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August 13, 2010

Pressing Social Problem of the Week....

Hat Anxiety:

Hector Ramirez sort of knows, from watching old movies, that men are supposed to take off their hats when indoors. But the 19-year-old Brown University student wears fedoras in class—with jeans—anyway.

"If I'm wearing a hat and it's part of my look, I don't think I should have to take it off," he says. On a recent trip to New York, an usher at a church had to remind him to take off his fedora. "I was wearing it all day and I guess I kind of just forgot I had it on."

Inspired by designer runway shows, celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and even, in some cases, old pictures of Frank Sinatra, more young men are going mad for hats. But the hat renaissance is creating a quandary for a generation of men and boys who grew up without learning hat-wearing etiquette from their fathers. Many are making up their own rules about when and where to take them off.

Civilization is a fragile construct. We are not sure it can withstand a new generation with an inflated sense of Hat Entitlement.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by Cassandra at August 13, 2010 11:10 AM

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Posted by: Cricket at August 13, 2010 12:10 PM

Of course the old rules still apply.

Now, there is a good point about checking your hat. Nobody knows how to handle them anymore. If you wear a hat to a restaurant, it's often best to store it under your chair while you eat.

Posted by: Grim at August 13, 2010 12:36 PM

That's another point. Boys not only have no knowledge of the rules, they also don't have the underlying structure that facillitates those rules. When I was growing up, there were little clips on the backs of pews to hold men's hats. There were hooks hanging from the sides of the backs of resturaunt booths. A myriad of little helps and reminders. I have a grandson who loves hats and wears them all the time. I've pretty much given up trying to teach him the old ways (of hat wearing, that is)

Posted by: Terentia at August 13, 2010 02:57 PM

Well, they are complicated. For example, according to Emily Post you should remove your hat clean off your head -- not just tip it -- when meeting a lady, but not if the lady is already your friend. However, if you pass her in the street, you should only tip your hat to a lady you know, not one you don't (i.e., the exact reverse of if you're stopping to talk to one). The exception is your wife, who receives the extra formality of hat-removal on both occasions.

Of course, Emily Post also believed that you should change clothes before dinner into proper attire, whether eating at home or going out. That's a custom that has entirely fallen by the wayside.

Posted by: Grim at August 13, 2010 04:15 PM

Grim, I think you may have over-simplified. Salutations. Remember, too, this is for civilians. Military head coverings are a different set of rules. The young ... they don't know how to tie their own bow tie, how can they be expected to manage a hat?

Posted by: htom at August 13, 2010 04:52 PM

The house rule at Festung Kleinrot:
A lady wearing a man's hat (like my cowboy hats) removes it indoors (just as a man does), but not when meeting another lady (unless it is the FLOTUS, Her Majesty the Queen et cetera.) A lady wearing a woman's hat follows women's rules (remove in choir, when going to the alter rail in some churches, or if asked to because the giant roses and bows are blocking someone's view).

Gentlemen remove their hats indoors, during the National Anthem or an invocation, or when introduced to an older woman. Or if asked to because they are blocking someone's view (generally not a problem).

Ballcaps are to be worn bill facing forwards. Unless you have on a welding mask or respirator, then you are excused. (N.B. This applies to either sex.)

Posted by: LittleRed1 at August 13, 2010 06:42 PM

Thank you, htom. It is not often I'm credited with simplification!

Posted by: Grim at August 13, 2010 08:30 PM

We can thank John Kennedy for this problem. Once upon a time, every man wore a hat and knew what to do with it.

In my opinion, every woman should wear a hat with a brim. They almost always look better with a hat than without.

By the way, the different branches of the military have different rules regarding hats.

Posted by: bob at August 14, 2010 10:29 AM

We lost them when we didn't show determined and unyielding reproach for the baseball caps, particularly worn backward. And then there's all the emphasis on the horribles of hat hair, too. If a boy or man does not understand that hats are removed indoors, and does not know that a quick run of his fingers through his hair can make him look no worse than fetchingly rumpled, he doesn't understand much.

Posted by: Everyman at August 14, 2010 02:26 PM

As long as the beret is not making a comeback....one could certainly learn to despise that thing - unless one is a member of the elite (seriously elite - Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces), people wearing berets should have to wear the one with tassels aft and the dingle ball on top....even if that makes it a tam o'shanter!!!

Fortunately they have not pushed the beret on O types in blues in the Army....yet. I have seen some enlisted troops in blues and berets, and I did have to ask a guy where he saw authorization to wear bloused boots in blues....

So cornfusilatin'......

Posted by: kbob in Katy at August 15, 2010 09:54 AM

Whenever I enter a building (other than an aircraft hangar), I remove my hat. Dining is no problem -- the hat perches upon my kneecap, size-side facing down. Ladies I pass on the sidewalk get the formal fingertips to the hatbrim, ladies who stop to chat get the full remove-hat-and-tuck-under-arm treatment.

You'd be surprised at the number of waves I get from across the street looking for that fingertips to the hatbrim thing...

Posted by: BillT at August 15, 2010 11:17 AM

I use the throat latch a lot indoors (hat pushed off head, hanging on my back.) I did the remove hat outdoors thing for years, gave up on it because it always seemed to be raining when I was taking it off. Never noticed anyone noticing my lifting my hat.

Have noticed any number of ladies, single and married, young and old, wanting to adjust my bow ties. (Most of the adjustments seem to be invisible to me, and I wonder if there's something else going on.)

Posted by: htom at August 15, 2010 12:12 PM

Women like to fuss over men. It is one of the signal pleasures of being female (fussing over you all, and watching you pretend not to like it) :p

Brushing imaginary lint off a broad male shoulder or lapel is eminently satisfying as well, though naturally a lady doesn't do this to just any old man.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 15, 2010 12:31 PM

...though naturally a lady doesn't do this to just any old man.


Posted by: BillT at August 15, 2010 01:20 PM

I would appreciate you actions, Bill. It would stand as a reminder that chivalry isn't completely dead yet. Although, I do seem to despair of finding it in someone whom is available and of an appropriate age for me, nevermind there being mutual interest.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 15, 2010 02:41 PM

... watching you pretend not to like it.

Ha. There is bit of pretending, I admit. ;) It's always heart-warming and appreciated to be noticed and fussed about by a friendly young lady, whether she's six, or ninety-six, or any age in between.

Posted by: htom at August 15, 2010 04:06 PM

I love the sartorial splendor of men in hats. Women too, for that matter. The first time a man doffed his hat to me I nearly fainted. I almost ran back (but at six months pregnant, one doesn't run, so much as one waddles) to see it again.

He made sure that all the men who professed to Have Manners saluted the ladies as such...and yanno, I just felt really special when he did that.

My mother assured me that was normal back in Her Day.

Posted by: Cricket at August 16, 2010 02:27 AM

I would appreciate you actions, Bill.

You may brush imaginary lint from my lapels any time, Miss L...

Posted by: BillT at August 16, 2010 09:31 AM

Thanks, Bill. *virtually brushes dust from the shoulders of flight suit*

But, you're being willing to let me do that still doesn't solve my other problem...

BTW, need more peanut brittle? Haven't made any in a while...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 16, 2010 11:46 AM

When I'm trying to pass for a civilian (e.g. when traveling without a battle buddy), I always wear a nondescript ball cap (to hide the haircut) and intentionally wear it even indoors. It requires a good deal of conscious effort not to remove it.

Posted by: Sig at August 20, 2010 01:00 AM