Stand back. Here comes one of my Great Pet Peeves Of Our Time.
And it’s not the phrase, “pet peeve.” I’m over that one. Finally.
LASTEST PET PEEVE: Pajama-Wearing Airline Passenger.
Why does this person think it’s OK to walk through an airport and onto a plane in their sleepwear?
OLDER PET PEEVE: Flip-flop-Wearing Airline Passenger.
While this is also a problem, I must admit, I have a foot issue. So that one may be on me.
Still, I know in my heart I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to see some guy’s funky, toes flopping around out there with crud under the nails and obvious, unaddressed fungus issues.
But back to the pajama peeve o’ the day. Here’s the explanation I’ve heard from people who try to justify their choice to wear pajamas in the airport and onboard. Ready?
“I just want to be comfortable.”
The “I’m comfortable” statement begs the question: How uncomfortable are your regular clothes?
What kind of stiffness-inducing mega starch are you using in your weekly laundry?
Do you insist on buying all your clothing two sizes too small?
Are you making sure that you’re inserting each of your legs into a separate pant leg?
Have you tried removing the hanger from your shirt before you putting it on?
How great a hardship would it be to wear, say, loose jeans and a soft, brushed-cotton shirt for those in-flight hours?
Somehow, you made it through all your school days and working days intact. There was no breaking into a biblical, Job-like full-body rash, no erupting in a festival of pustules and seeping wounds, no spontaneous bursting into flames.
Hmm. What about those remote work days?
Are too many people no longer working in a group setting? Could this burgeoning pajama problem be a COVID leftover? Did we get so used to lounging around the house all day that we just can’t go back to legit, respectable, adult clothing? Where athleisure wear and Jeggings just gateway drugs?
PROFESSIONAL DECORUM SIDEBAR: I’ve been a remote worker for years. Long before COVID, and I’ve been making it a point to get dressed for work every day. My one hard-and-fast rule: Never take a business call without a bra on. I say nothing to a client until the ladies are locked and loaded.
So, I’m calling bullshit.
I call bullshit on the “I work out of the house and live in my pajamas” excuse.
I’ve never seen people in PJs while out to dinner, at a concert, in an art gallery, going into a parent-teacher meeting, waiting to get a root canal…I could go on. But you get the picture.
Why have some people decided that air travel is a place where being respectful and respectable don’t matter? You’re spending several hours locked inside a tube with over a hundred of your fellow human beings and you say to yourself, “I know. Pajamas!” And yes, how you dress DOES reflect the respect you have for yourself and for those around you.
“But I don’t care what I look like.”
If you don’t care what you look like, why did you brush your hair, put on makeup, and make sure your little ducky travel pillow matches your little ducky slippers?
“But I don’t care what people think.”
Really? Then why do you get bent out of shape when someone makes a sour face at your “Goodnight Moon” getup?
“You’re judging me!”
Yes I am. And no one likes being judged. But it’s impossible to not make first-impression judgments. We all know we do it. And when you see people on the plane walking down the aisle towards your seat, aren’t there some folks you hope will just keep on walking?
You’re not basing those judgements on their inner self.
And just by the way, consider the professionals who are working on that plane. You don’t think they’re making judgments about you based on your pajama-jammy-jams? Think again. Would you like coffee, tea or disdain with that?
A few months back, my niece was flying out to visit us. She’s in her mid-twenties and, by all standards of measure, a great person. Two days before her flight, she asked if we’d be stopping anywhere between the airport and home.
Immediately, I knew what was coming.
“I was thinking of wearing my pajamas on the plane.”
My heart sank. This person was one of my own. You better believe Aunt Honey nipped that in the bud. At the time, I just said yes, we’d be stopping for lunch on the way home.
But when I had her on my own turf, there was a long talk. OK, fine. It was a lecture on how to present yourself in public.
And, I’m not talking about putting on the dog. (It’s an old expression. If you don’t know it, look it up.) But if you’re going to be with a group of people, it's nice to not look like you’re shuffling ever closer to performing all the private and anti-social functions one indulges in the privacy of their own bedroom and bathroom. (I’ll be careful-ish enough to not put them down in writing. You’re welcome.)
What does wearing pajamas in public say?
“I don’t care. I put myself first. And I do so in the laziest way possible!”
Is that really what people want to project: “I’m lazy and self-absorbed”?
And yes, that was part of the lecture to my niece. That, along with sections on self-awareness, being intentional, and requiring more of one’s self.
Now, you may be reading this and thinking, “I had no idea Honey was so uptight. Has she not read her own books?”
The answer is, yes. And if you’ll notice, not one of my characters lives in their pajamas. Not even during COVID lockdown. I make all kinds of room in my life for quirky and even questionable behavior. But put on your damn pants.
I will now step down off my pet-peeve rant-o-matic soap box. But remember, when it comes to wearing pajamas to the airport, just say no.
(And pass on the flip-flops unless you’ve had a proper pedicure.)
Cheers and stay careful-ish,
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.