Question: Is it appropriate to wear pajamas to the dinner table?

A few weeks ago, I bought my first pair of adult pajamas. That doesn’t sound good. I meant my first pair as an adult.

The pajamas are blue and gray. They are made from cotton and are comfortable in the way that only pajamas can be. The pajamas are stylish and could pass for business casual.

It’s easy to forget about pajamas. At least until you have grandchildren. Then you remember.

No one can look that cute again. No one can be that comfortable again. Nothing can make you want to snuggle up, light a fire and read “Goodnight Moon” like a toddler in pajamas with feet.

Before I bought the pajamas, I picked them up, put them down and picked them up again. Were they me? Could I cross not one, but two cultural divides?

I’m a grown man. Do grown men wear pajamas? Do you have to be in a home to wear pajamas, not your home, but another home, the home your children so thoughtfully picked out for you?

“I bought a pair of pajamas today,” I said when I got home, the home we picked out.

The statement was less triumphant than cautionary. I was floating a pajama balloon as in, does a grown man, a married man, father of four and grandfather of three wear pajamas?

“I think you’ll like them,” Sue said.

Hers was a solid, maybe. She thought I would like them but gave little indication whether she might like them too.

Without straying into the needlessly personal, the pajamas were not meant to be the sleeping kind. The in-bed, underneath-the-covers sort. They were intended to shore up the sweatpants/long-sleeves shirt combo that do much of the heavy lifting in cooler weather (if you are not inclined to join the pajama party, buy the heavenly Pima, traditional fit long-sleeved henley from L.L. Bean).

If the pajamas were to work, they would have to be versatile. Ready to wear first thing in the morning and after work at night.

Therein lies the problem: If you put them on after work, can you wear them to dinner even if the dinner is relaxed and at home?

A friend told me a relative wore pajama bottoms (and a less than gently used T-shirt) to a nice, home-cooked, candlelit, complete-with-crystal dinner. His popularity did not enjoy an upward spike.

Given his cautionary tale, I decided to approach dinner carefully. On the second night, rather than wearing both the bottoms and tops, I mixed and matched, the gray pajama bottoms with the soft, white Pima cotton shirt.

The idea was to go low-impact. Distract dinner companions with the white shirt so as to introduce the bottoms without calling attention to them.

I haven’t tried the full ensemble at dinner yet nor have I worn them to a dinner that included good friends. That seems like something that should be discussed before the dinner: “Feel free to wear pajamas. I’m going to.”

I’m wearing, and not wearing the blue and gray pajamas. I look at them hanging on the hook and then I usually choose the sweatpants. Their best shot may be a sleepover with grandchildren, a fire and a book.

Goodnight moon, goodnight papa.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or (661) 395-7279.

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