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Claire Thinking
Pajama Dance

Why aren't all pants made like pajama pants? And why can't I wear them all the time?

They're comfortable, they contain zero spandex, and the baggier they are, the better they look. They have no buttons to dig into my belly, and no zippers to have to fight. The soft flannel, elastic back, and drawstring closure form the perfect combination for comfort.

I'd wear them to work if I could.

I do wear them for exercise. I can bend, stretch and sweat to my hearts content without restriction or friction. I can get right out of bed and start working out without having to change.

I can come straight home from work and put my pajamas on, knowing that I'm ready to exercise - or go to bed. Whatever I feel like doing.

Generally I confine my pajama exercising to the house. Pajamas as a rule are for wearing indoors only - with the exception of taking out the garbage or picking up the newspaper. But last week I decided I was wearing my jammie bottoms to my bellydancing class.

I was pretty confident that my pajamas would be perfect for the gyrating and bumping that we would be doing in class. People wear strange things to class anyway. I was going straight there and back. No one else would see me. What could it hurt?

I picked my favorite red flannels with the snowman design, pulled on a black tank and my winter coat, hopped in the car, and off I went.

That's when I noticed that little light on my dash. You know the one that looks like a gas pump and lets you know that you are running on fumes? Oh, great!

I was going to have to get out of my car - in public - in my red pajamas - to pump gas. This was not part of my plan.

I debated skipping class and just going back home. Maybe there was enough gas to get me to work in the morning if I turned around. But I wasn't sure if that was true, and I didn't want to miss class so I started looking for a deserted gas station - one where I could pump my gas without attracting any attention.

I found a station with a remote pump, swiped my credit card, and filled my tank while hiding between my car and the stacked windshield washer fluid display. I soon was back on my way, my red flannel once again out of sight

I made it to class a little early and sat wrapped in my coat watching the intermediate class work out. More than 20 women of various ages and shapes were shimmying and dancing across the floor, bellies flashing above vibrant colored, flowing pants and skirts. I was going to fit right in with my big red snowman pants and turquoise blue jingle scarf.

A woman from my class was sitting beside me also waiting for our bellydance session to begin. She was speaking with her friend, who was trying to convince her to go out to a local bar after class.

"How can I go out in what I'm wearing?" (Stretchy purple pants)

"You look fine," assured her friend.

"No I don't. I look like I'm wearing clown pants!"

Then they looked at me.

"Would you tell her she doesn't look like she's wearing clown pants?" the friend asked.

I looked back and forth between their expectant faces and slowly shook my head and smiled. They hadn't noticed what I was wearing. Without a word I stood up and took off my coat, revealing my big, baggy, red flannel, snowman pajama pants.

The three of us dissolved into weeping, snorting fits of laughter that would re-erupt throughout our lesson whenever we would catch each other's eyes.

Our instructor was mystified at our mirth, but managed to get us through our hour of hip rolls, bumps and drops.

My clown pants and I made it home that night without further incident. They were very comfortable for dancing, but I have to admit they were a bit of a distraction - which is hard to imagine considering the number of middle-aged wiggling naked bellies in the room.

This week I wore yoga pants instead. Just because I'm comfortable exercising in them, doesn't mean the world is ready to see my snowman jammies shimmying across the floor. And "clown" isn't exactly the image I was hoping to evoke while bellydancing.

So, I've decided that from now on I'm going to confine my pajama outings to my own yard where they are more accepted. Believe me, my flannels are pretty conservative compared to the sleepwear my neighbors flash while retrieving the Sunday paper.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on my dancing rather than my wardrobe. My hope is that any future distractions I create will be because of my mesmerizing shimmying hips, not because of what's covering them.


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