Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spirit Week: PJ Day

The spirit is definitely moving me this week. Today took some effort. Sure, PJ Day sounds convenient: Just roll out of bed and trudge into school in whatever you sleep in. Yeah, not so much when one typically sleeps in old (non-blog-worthy) t-shirts and lives a forty minute commute away from school. And even if one were to own a proper set of pajamas, wearing them on the bus with "outdoor" shoes (in my case, my trusty Blundstone boots) and a bigger-than-usual overcoat to disguise the fact your bottoms are leopard print cotton sweats makes for a rather self-conscious and uncomfortable trip - rather like, I figure, a flasher's first deliberate escapade.

My PJ bottoms actually are leopard-print cotton sweatpants (and my go-to slippers are zebra striped so I'm killing all sorts of fashion etiquette today) so, this morning, I changed out of my PJs, packed them in a bag with my housecoat and slippers, brought them to school and changed once I got here.

Check that: I wore the t-shirt top (pictured above) rather than changing altogether. But I wore a coat over it. And I drove. Like I said, effort.

As I mentioned yesterday, PJ Day is usually the most popular day of Spirit Week at this school. That being said, only about 1 in 5 students observes/participates/remembers it. I was considering it yesterday in preparation for today and wondering why I don't remember it being a thing at all in my high school years. I came up with a couple of explanations.

1) Context is important. Wearing your PJs to school in the BC Lower Mainland fall, winter, or spring is a very different thing than in Saskatchewan where the school year is best outlined as September, SNOW, or June. I remember the last day of Grade 8, also the last day of elementary school when one classmate, who lived across the street from the school set himself a goal to be back in bed at home after signing yearbooks and picking up his report card before the sheets had a chance to cool down. He still got dressed to come to school. And that was June.

2) The acceptability of PIP (PJs In Public) has grown. I blame this in part on Lululemon(TM) and the yoga gear fad. I'd have to consult with the fashion-minded frugalista Annabelle Hepburn to be certain but I'm pretty sure by 1990, leggings and the like had been deemed beyond passé (see? I can be French-esque too) but then lululemon athletica was founded in 1998 and by 2000, it was fashionable to wear unflattering, high-priced, patterned stretchy skin in place of trousers. And those who couldn't afford $60 - $100 for a pair of stripped-down stir-up pants could be forgiven for interpreting the sudden prevalence of über-casual dress on public transit and at the workplace as a tacit societal acceptance of a comfort-first approach to clothing.

3) Loss of privacy. This goes back to discourses on social media, common sense, the diminishing of the term "friend" and crowd-sourcing. When I was in high school, you held sleepovers with maybe a half-dozen of your close friends. They were the ones who got to meet your parents, annoy your siblings, chase your pets, hang out in your room/closet/basement (whatever), and watch movies/talk/crimp hair late into the night.  It was a fairly exclusive experience that could be shared second-hand at school the next week in discussions. It allowed for safe risk-taking, potential embarrassment that was understandably manageable because of the small number of witnesses. Nowadays, if sleep-overs do still happen, they are streamed, tweeted, shared, and updated so persistently, nothing is sacred or safe anymore. And, similar to the word "friend", "privacy" in this arena has become so de-valued that the approach has become extreme - either you share everything or you share nothing at all. ever. Neither is really healthy emotional development and both can be potentially problematic socially. 

To end where I started, PJs are a source of comfort in theory. I have my winter PJs - red fleece reindeer printed ones and seafoam green fuzzies that I refer to as my Muppet-skins - and a couple of sets of cotton coordinates that appeal to my humour (see today's) and my own personality (see today's). PJs may, in fact, in their natural state (ie. not-Spirit-Week requirement), be a source of truth for how we see ourselves. I believe we sleep best when we are at ease and there is some evidence that we learn best when at ease too. However, the jury's still out on how well teens learn while asleep.