Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where We Try to Sort Out the Whole Pajama Situation - And Today's Correspondent Gives It Up On the Fashion Tip

I don't understand why so many writers here are insulted by the pajama-wearing student, as if this symbolizes all that is wrong with higher education. Honestly, I don't see why it's such a big deal. First of all, they aren't really pajamas. Pajamas are too lightweight, and (for guys anyway) have the little slit in the crotch that precludes wearing them in public.

What you are all reacting so violently to is what I call "cozy pants," the flannel baggy pants that I put on the minute I get home. So I don't teach in my cozy pants. That's because I'm the teacher. When I was a student--and I was a good student, otherwise I wouldn't now be teaching at a research university--I, too, would roll out of bed, wash face, brush teeth, pull hair back into a ponytail and put on cozy pants and a T-shirt and run to class. I didn't think that how I dressed made any difference to the dude in front of the class who was himself wearing pants circa 1972 and a moth-eaten sweater or the woman whose bizarre collection of animal prints, gigantic faux African jewelry, and halitosis gave me a headache.

I was in college to learn, and I was up til the wee hours studying and trying to get just enough sleep before class that I could pay attention to what was going on. Hence the cozy pants. The well-dressed students were usually the ones who cared about being well-dressed and not about what was actually happening in the classroom. As a teacher I see this holds true today. There is little correlation between who is wearing cozy pants and who is doing good work. If anything, it's the students who look a little rough who do the better work. These cozy pants expose nothing that needs to be censored, unlike many of the other ensembles the students wear, and they keep the students comfy and help them get to class on time, so why on earth is everyone here at RYS so worried about whether or not the student is wearing cozy pants or not?

And please, every one of you, look at what you are wearing. Are you over forty and wearing a miniskirt? Are you wearing lycra/poly turtlenecks over pleated pants? You are, aren't you? Everyone here should 1) relax about the cozy pants. 2) watch What Not to Wear on TLC and think about what image their own disastrous outfits are projecting to the cozy-panted student body.