In praise of dressing gowns
David Mitchell was recently lampooned on one of his many panel shows for admitting to having not one, but two dressing gowns. But how eminently sensible! Of course you need two. You need one great big bulky all-enveloping cocoon to enhance your mooching-about pleasure while at home, but it would be absurd to have to cart this garment about with you. For carting-about purposes you need an altogether sleeker affair, equally at home in a hotel corridor (should you be unfortunate enough to have a room without an en-suite or fortunate enough to have an assignation in someone else’s room) or the breakfast table at your rellies’ house if you lost out in the queue for the bathroom.
But do not confuse need for a dressing gown with pathological attachment to a dressing gown – a condition many new mothers will admit to suffering. Though there are sometimes good reasons for it – no opportunity to shower or dress, and frankly why bother when the posseting sponges out of the dear old DG so nicely – such a condition can get out of hand.
For proof of this, just look at the starring role a dressing gown has in J. Lee Thompson’s 1957 British film, Woman in a Dressing Gown. Worn by Yvonne Mitchell (is she related to David Mitchell? Does this explain a shared passion for the DG?), it is the symbol of her unacknowledged depression and the focus of her errant husband’s scorn and despair. I am not in the business of plot spoilers, so you’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out if the DG wins out over the nubile colleague in the end.
Finally, I must pay tribute to my own DG. Neck to ankle Dellarobbia blue fleece, it’s cool in summer and warm in winter. I must stress that I do not wear mine all day long, and this no doubt explains why it’s 20 years old and still going strong, though a slight thinning of the fabric round the elbows hints at its mortality. It will be a dark day (well, evening and early morning) when I eventually have to replace it. Should I ever be forced to flee my home at a moment’s notice, it’s the first thing I’ll reach for. It is the desert island garment. Out of it I would be able to fashion a pillow, a tent, a windbreak, and a sack in which to carry the tubers, nuts and seeds I have foraged. I could even improvise a slingshot out of the belt!