Not to get too cocky about it, but I'd go up against anyone in a race to change from work clothes into sweatpants at the end of the day. I'm so speedy in my mission to strip off the jeans, blouse, and blazer I typically wear in favor of a spandex-and-cotton combination that I truly impress myself. It's a feat. If you set a timer from the moment I pull my car into the garage to the moment I'm in my bedroom wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt, I imagine that most days, the clock would land at somewhere around 75 seconds. Maybe 90 if there's a bathroom stop.
This is, of course, a skill established and honed over time.
In grade school and high school, it didn't really occur to me to change when I got home. Maybe I was distracted by all the teen *drama* going on, or maybe it wasn't an issue since I usually came home wearing the practice clothes or uniform for whatever sport was in season. Or, most likely, I was just in a hurry to sit down at my family's shared computer to sign into AIM. Who had time to get comfortable when there was a crush's away message to check? Oh, and the college years, those don't even count because we lived, like, 80 percent of our lives wearing what I'd call Strategically Cute but Comfortable Clothes anyway.
A pattern emerged: the tougher the workday, the quicker the transition.
That brings me to my early 20s, which is when my talent really began to blossom. It's as if I needed to transition from workday to personal life with a literal shedding of my office attire. A pattern emerged: the tougher the workday, the quicker the transition. From the beginning, though, I became adept at knowing when it was appropriate to exercise my skill. I lived with my now-husband, and I quickly learned that if I looked particularly cute one day, I could strategically delay the cute-outfit-to-sweatpants transition until he had a chance to see me looking my best. Years later, in fact, it would be him who identified my expertise.
"Nobody can change into sweatpants faster than you," he said one night after I'd immediately, and rather impressively, swapped my date-night dress for one of his baggy t-shirts and a pair of shorts. He was laughing. "I should honestly time you."
Until then, I hadn't been fully conscious of what I was doing, but I was intrigued: do other people do this too? This is definitely A Thing, right? Right? Yes. It absolutely is. When I mentioned my almost-daily habit to my coworkers, the vast majority said they do the same thing. "I change the second I get home," one said, adding, "Bra off instantly." Another joked, "Don't judge me, but my bra comes off in the car sometimes."
As a group, we agreed on several of the factors that go into it: whether or not we have plans (or think we could have plans) that night, how exhausting the day was, how "restricting" the day's clothes were — and, yep, whether or not a partner will be around to potentially see the cute outfit.
Turns out I may not be alone in my talent, but I'd still dare anyone to challenge me to a race.