As a fierce defender of our civil liberties, Alf finds himself siding with the PJ brigade in sunny Gisborne.
He firmly believes he should not have to take sides, but his hand has been forced by talk of sartorial discrimination.
The NZ Herald today tells us (here) that a heated debate has erupted in Gisborne over proposals to ban pyjamas 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.”
If a majority of people in Gisborne were to wear their PJs in public, of course, there would be no problem, although the PJ wearers might want a ban slapped on those who were not wearing their PJs in public.
For now, however, the PJ wearers seem to be in a small minority.
Mr Huberts said there were not huge numbers of people wearing their pyjamas in public, but there were enough for it to be noticeable.
We are treated to a common-sense approach by the deputy mayor Nona Aston.
In her view it isn’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.
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.”
Mayor Meng Foon said as long as people are clean, he doesn’t much care what they wear.
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.”
Letters to the editor of the Gisborne Herald are split into two camps – those who sign off with “No more PJs” or “Love my PJs”.
Alf agrees with Mark Twain, who once said, “Clothes make the man.”
In other words, what you wear will influence what people think of you.
Your clobber can reflect your profession and social status, or reflect your values and beliefs, or enable you to express your personality and create your personal image.
But what you wear will determine what people think of you, too.
Alf used to think Mahatma Gandhi must be short of money, because he was often pictured wearing nothing more than a loin-cloth.
It transpires, of course, that he adopted that mode of dress as a mark of his identification with India’s poor.
The PJ-wearing people of Gisborne no doubt have adopted that mode of dress because their town is such a sleepy hollow.