A heated debate has erupted in Gisborne over whether pyjamas should be banned from being worn in public.
The trend of wearing nightwear to the supermarket, cash machine or around the CBD has become more popular recently, annoying some locals who say it shows a lack of self-respect and lowers the town’s appeal.
Heart of Gisborne manager Ken Huberts said some businesses were accepting of the trend because they couldn’t do anything to stop it, while others were “disturbed” by it.
Some had told him it wasn’t a “good look” for Gisborne.
“From an outsider’s perspective I guess sometimes it can be seen as people not having the right attitude.
“It’s just a little bit of self-respect and some of the argument is that some people have just lost that thought and consider the supermarket and main stretch like their backyard.”
Mr Huberts said there were not huge numbers of people wearing their pyjamas in public, but there were enough for it to be noticeable.
Gisborne deputy mayor Nona Aston said in her view it wasn’t the council’s place to create a bylaw forbidding sleeping clothes outside of the home.
“I think it’s more than just the pyjamas, it’s people judging people, and I don’t think it’s a council thing,” she told the Herald.
PJs were the preferred shopping attire of the ultimate slacker, The Dude, as played by Jeff Bridges in the cult film The Big Lebowski.
Mrs Aston personally doesn’t have an issue with the trend.
“Pyjamas have become a fashionable thing … I can remember when mini-skirts came in and there was a huge furore because people could see their legs,” Mrs Aston said. “They’re probably more covered up in pyjamas.”
She had recently judged a high school debate about the topic – the side arguing for pyjamas to be banned won.
The owner of Aberdeen Superette, Alka Mehta, said it “didn’t look good” but there was nothing they could do or say because they would lose business.
Sometimes people went into Mrs Mehta’s store about 11.30am wearing pyjamas – a few offered excuses that they were running late and that’s why they hadn’t changed.
The issue is a popular debate in the letters section of the Gisborne Herald, with the authors being split into two camps – those who sign off with “No more PJs” or “Love my PJs”.
“In my opinion it’s lazy and totally disgusting. Surely you ladies have pants or a dress to put on? I have even seen a lady in a nightgown at the shops!” said an anonymous comment on the newspaper’s website.
Gisborne mayor Meng Foon said as long as people were clean, he didn’t mind what they wore. Some people wore “hardly anything”, like bikinis, while shopping in the town.
“Pyjamas nowadays come in many forms like tracksuit pants to shirt singlets. If people wash and wear these modern type of sleepwear that would be better. Washing is more important than what people wear.”
By Amelia Wade
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