A year or so ago, I forget exactly where it happened, I overheard two women discussing their shopping habits when one of them remarked that she much preferred Big Lots because, “you don’t have to dress up to go to Big Lots like you do if you shop at Walmart.”
Now I’m thinking that I may have already gotten a column out of that kernel of shopping fashion savvy, but it’s a slow news day that has been preceded by a more-than-mundane week wherein the only thing that elicited a guffaw from me was a trip to Walmart where I noticed not just one, but two younger women shopping in their pajamas.
I consider myself pretty open-minded and absolutely nothing a teenager chooses to wear in public is apt to surprise me, but these women were at least in their thirties or early forties and I found their attire to be a tad off-putting.
I still see teenage boys from time to time with their pants buckled below their butt cheeks, showing off their underwear and I recall a time back in the 90s when teen girls went through a fashion phase of wearing boy’s boxer shorts underwear as outerwear but I write that off as part of the normal reaction to the angst of being a teenager. Most of them grow out of it.
I will also admit that, from time to time, I am guilty of running to the mailbox in my PJs. Joe Brown, much to my chagrin, has even caught me in my long johns a time or two. However, I always look up and down the road and turn my better ear (I don’t have a good one) in both directions to see if I can hear a vehicle approaching in the distance before running the mail box gauntlet.
I do not do it to be seen and, in fact, I try hard not to be seen even though I am not horribly embarrassed when I do get caught. Which is to say that I am not ashamed to go out in public for fear of encountering someone who had caught me in my pajamas or long johns. Loretta might be embarrassed because of me, but she usually gets over it pretty quickly. And both of us have been guilty of answering the door in our sleepwear and even having a cup of coffee with morning visitors, still decked out in our PJs, with someone who showed up at the house before we were properly dressed. At least two sister-in-law have seen in my long johns and none of us died of embarrassment.
But shopping in your pajamas and acting like you’re well dressed? Maybe I am becoming an over-sensitive prude in my old age because it simply does not feel right and, in fact, makes me feel just a smidgen uncomfortable. On the other hand it is no more embarrassing than seeing an old man on the beach with no behind and no musculature to speak of and belly fat from where abs might once have been flopped down over the front of his black, tight Speedos. Some of us simply can’t pull that off anymore which is not to suggest that I ever could.
Nor do I mean to suggest that everything that is in fashion ought to be. If I were a high school principal and one of my female students showed up for classes in one of those see through dresses these young girls wear on shows like The Voice and American Idol, I’d loan her a raincoat and send her home to put on something decent. A lot of this latest trend in women’s fashion seems to be a game of Am I wearing underwear? Some of the kids competing on the talent contests apparently aren’t, or at least there’s not much of it if they are.
In the meantime wearing pajamas to do your grocery shopping does little to support the notion that you need to dress up better when you shop at Walmart than you do when you go to Big Lots.
Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at [email protected] or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.