The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a mental and spiritual Twilight Zone of sorts. Even in a normal, pre-pandemic year, I find myself mildly nauseated for the entire week, due to an excess of leftover holiday baked goods, alcohol, and existential crises, arising from both old-year regrets and bubbling anxiety over new-year goals.
My mental wanderings seem even more severe this year. The fact that 2020 seemed to simultaneously age me ten years, and fly by at lightning speed, has me questioning so many things – big and small. What life lessons did I learn from this chaotic year? How will post-pandemic life feel once we’ve reached a new normal? When oh when can I get that fucking vaccine stabbed into my fleshy upper arm?
But here’s one of the most nagging questions I find myself contemplating this dark and dreary last week of 2020: How in the hell did so many Moms get their partners to don matching holiday pajamas and pose for public photos in them?
How. The. Fuck? And may I also add- Just. Why?
Over the last five days, I’ve seen, at minimum, 25 posts of families grinning widely for all to see, decked out in these matching pajamas. I’ve been subjected to the red and black buffalo plaid, the Grinchs in Santa hats design, the frosty snowflake patterns, the polar bears, the Elf stripes, and the multi-colored tangled light strands. I even saw the matching pajamas WITH handknit stocking caps ensemble. I shit you not. Who the hell knew there were so many options for this bizarre family ritual?
And let me add that many of these pictures were not of families with cute little toddlers and kids under the age of ten. No, I’ve gazed upon families with kids in their late teens and early twenties – meaning these Dads are grizzled veterans who should by now be telling themselves that this shit is not endearing nor amusing. It’s just fucking weird.
The disturbing trend seems to have been gaining steam over the past several years, and I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it exploded this 2020 holiday season – the year that so many of us hunkered down, worked and schooled from home, and came to accept pajamas as not only sleepwear but leisurewear, workwear and essentially lifewear. No complaints there.
And perhaps the shitshow that was our lives this year not only relaxed our fashion standards but caused the Dads of North America to develop a slight case of Stockholm syndrome. For the unfamiliar, this is a psychological response that occurs when hostages bond with their captors over the course of days, weeks, or months of captivity.
This coping mechanism helps victims handle trauma, like being stuck in a house for months on end with crying babies, bratty children, and whining teenagers. I am thinking this has to be the reason that grown men willingly removed their comfy sweatpants and ratty t-shirts to step into giant, footed onesies and fleecy, button-fronted tops so that they would look like weirdly overgrown five-year-olds with facial stubble and shaggy toes.
I’m guessing they mustn’t have heard the details of the plan exactly. They likely had their Airpods shoved into the side holes of their heads, right? Or had already sucked down their fourth adult beverage of the evening when their wife smiled sweetly and handed them those garishly bright pieces of clothing. They obviously had reached peak mental fatigue and were simply going through the motions of “Yes, Dear,” as they finished up that email or momentarily glanced away from the football game or YouTube video they were engrossed in.
Here’s another guess.
Bribery was unquestionably part of the compromise. Tell us, you clever temptresses, what were the promises that were thrown out? What naughty things did you whisper in your partners’ ears to elicit such submissiveness? What chores or acts did you agree to perform? Inquiring minds need to know your secrets.
Because I am seriously in awe of this entire performative holiday phenomenon that my own loving husband would never in a gazillion years agree to.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it would require one of three things to be true in order for my spouse to partake in this creepy tableau:
- I would have had to slip him the mickiest of all the mickeys – a substance so mind-altering that I’d have no fucking idea where on earth to purchase it and by the time I got even remotely close to obtaining it, I’d have been arrested.
- I would have had to offer up the bribe of a damn lifetime. Something outrageous like porn star-level activities every night for the rest of my time on Earth, which we know isn’t happening.
- I would have had to threaten divorce, in which case he probably would have just agreed to in order to avoid the humiliating photos. Buh-bye, bitch! Just Photoshop me in.
So, rest assured good people of the interwebs, you will never, ever be subjected to seeing my bald, paunchy Dad-Bodded husband sporting candy-cane striped pajamas while you’re innocently watching Instagram stories or stalking high school ex-boyfriends on Facebook. Even if there’s a crazy sale at Old Navy or another pesky global pandemic.