Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts on head gear

Kangaroo skin bushman's hat
Practical uses: riding a horse across the outback,
while being chased by the law

I have a surprisingly large collection of hats. I say surprisingly because, to be frank, I don’t wear a hat all that often. I feel that I should just clarify that when I talk about hats here, I don’t mean wooly beanie style caps, although I have about half a dozen of these. In contemporary society, these barely count as hats at all, and are not governed by the standard rules of hat wearing. I’m talking about more formal, traditional hats, with brims and the like.

Fedora pic
Practical uses: Playing at being on Mad Men

I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed to end up with so many hats. It’s certainly not because I spend hours trawling haberdashers for exciting trilbies or pork pies; As I say, I seldom wear a hat, and this, combined with my stereotypically male aversion for any form of clothes shopping would not be conducive to building up a collection of hats. Plus, I have an unusually large head, which would make buying hats, even if I were so inclined to do so, quite difficult. It is, I feel,  important to stress the largeness of my head; many people question me when I assert this in conversation, so it may not appear obviously so, but still, my skull is an above average size. Certainly, any hat that is intended for my head will need an L and at least one X if not more on its size label. It’s a strange but true fact that I have had arguments with people trying to tell me that my head could not possibly be as large as I claim it to be. It is.*

Official Discovery Channel Steve Irwin hat 
Practical Uses: Irritating dangerous animals

Certainly, several have my hats have been gifted to me. This however raises more questions. Why do people think that a hat is a suitable gift for me? Do my friends and loved ones see me as the type of person who wears a hat? What does this say about how they see me? Wearing a hat these days (again, we are not counting beanies, which play by their own rules) makes a very deliberate statement about how one wants to be seen. Generally, the type of man who wears a hat is someone who wants to be regarded as eccentric, left field, kooky, and possibly even zany. I like to call these people hat twats. Most of them describe their hat wearing as ironic, showing that they are also the type of people who use words without knowing their correct meaning. Is this the way those around me see me? I’ll confess that I certainly dabbled with being zany in my youth, but I was reckless and misguided, and have spent nearly a decade attempting to make up for it. I do often talk about doing things ironically, but I only do so in an ironic fashion, playfully highlighting the fact that I understand what ironic means. Does nobody in my life actually get me at all?

Straw Stetson
Practical uses: Looking awesome at music festivals

The sad fact is that I would quite like to wear a hat, not to be ironic or kooky, but because I think they look well. I think it is a shame that hats for men have fallen out of fashion to such a degree. And yet, I am paralysed with fear that were I to wear a hat, passers-by would prejudge me as a hat twat ironic hipster zany douche. At the same time, hats will never fall back into fashion unless non-asshole men take to wearing them. It’s a vicious paradox, what philosophers call the Hat-wearer’s dilemma, I can see no way out of it. I’m just not sure that I am brave enough to be the hat wearing pioneer that the situation calls for.

Traditional Omani hat
Practical uses: ???

*I was thinking of making a joke about how I’m also big headed int he arrogant sense, but really, I think I’m better than that.

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