My daughter left for college six days ago and so far my wife and I have been able to hold it together. Until last night. We had a small spat when I came down stairs to watch a DVD of “Foyle’s War” in my nightshirt at 7:35. Rayda exploded. “What are you wearing ?” (she knew perfectly well). “You know that depresses me, go upstairs and change”. We have been down this road a number of times, my wife and I.
I hate that awkward time of the evening where I can no longer wear my work clothes, especially my suits and ties, but it is too early to put on bedroom attire. Usually this is solved by slipping into a pair of walking shorts and a t-shirt , a number of which similarly “depress” Rayda, but which she tolerates. The odd thing is that some nights I will just sleep in those shorts and t-shirts, giving them the functional equivalent of pajamas, so I don’t see why I can’t just skip this three hour time period I am forced to spend in my dog walking outfits.
Sleeping clothes are odd. It seems to me that you live in a pretty rich society if you can afford clothes in which all you do is sleep. I feel the same way about paper products. What kind of decadent society produces napkins, paper towels AND toilet paper, when just one would do for all three uses ? But back to the P.J. . Starting in the fall of 1971, and continuing down to the present day, I have worn old fashioned night shirts to bed. I love them. Their only shortcoming is when they start falling apart after a thousand or so washes and you walk around looking like that little urchin from “Les Mis”. Other than that, they are perfect. I used to have some that looked like a New York Yankee uniform. In defense of Rayda, the night shirt does look a bit odd sitting around the family room downstairs watching the nightly news. I blame that on society.
Back in the 1950s, people would put on smoking jackets after they got home, or at least after dinner. Some people put their pajamas on underneath, some people (Ricky Ricardo) wore a shirt and tie under them. But they were very comfortable and made a nice transition into pajamas. Well before everyone stopped smoking, the smoking jacket went the way of the dodo. I have seen Hugh Hefner in some robes that looked like smoking jackets, especially back when he smoked a pipe, but Hefner is in his pajamas all day long so that does not really count. Life has never been the same without the smoking jacket. I think that the reason most people don’t care about this issue is that people dress so casually at work now that they are comfortable just leaving on their work clothes. I can’t do that. I am not alone. Ronald Reagan, when he was President of the United States, was in his pajamas every night at 6:30. He and Nancy took their dinner on a tray in the White House family quarters and watched repeats of Bonanza. What a great life ! I bet Nancy never got “depressed”.
At any rate, Rayda let me keep on my nightshirt last night (I noticed she made me go upstairs) with the promise that I would not do it anymore. I am not quite sure when I can put on my nightshirt, but I think that anything after about 10:15 is fine, probably a bit later on weekends, probably earlier if I have a cold. I am pretty sure that the rule will not apply in hotel rooms, but we shall see. Until then I’ll be singing the old Buffet song;
“I wish I had a pencil thin mustache,
The Boston Blackie kind.
A two tone Ricky Ricardo jacket
And an autographed picture of Andy Devine.”