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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have been watching the current season of "Top Chef" (Yes, I watch too much TV). There is one contestant, Spike, who always wears a hat. I gotta say, I don't get it. I don't understand hats. For kids and teens, sure, I have no idea why they do and wear 95% of the things they do anyway. Adults on the other hand, should know better.

I'll admit it, I have no fashion sense. I have a home office, and my biggest fashion decision is usually, "which old t-shirt do I throw on?" But really, hats? I mean, women can make various hats look sexy about 50% of the time. The other 50% you just look at them and say, "wow, she's trying a bit too hard."

Very, very, very few men, on the other hand, can pull off a hat purely for fashion's sake. Here's a test - the next time you see a guy wearing a hat (not a baseball cap and not one for warmth) I challenge you to not make a "Newsies," "Indiana Jones," "Magician," or "Panama Jack" joke. I guarantee you won't be able to do it.

I suppose there are practical reasons to wear a hat. The obvious one is warmth. 80% of heat leaves through the head, and hats help with that. Hats can also keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face, and they can also keep the rain off your head. And of course some people wear hats for religous reasons.

Cowboys can wear hats. But I'm from the Northeast. If you're in Philadelphia and are wearing a cowboy hat, you better be transplanted from Montana.

Then there's baseball hats. I used to wear baseball hats. In college. When I was too lazy to shower. If you're going to a game or going to watch a game somewhere, sure, throw on the cap. Otherwise, I'm going to go ahead and assume you didn't shower and stay far away. (Of course, maybe you consider that an added "hat wearing bonus")

Is there a lesson here? Yes: If not for shade or heat, don't wear a hat.

The bigger lesson? Be yourself. Yes, people may make fun of you or criticize you for what you do, but if you are doing it for the right reason (because it's who you are), then you will be much happier and successful. Even if that means wearing a hat and having me make a "Newsies" joke about you.

1 comment:

Jeff Porten said...

You forgot the inevitable rabbi jokes when the fedora is all black.

Speaking as a guy whose hat is his sole conscious fashion accessory, I can't particularly explain *why* I wear one, just that I don't give much of a damn when people criticize me for it, and I feel uncomfortable without it in "hat weather". (It gets retired in summertime, until such time as I find a summerweight hat I can stand.) But I can tell you it's not about looking more attractive, at least not deliberately so.

Actually, the best thing I can say about a fedora is that, TV personalities aside, I'm the youngest guy I've ever seen wearing one regularly, and maybe the individuality is what that's all about. That, and pretending I'm as debonair as Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.