I still favour my trademark purple shellsuit trousers but have to say that pyjamas are coming a close second, and it is only a pity that one can’t go out in them. I was given a splendid pair of polka dot pyjamas for Christmas, but the ones I really feel connected to (it does take time, I find, to build a proper relationship with clothes) are my red and white flannel ones with tinsel threaded into the weave. I bought them at Peacocks in a post-Christmas sale, so they were reduced from £8 to £4, in other words cheap and fun, and I didn’t think (though I should perhaps have guessed) that one day they would occuply a significant place in the Signs sartorial repertoire.
I bought them in order to go on a cinema outing organised by a friend who was conducting an Artist’s Way group. We were to go dressed in pyjamas, preferably bringing a teddy bear with us. This was to give us connection with the inner child. Are you still here? So there I was in the car park at the back of the cinema somewhere in darkest east Sussex. I spotted one other person from the group looking miserable. He said he felt ridiculous and embarrassed, even though all he wore was loose jogging bottoms, and he had no teddy bear. I linked arms with him, which made it worse. He didn’t want to be seen with me in that get-up. We joined the others in a burger bar. They were dressed in their PJs and ordering chips and cola, but I sensed that nobody was feeling as comfortable in their clothes as I was. Years of practice I suppose, pyjama days having been a way of life for some years since getting M.E. It seemed a small step to go outside in them. The small teddy bear (a gift from my daughter) in my top pocket added a slightly delinquent touch and made me think of Courtney Love gone off the rails after the death of Kurt Cobain.
The film we saw was called Confetti. We ate popcorn, we laughed in the right places, it was good to have something other than ourselves to focus on. At the end we bustled out of the cinema looking like a group of people who had come dressed in pyjamas. The embarrassed one needn’t have been, no-one paid us any attention. I am not sure that anything changed in terms of the relationship with my inner child (it is actually my inner adult who is elusive), but the pyjamas became my preferred leisurewear. When I grow old I will not necessarily always be wearing purple.