Barring this past week’s cold spell, temperatures are slowly beginning to rise here in Shanghai and with that, the amount of people we see walking outside in pajamas have invariably increased as well. But if one Shanghainese bureaucrat has her way, then Public Displays of Pajamas (or PDoP for short) might soon become a thing of the past.
The Montreal Gazette reported that Guo Xilin and other members of Shanghai’s Rixin district’s local neighborhood committee have started a “No Pajamas Outdoors” campaign… which makes us wonder what the big huff about PDoP is all about.
Today, most PDoPers do the deed out of comfort, but historically, it may have arose out of class consciousness. Wearing pajamas to bed meant that you had enough money to buy clothes for sleeping. Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was high time to show off sleeping clothes to the neighbors… and PDoP was born.
Now, the view on PDoP isn’t so favorable: women practicing PDoP was listed as the “most uncivilized” behavior according to a 2007 poll for the Shanghai Women’s Federation and the Rixin neighborhood committee has declared PDoF a “visual pollution”.
Guo told the Montreal Gazette:
“We’re telling people not to wear pyjamas in the street because it looks very uncivilized. People tend to wear them everywhere, to cinemas, hospitals and supermarkets. I tell them, no matter how beautiful your pyjamas are, you should only wear them at home.”
Her pleas to keep the streets pajama-less have not always gone over well:
Guo tells how she ran into resistance trying to shame one man out of his pyjamas. “He told me, ‘My pyjamas were bought abroad and they are much better and more expensive than your clothes’.”
Guo, aged 60-plus, was not to be deterred. “I talked to him several more times and persuaded him to wear his pyjamas only at home. I told him we are preparing the Shanghai Expo (in 2010) and many foreigners will come here.
“It’s inappropriate to let them see you in your pyjamas.”
So despite the beauty and expensiveness of pajamas, it seems that the trends are dictating that PDoPs should be erased from the streets of Shanghai. But oh, what a sad day that would be! We are praying to the sleepwear gods that a counter-campaign of throngs of middle-aged pajama-clad local men will peacefully march the streets of the Rixin neighborhood in protest.
Photo from dbmboise