I was watching How I Met Your Mother the other day and they did a joke about Marshall’s “underpants radius.” Ted explained that, “Everyone’s got an underpants radius. For most of us, it’s the distance from the bedroom to the bathroom, but as your self-esteem gets smaller, your underpants radius gets bigger.” Apparently, as Marshall’s unemployment dragged out, his underpants radius increased to laying on the couch, to getting the newspaper, and eventually to going to a restaurant in his underpants.
That got me thinking about my pajama radius.
I live in an apartment building. I also live alone. It used to be that I wore nothing more than underpants between my bedroom and my bathroom, but I covered up to walk to another part of the apartment. Occasionally, as I was getting ready for bed I’d realize I’d forgotten my book or something in the living room. I sleep naked. I used to cover up to get the book, but after a while I just covered my breasts with my arms and ran in, keeping the lights off. Eventually I didn’t bother to cover up or run, but I kept the lights off. Then I’d need to get something in the kitchen after my morning shower but before I’d gotten dressed, and I’d just walk in naked, even during the day. Even with the shades up. But hey, this was all in my apartment and it was my body so it was ok, right? It was also when I was feeling fairly healthy.
A funny thing happened when I got sicker, though. I began to spend a lot of time in my pajamas. They started to feel like “real” clothes. It used to be that when someone came to my door and I was in pjs, I’d throw on a bathrobe or a sweatshirt before I’d answer their knock. Now I don’t bother. Then I started wearing pajama bottoms to take out the trash in the evening. As I felt even worse, I’d just wear full pajamas to take out the trash. At some point, wearing pajamas to check the mail in the lobby seemed ok. I began to have visitors while I was in my pjs. And then last week, I found myself wearing my pajamas as I walked my friend to her car across the street so that I could get back my parking pass.
When did this happen? I know it’s been in the last few years that my pajama radius has spread. It seems to come from two health-related things: quality and quantity. Sure, as my health gets worse I wear my pjs more. But also, the longer this goes on, the less I care. There are more important things in life to worry about than whether a neighbor sees me in my pjs. I don’t care if a neighbor sees my hair messed up or my boobs swinging freely under a pajama top. If I let them see me when my insides feel like crap, why should I care if my outsides look like crap, too? Society says I should care, but society averages towards feeling healthy. I do not.
I suppose the only question is, does this matter? I’m guessing it does. But I just don’t care.