The Best of Andy Rooney

It isn't anything I want to think a lot about, but for some reason I woke up in the middle of last night and got wondering why men wear pants and women wear skirts. I guess I was thinking about clothing because of all the talk about what Kate was wearing when she married Prince William.

These days, women wear pants all the time, but that probably wouldn't go over in Westminster Abbey. Men never wear skirts, except if you're a Scotsman. I guess you saw a few kilts at the Royal Wedding. I don't have a skirt in my closet, but every woman I know has several pairs of pants in her closet. In many ways, skirts are more practical than pants.

Nightgowns make more sense than pajamas, though I haven't noticed any trend toward men wearing nightgowns. Prince William might wear a nightshirt.

It may be just the word "gown" that keeps men in pajamas. "Nightgown" sounds more feminine then masculine. "Pajama" can go either way but tends to sound more masculine. I got to thinking about what an unusual word it is, so I looked up "pajama" in the dictionary. The word was originally spelled "pyjama," meaning "foot garment" in Hindi, and was incorporated into English when India was a British colony. (The slang word "jammies" has become popular but my dictionary doesn't mention it. Maybe I have an old dictionary.)

There are other differences between men's and women's attire.

Our shoes are very different. Most men couldn't walk a block in a pair of women's high-heeled shoes. I don't think most women want to seem taller than they really are, so why do they wear high heels? (I might get myself a pair so I could be almost 6 feet tall.) Kate was on her feet for a long time on her wedding day. I hope she wore something sensible.

Men and women both wear hats less often than they used to. Hats have always seemed ridiculous to me. I hear Kate Middleton wears lots of fancy hats with feathers and lace. She could start a new fashion trend. Other than baseball caps, men's hats have gone out of style, and I don't think they'll be back. Prince William has to go to a lot of ceremonial events, so he probably wears a lot of hats.

You may think of women's hats as silly, but what about the time men wore fedoras? My father wore one all his life. I doubt he even thought about it; men just wore hats years ago. I can't remember the last time I saw a man wearing a fedora.

Queen Elizabeth wears a lot of hats. I'm sure she doesn't wear pants.

By the way, where was my invitation to the Royal Wedding? I heard about the 22-page guide on etiquette and dress for the big day. I was going through my closet looking for a "lounge suit" or a "morning coat." I just stayed home, wore my jammies and watched the whole thing on television.

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