Ps and Qs … ” she said, inspecting me, my brother, and sister, adjusting the knots in our thick winter scarves and making sure our coats were buttoned, socks pulled up, shoes polished, and gloves on the correct hands, “… and if you’re good, we’ll stop at Lyon’s Café on the way home for a Knickerbocker Glory.”
I made eye contact with my nine and ten year old siblings letting them know I expected to get a Knickerbocker Glory that day, so they’d better listen to Nan. My brother stared back, “Ditto!”
Fast forward a few years, rather a decade or two, and I’m sitting in an American diner known for its pancakes. I order my eggs over-easy with blueberry stuffed French toast, and cupping the chunky brown coffee mug in both hands, inhale my first coffee aroma of the day. That first aroma is always the best … just like the first gulp of steaming coffee is always the best.
Savoring the rich dark roast, I glance around the diner while my honey runs out to the car for his wallet.
At the table next to me sits a family of five. Two girls and a boy, just like our family. But unlike our family, no adult ran a quick discerning eye over them to make sure they were dressed to meet the world. With sleep in their eyes and ratty, greasy bed-hair, all three apparently rolled out of bed at the trumpet call of breakfast and forgot to dress. They’re still wearing crumpled pajamas, bed socks, and slippers … and that ratty, greasy bed-hair. Is that a piece of lint? No, it’s fluff. Did they at least brush their teeth? More than one of them needs a long hot shower with a hefty squirt of fresh spring bodywash and a dose of man-strength deodorant.
Lest you’re thinking these are babies, the youngest is probably 12 or 13. The others, around 18 and 20.
I tell myself to live and let live, but mentally sigh. My honey returns with his wallet and slides into the booth, facing me. He leans forward nodding his head toward the booth behind me and whispers, “I think we’re overdressed”.
Two more pajama wearers. And over in the corner, a group of five friends, three of whom sport ratty, greasy bed-hair and yes, those crumpled pajamas.
It’s not a “generational thing” because since then I’ve noticed many pajama-wearing adults from Gen Y to Gen Xrs and Boomers … at diner’s, coffee shops, grocery stores. Even in the mall and at the movies.
It’s not a “trend thing” because, in most cases, these PJ-wearers still appear to be in the zombie state of unwashed and disheveled half-sleep.
It’s not a “comfort thing” because we’re already a nation that wears stretch garments with elasticized waistbands and oversized sweatshirts – and we’re known worldwide for our preferred footwear of sneakers, flip flops, and Uggs.
Neither is it a “socio-economic thing”. When you drive your sleepy, pajama-wearing-ass home in a Lexus 570L – whether it’s owned, financed, or leased – let me tell you, you can splash down twenty bucks on a pair of pants at Target. (Or that other colossal store that begins with W and plans to take over the world, but that’s another post for another day).
And it’s not a “cultural thing”. My family in Europe sees it too, albeit to a lesser degree.
So what is the deal with wearing pajamas in public? When did it become okay to roll out of bed and not clean up or dress up before heading out in public?
I’m not talking about glamming up to go on the town. Or being obsessive about designer clothing and preening in front of the mirror for hours. Or worrying about having the right accessories. Or dressing to impress.
Why don’t friends and family say – as I admit I would: Wear what the hell you like. Dress to express. But ditch the PJs and wear something.
Beachside restaurants and stores post signs saying: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”.
I say: “No Pants, No Service.” And PJs, my friends, are not pants!
What do you think?