Welcome to The 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay, a special holiday edition of a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Check back tomorrow for our next seasonal installment. As always, please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
I'm home for the holidays, and loungewear has started to make things a little tense here. My dad believes that itz not OK to wear PJ bottoms/sweats/yoga pants with a regular, non-PJ shirt in the house. He just has a thing about anyone wearing PJ pants and say, a sweater or a striped long-sleeved tee on top, even if we're just relaxing at home, not planning to leave this home dressed this way, and we're not expecting any guests at the time. It should be noted it's not even an aesthetic thing. He's fine with a head-to-toe lazy look, even if the PJ top and bottom don't belong to the same set, just as long as they're both PJs. This is driving us insane. We'd like to sit on our mismatched, unfashionable asses and drink hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies without my dad getting all Joan Rivers on us. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Have you ever heard Perry Como croon, "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays" and thought, "What does he mean by that?" I'll tell you what he means by that: Everyone's home is a remote pariah state governed by a uniquely psychotic dictator with no concern for logic, human rights, or installing Internet that operates at a reasonable speed (though they will often spring for every single movie channel, including Encore Español Suspense). My grandmother has a rule that coats, pocketbooks, parcels, shoes—really any inanimate object you bring into the house—must be stored in the front closet immediately upon crossing the threshold so as not to contribute to a general atmosphere of "clutter." She enforces this rule with ruthless efficiency; even as she is enveloping you in a warm "Welcome home!" hug, she is gently informing the hair on the side of your head that "Your suitcase can go in the front closet." What am I going to say to Nana? "No"? She cooked twice-baked potatoes because she knows they're my favorite!
The rulers of these secluded autocracies (grandparents; parents; wealthy siblings) don't care that their frivolous and absurd directives will forever prevent their entry into the United Nations. They don't need to care. Every year, without fail, hosts of weary expats return home to their native islands, subjecting themselves once again to their preposterous Wonderland laws, because that is the price one pays for family time.
Is "FUCK YOU, DAD. I WANT TO WEAR A GAP SWEATER AND SUPERMAN PJ PANTS" really the hill you want to die on? Unless you are physically incapacitated in some way, there is no earthly reason for you to put up a fuss over what is a weird and arbitrary but ultimately harmless rule. Yes, it's funny that your father's idea of appropriate adult attire is a style favored by Bananas in Pajamas, but people pants don't hurt to put on. You will not score a victory by social justice for protesting the daytime dress code at Daddy's House of Style.
The reason people feel dismayed when shops put up Christmas displays the after Halloween is because holidays are only special if you keep them in their proper calendric zones. Maybe your dad is trying to do the same thing with pajama pants. (He's trying to keep the Christ in Christmas in pajamas.) Maybe it just drives him nuts that his family constantly looks like they have just broken out of a mental institution and dressed themselves in a random assortment of garments stolen off a clothesline before scampering into a nearby shopping plaza for cover.
The dad in The Sound of Music Live!, a mystery-thriller starring Carrie Underwood that recently aired on NBC for 16 hours, intimidated his family using military discipline. Some parents disown their children for being gay. Your father requesting that you not wear a polo top with polka dot satin shorts doesn't make him Hitler (an offscreen villain in The Sound of Music Live!). It doesn't even make him a kind of bad guy.
(By the way, I have recently come into a pair of pajamas myself and I must say: a pajama set is truly darling. Every night when I put on my pajama suit, I feel like a businessman headed off to work in a dream. The only reason I change out of it during the day is so that I can have the joy of putting it back on later that night.)
For four days a year, in exchange for free room, board, paternal affection, don't mix fashion genres. And always buy your pops a pajama set for Christmas. It's a great gift.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Art by Jim Cooke. Previously in 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay: 12 Bucks for Jim Fucking Beam; 11th Hour Bonus; 10 Dollars, Split Three Ways; 9 Christians Fretting; 86ing Grown-Up Christmas Cards; 7-ty Degrees Farenheit; 6 Times a Troll; 5 Gold Rings; and 4-Door Mid-Priced Sedan-Level Friend.