Why Should American People Not Wear Pajamas in Public?
People who wear pajamas in public are slackers, right? Just dirty, nasty, lazy slobs who should not be allowed in public until they can learn how do dress! One Louisiana lawmaker has even gone as far as introducing legislation that would ban the wearing of pajamas in public. But why?!
I think the disdain toward people wearing pajamas in public stems from a matter of perspective. When we see someone in pajamas out in public, it is easy to imagine that they just rolled out of bed that day and started going about their business without any thought to simple hygiene, which really is pretty nasty - especially if it is a conscious choice. But what if that isn't actually the case?
Will This Louisiana Parish Ban Pajamas in Public?
A Matter of Perspective
The late Dr. Steven Covey, author of the best-selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, gives one of the best examples of changing perspective that I have ever heard.
As the story goes, Dr. Covey was on a subway in New York one lazy Sunday morning. The atmosphere on the train was calm and quiet as people read, rested, or simply enjoyed the scenery.
At one stop, a man with children boarded the subway, and immediately, the ride turned to chaos. The man sat down next to Dr. Covey and seemed oblivious to the fact that children were yelling, hitting, grabbing papers, and just being overall Bebe's kids. Dr. Covey became irritated, and he noticed that others on the train were becoming noticeably irritated by the atrocious behavior of these children, and the fact that the dad just sat there in a stupor and did nothing about it did not bode well at all!
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Finally, since he was sitting right next to him, Dr. Covey leaned over and politely asked the man if he could reign in his children because their behavior was disturbing the passengers on the train. The man seemed to slowly become aware of what was happening around him, and he turned to Dr. Covey and softly spoke the following words that felt more like a punch in the gut. He said, "Oh, you're right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don't know what to think, and I guess they don't know how to handle it either."
Dr. Covey explains that in an instant his "irritation vanished. I didn't have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man's pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely."
Don't get me wrong...there are times when I would most likely be disturbed at someone wearing pj's in public. For instance, if I go to church and my bishop is standing on the platform in his jammies, I would probably be distracted from the lesson. If I go to my doctor, and she shows up with her stethoscope and her pj's to examine me, I would most likely reschedule my appointment...heck, I'd probably change care providers. If I get pulled over for speeding, and a pajama clad police officer approaches my window, chances are I would speed off while dialing 911. If President Obama were to show up for a press conference in pajamas, I'm pretty sure I would withhold my vote for him. Even I draw the line at public pajama wearing somewhere.
But what if...?
What if that pajama clad person you are judging as stupid, lazy, ignorant, slacking, nasty, and more isn't any of those things at all? What if they actually have a really "good reason" for making a public appearance in their pj's? For instance:
- What if they recently lost everything they had in some kind of disaster?
- What if they are on their way to a pajama party?
- What if they just lost their mom, dad, brother, sister, child, spouse, or best friend, and it's all they can do to move much less worry about what they are wearing?
- What if it's someone who recently escaped an abusive relationship and had to flee with nothing?
- What if they are battling depression and haven't been out of the house in days, and it's a miracle that they are even out and about?
- What if the airline lost their luggage, and they spilled coffee - or a plate of spaghetti - all over the only other outfit they had?
See, there are a lot of reasons why somebody may be in their pajamas in public, but if you don't really like to play the "what if?" game, then let me give you some of my own personal reasons for wearing pajamas in public.
I speak as someone who occasionally...ok, maybe frequently...goes into public with pajamas on. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I am a single mother with three children. If it is late at night, or early in the morning, and I am not otherwise getting dressed for something else, I have been known to run up to the corner convenience store for a gallon of milk or loaf of bread...or something else.
- I hurt my back. For awhile, anything that put just the least bit of pressure on my back would cause painful muscle spasms. During this time, there were times I had to go out in public and guess what was most comfortable to wear? You got it! Jammies.
- I quit smoking for 13 months. During that period of time, I gained an enormous amount of weight, and I couldn't fit into any of my clothes. Being a single mom - and recently unemployed - I couldn't just run out and buy new clothes to fit my new fat body. But guess what I COULD get in to...yep! My PJ's.
- Before I hurt my back, became unemployed, and quit smoking, I was working a full-time job, a part-time job, and going to grad school. I was dressed "appropriately" most of the time. But you add my full-time mommy job onto everything else I was already doing, and I spent the majority of what little down time I had in my pajamas. I guarantee you that if I had to leave the house for something - anything - during these times, I was going out in my jams if I was already in them.
- Sometimes I have been so busy with life that I have neglected to do my laundry until every presentable piece of clothing I had was dirty. If I have to run out for something at a time like this, I don't mind throwing on a pair of pajamas and handling my business.
I wear pajamas in public, and I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I do think there is something wrong with the fact that a person can make so many judgements about another person based simply on what they are wearing during the brief moment of time you may see them in a mall, store, restaurant, library, or anywhere else in public they may want or need to go!
If you are a person who judges others this way, I would just ask that you practice something for yourself. Next time you see somebody in their pajamas in public, instead of mentally judging them the way so many others do, simply say a prayer because you have absolutely no idea what they are going through! If you don't pray, fine. Offer them a smile...you never know, it might be the only smile they see all day!
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