October 21, 2014

Ladies' pajamas and a sensitive question

ONE QUESTION that you don’t often hear is: What pajamas should a  lady wear while cruising on a boat?

It only got asked once in my lifetime. My wife asked it.

I said immediately, “Babydoll pajamas, of course. Pretty pink ones.” It occurred to me that I would appreciate a bit of help pulling up the anchor, and a lady in  babydoll pajamas in the cockpit might attract some male brutes from nearby yachts.

But such was not to be. My wife led me to believe that she was never going to appear in public in pink babydoll pajamas and what’s more what kind of a man was I even to suggest such a thing?

“I am a sailorman,” I explained. “Sailormen like babydoll pajamas, specially pink ones.”

“Dream on,” she said, and never mentioned the subject again.

I have since consulted Wikipedia to ascertain why the love of my life was so put off by the suggestion of babydoll pajamas. According to Wiki, “A babydoll is a short, sometimes sleeveless, loose-fitting nightgown or negligée intended as nightwear for women.”

I’m no expert on haute couture, admittedly, but that sounds perfectly harmless to me. In the event, she made a small compromise. She appeared on board in conventional pajamas — long sleeves and full-length pants — but they were pink.

And yet she was mortified when, after a four-day passage at sea, we arrived in port in the middle of the night and she was called from her bunk to help with mooring. A berthing gang of men was standing by on the quay in case we needed help. “Oh!” said June, taken aback.

“What?” I said.

“We’ve just arrived safely at our first port in our own yacht. And I’m wearing pink pajamas and an orange anorak. So chic!”

Men don’t have the same concerns about haute-couture faux pas, of course, and we couldn’t care less about upsetting the finer feelings of a stubble-chinned bunch of longshoremen. In the tropics my pajamas are invariably loose athletic shorts. Around here in the Pacific Northwest a cozy track suit works well. I can go straight from my bunk to the foredeck to check the anchor rode and not have to worry about the fashion police arresting me because my top doesn’t match my pants.

I guess men are lucky. In most ways, it’s very nice to be a sailorman, even in the lamentable absence of pink babydoll pajamas.

Today’s Thought
I remember seeing a movie with Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney where they were husband and wife, and they got in bed, and he had on polka-dot pajamas and she had on striped pajamas, and when they got up the next morning he had on the striped pajamas and she had the polka dot pajamas, and that was considered racy at that time!
— Bob Newhart

Little Mary woke at 2 a.m., called for a glass of water, and demanded to be told a fairy story.
“Hush, sweetheart,” said her mother, “your father will be home soon. He’ll tell us both one.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Jack said...

So I guess we won't see " pink babydoll pyjamas" in West Marine's catalogue any time soon, even with an endorsement from you JV ? Shame,I'll have to re-think SHMBO's Xmas gift now.

John Vigor said...

No, Jack, I certainly haven't see any babydolls advertised by West Marine. They may well be missing out on something, though. Maybe they should team up with Victoria's Secret and create a line of nautical ladies' sleepwear.


John V.

57 degrees North said...

How about Dutch Harbor Gear brand polar fleece bottoms and a Sitka Sound Seafoods sweatshirt? Neither classy nor alluring, but pretty darn practical just the same. Plus, if you and your mate end up swapping PJ's in the dark, who's to know?

Not like this one time when I was in Costa Rica and... Ummm...

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

What are "pajamas"?

John Vigor said...

Doc Haagen-Dazs, it's the correct American spelling of what the Brits call pyjamas. But I suspect from your query that you've never bothered with either. Good idea.

John V.