Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bad Dream

I thought that being in a supermarket wearing jamas was one of those classic nightmares that get interpreted by psychoanalysts.  I wouldn't even dream of going to Tescos in my night dress.  I wouldn't answer the main door in my night dress - but come to think of it, Cherie Blair did so there must be an inappropriate night dress-wearing culture going back some decades.

It's the opposite of going to bed in your vest, which was a significant cultural marker in my childhood.  The implications are extraordinary.  Some people no longer distinguish between night and day, insofar as dress is concerned anyway.  Their activity patterns are such that  it is ordinary for them to change their clothes only for occasional breaks in their everyday - counted as 24 hours - routine. 

Not even to have house dresses which they change when going out, and  change back into on their return, and  when there are visitors expected, or when people are coming in for dinner.  Just jamas - even out of doors.  I can't get over them wearing  bedroom slippers outside either.  Not their indoor shoes, which can pass as outdoor at a pinch, but slippers that they wear in bedrooms and bathrooms being traipsed around the public street.   Are their houses in such a state they are indistinguishable from the street outside?   Or the streets outside so well kept you could eat your dinner from them?

Well, it certainly gives a new lease of life and older meaning to dressing gowns. 

6 comments:

Scrobs... said...

Hats you didn't mention a 'house coat'!

I remember having a long, fragrant, inquisitive discussion about housecoats with a secretary just a few years older than me...

But those headscarves - er - no...

Elby The Beserk said...

A quick distraction from "Well, I really believed I was doing the right thing" (so that's OK then, off you go), I have a confession.

I once went to a football match wearing pyjamas. It was the - freezing - winter of 1968, and I was returning to school in Cambridge from my Oxford exams. Via London, and Manchester City were playing Spurs, so it seemed to good a chance to miss.

My mate and I had borrowed my brother's flat in Rose Hill, which was like a freezer. All our clothes to go to bed on top of my pyjamas, plus a bottle of gin to warm us up. Saturday dawned, still freezing, and we set off, still pyjama'ed. Every now and again, the bottom of my pyjama trousers would appear beneath my real trousers, and I noticed more than a few odd looks at White Hart Lane that afternoon.

So - there you go. My confession.

hatfield girl said...

Dressing gowns are luxurious wrap-around coats in sumptuous materials and linings, in peacock colours of silks and wools. Worn before you get dressed. Or actually before you get fully dressed.

Housecoats ought to be the same thing under a different name but they're not, are they Scrobs? Horrid visions of button-through terylene flash through the mind. Though both are worn before dressing is complete, so you wouldn't leave the house in either. To go out in your jamas means you haven't even got to the dressing gown stage of getting up, or changing clothes for going out.

On reflection perhaps the public jama-wearing is associated with going out on winter nights wearing teeny clothes and no coat. Not just day and night being abolished, but inside and outside distinctions.

Elby, that doesn't count - you were sensibly keeping as warm as you could with your outer clothes on the outside. Anyway, it's not men who are wearing jamas outside - they're all women.

Mrs R said...

@ Elby - you should have tucked your pyjama trousers into your socks, then they wouldn't have been able to escape.

Steve Hemingway said...

I wondered what on earth you were going on about until the magical Google gave me this link.

St. Mellons used to be a very posh area of Cardiff until the local authority decided to build a huge sink estate there and fill it with single mothers.

hatfield girl said...

Nice link SH. There seems to be a clothes-wearing crisis going on.