Hang on to your Hat
No one will be writing a sonnet about my Easter bonnet. As a little girl I always felt my Easter outfit was incomplete without a hat, and every year I begged my mother to buy me one. Though she was a tough sell, she usually gave in to my badgering. Hat in hand, I would happily anticipate Easter Sunday. Only on Easter Sunday would I remember the idea of wearing a hat, and the actual wearing of said hat are two completely different things. I kept trying, though, and even took a few stabs at wearing an Easter hat as an adult. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I do not like to wear hats.
Lots of people do, though, and here it is hat season. Easter approaches, soon to be followed by Derby Day parties. Sunhats at the beach and baseball caps at the pool loom in the very near future. It makes me think of our first grandchild.
“Hat” was one of William’s very best words when he was learning to talk. He said it with authority, in the way babies do when they know for sure they’re pronouncing something correctly. He hit the final T hard, as if he were from Jersey. He also pointed out every hat he saw on a stranger, which could sometimes be slightly embarrassing.
“Hat,” he said loudly one night in a restaurant, pointing to a woman’s headgear. I apologetically explained that he liked her hat; she was very sweet and offered to let him try it on. When he shied away, she asked, “Can I put it on your mommy’s head?” Though I demurred, I did consider it a red-letter day when someone—anyone—thought I was young enough to be the mother of a toddler. She probably just had poor vision.
Between the boys-have-cooties days and the dating years, there was a time when boys would “come over” to visit if they liked you. One day one of those boys and I were listening to music in the living room when my father came home from work. I do not remember the boy’s name, or even what he looked like, but I remember what my father said to him.
“That’s a nice hat; do you always wear it in the house?”
I was mortified, of course. I do not remember how the boy, whoever he was, reacted. It made an impression on me, though; not being male, I had not been taught to take off my hat indoors. Now that I knew, however, I would forever be disturbed by what my husband calls “hats in the house.” A brief glance around a local restaurant last week turned up more guys wearing baseball caps than not. Maybe the rules have changed.
Actually, everything I found on the Internet confirmed men should remove their hats in someone’s home or in a restaurant. Women are exempt from hat-removal rules unless—and this is big—they’re wearing unisex headgear. Women wearing baseball caps must abide by the same regulations as men, and that is straight from Emily Post. Well, it is actually from emilypost.com, which cannot be the real Emily Post since she is no longer with us. It will have to do, though, because it is all we’ve got.
By the way, the rules do not apply if you have lost your hair to chemotherapy. Cancer patients can do whatever they want with everyone’s blessings.
Back in the days when a man never went out without a hat, there were extensive rules about when he should remove it. They were complex; an elevator in a residential building called for different behavior than the elevator in an office building. And I found this interesting: When you take off your hat, you are supposed to hold it so the inside does not show. Apparently hat linings are a bit like underwear and should never be seen by others.
Hats off to you and to all of Texarkana Monthly’s readers. I wish you happy hat wearing—or not—this spring!