The Cult Of The Onesie

Brit boys in their onesies: pic by Mangaka Maiden

Suddenly everything’s coming up ‘onesies’, or as I prefer to call them, romper suits. The last time I wore something like that, it was in baby blue flannelette and I was crawling around on the floor looking for something to put in my mouth.

And no, that wasn’t last Saturday in a backroom bar, it was sometime around 1952 in a freezing cold terraced house in Accrington Lancashire. Dad had to keep an eagle eye out to make sure I didn’t crawl into the front room, where there was known to be dry rot in the floorboards.

However, I digress.

On my way home from the theatre on Saturday night, I was astonished to see a gentleman of middle years strolling through downtown Melbourne dressed in a kangaroo-style baby’s playsuit. Why?

This is only the second time I have seen grown-up humans dressed this way in public: there were a few of them drifting around Midsumma carnival, where their all-enveloping toddler costumes made an interesting contrast to the minimal and decidedly adult outfits on display elsewhere.

Those  boys were barely out of their teens, as far as I could tell. We all wear dumb outfits in our teens: one of my finest was a pair of purple corduroy loon flares embroidered with butterflies, teamed with a blue velvet bomber jacket sporting a white fur collar and trim. As I said, I was young.

But this tubby bespectacled kangaroo nonchalantly strolling down King St at 11pm was 45 if he was a day.

Late night. King St. Alone. In a romper suit.

A few short months ago I would have assumed he had escaped from some nearby secure facility, to which he would in due course be politely but firmly returned.

But now, I am reliably informed, it is quite the done thing to turn up at a bar or party in grossly ill-fitting one-piece animal-themed pyjamas (with butt flap).  “Baggy” doesn’t even begin to describe it. It is about as far from ‘raunch culture’ as you could possibly get.

And that, perhaps, is the point.

Instead of chiselled hair, spray-on muscle T’s, plunging V-necks, waxed pecs, and ugly insectile midriffs (what IS this ab-surd fetish?), these boys bag themselves in fleece, the most unsexual garment since the burka, and just have fun, safe inside their jim-jams.

Instead of preening, strutting and swaggering.  Much more relaxing.

Maybe I should buy one.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)