“Mum,” I said to my mum over dinner, “can I start sleeping naked?”
I was 12. Up until that point I had been wearing the same glow-in-the-dark Super Mario Bros. pyjamas since the age of about six. I hadn’t ever considered wearing anything else in bed, and wasn’t even aware of the concept of sleeping naked, which is why I was surprised when Robinson mentioned it.
I ploughed on with my reasons before she could answer:
1) I wanted to be more efficient.
I would have a bath most nights just before bed (these days, with my bad skin, I have a shower, but the principle is the same). Towelling off, drying my hair and getting straight into bed would be practical – see also getting up in the night to use the loo, and getting dressed in the mornings. It saved precious seconds.
2) My pyjamas were getting a bit old.
I’m very fond of wearing the same clothes for years on end (as I’ve mentioned before, I still have some of my clothes from my teens), and – fond though I was of my Mario pyjamas – they were beginning to wear a bit. I didn’t have any other pyjamas. Hypothetically, I could have just asked for more, but I didn’t think that f ahead.
3) This was a totally new concept to me…
…and I can’t leave anything that new alone.
But there’s another reason. I was going to a walking weekend with Woodcraft soon afterwards and I was only planning to take one item: a map of the area (or any area, I wasn’t actually going to use it) with the lyrics to the Pinky and the Brain theme tune hand-written on the back. You know, this one:
When Robinson pointed out that I’d at least have to take nightwear with me, I waivered a bit, until he added, “or are you going to be sleeping naked?”.
4) I wanted to sleep naked at the Woodcraft walking weekend.
So I didn’t need to take anything other than the map-and-Pinky-and-the-Brain-lyrics combo. It only occurred to me later on that I would also need to take a couple of changes of clothes, a warm jumper, a raincoat, a pair of sturdy walking boots, a water bottle and a backpack to carry it all in.
My mother predictably said no to this. When the first day ended up being 22 miles, including through a dark forest, as opposed to the 15 they first mentioned, I was actually quite fond of my warm jumper and raincoat.
5) I was genuinely really lazy.
Okay, there are other reasons.
A couple of years later I would start to notice my body changing. The body heat you generate from sleeping naked is more noticeable than that which you do in pyjamas, so I found myself sleeping warmer. Until the age of about 16, I slept with my head under the covers too (so that my attackers wouldn’t notice me), and that was bare, so it was much easier to co-ordinate.
At the age of 17, I started having sex, and obviously then wearing anything else was completely out of the question. At university, it was much easier to have a morning orgasm (or one later in the day…) if I wasn’t wearing anything to begin with.
But at 12, I didn’t think of any of this. I just had the idea, so I asked my mother over dinner.
So I slept naked. I started that night and have done so almost every night since. Two years later, my parents bought me a new pair of pyjamas for Christmas (which I still wear now, for staying at others’ places or at camp or pyjama day at work – they never get any other action!), and then a few years ago a Mario onesie (as a kind of nostalgia effort, perhaps?).
If it’s really cold, of course, I’ll wear my Mario pants.