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05 February 2009

There was a kid on the bus this evening who was sporting -- and I am not making this up -- pinstripes and a fedora. The fedora had a white hat band. A battered brown briefcase completed the ensemble.[More:]

I'll admit to snickering at him. I would have laughed even if he *wasn't* the embodiment of a Metafilter in-joke.
Here's the thing about hats.

I like 'em, I really do. Not pinstripes and a fedora with a white band, no, that's just way too "Hey, remember those Gap swing ads" for me, but I like me a hat. Porkpies. Panamas. Stetsons. I love 'em.

But I won't buy one or wear one, because the thing about wearing a hat is that wearing a hat makes you Hat Guy. And I don't want to be Hat Guy. Even if you're not wanting to look like you're forcing it, you look like you're forcing it. If you're Hat Guy. Nothing short of Clooney-esque powers of charisma can escape that snickering vortex. No man has been allowed to just wear a hat since 1972.

Mr. Pinstripes & Fedora, he wants to be that guy. He really, really wants to be that guy. Badly. And so he should be, even though he can't make it work. Because somebody has to be that guy, and better him than me.

But me, I'd like to be able to slap a straw hat on for walking around down at the lit festival in the summer, or for going to watch one of those outdoor movies down by the river. I won't, because I'd know that I was Hat Guy, and I'd know that everyone else knew that I was Hat Guy, and so by default I'd be totally unable to pull it off.

Damn you, Hat Guy. Damn you to hell.
posted by middleclasstool 05 February | 23:02
Damn you, Hat Guy. Damn you to hell.

Caring what other people think about how you dress is your own ticket to hell.
posted by BoringPostcards 05 February | 23:06
Caring... is... hell!

I'm just kidding, really.

The lady I'm working for has several antique wooden hat molds like this; they come apart and make nice book stops (the top) and picture frames (the brim). I'm sure they're good for other things, including making hats.
posted by Hugh Janus 05 February | 23:12
[middleclasstool has a self-conscious existential haberdasherological crisis]

Or you could just wear the hat.
posted by Eideteker 05 February | 23:54
Hey if the hat fits....
posted by gomichild 05 February | 23:56
Eh the dude is a Hat Guy. For what it's worth he is about as far as you could get from the Metafilter Fedora douchebag. Nothing good typically comes of generalising, I have to catch myself at it a lot.

A lot depends on the quality of the lid. The mister has very good quality hats, some handed down from his grandpa, one from my grandpa. He never wears baseball caps, and only wears his hats with matching slacks and a collared shirt - so he basically looks somewhat retro. It suits him, and people compliment him on his style, so... *shrug*
posted by lonefrontranger 06 February | 03:01
Having little hair, I tend to wear (plain) baseball caps in summer and wooly hats in winter.

I think one problem is that hats were out of fashion during the Great Casualization of the Sixties and onwards. So most of the Classic Hats only work if you're dressed so formally as to be an anachronism. You can't really wear a fedora and jeans without looking like a pillock.
posted by TheophileEscargot 06 February | 05:17
I've got it even worse here. I have a wardrobe full of clothes like this and this, but in Sofia you just don't want to be "Taliban guy"... not multicultural enough to blend in discreetly, everywhere you go it's "Hey, look, what the fuck is that guy's problem?"
posted by Meatbomb 06 February | 07:38
When I see somebody wearing something completely out of the norm, it's balm to my eyes, seriously. Since moving to Greece I have to seriously control myself from totally staring at way-punk, goth, obviously gay - and to some degree, just ordinary black people (slightly less since we moved to Athens), as well as anybody dressed like a proper English/American/man/woman. In other words, I really, really want to drink up anybody who dresses or appears differently in this very homogeneous land.

The funny thing is that my list does not include Muslim women in head scarves, which is something would probably draw (possibly shocked) attention in many other places, because this is a fairly typical thing to see here.

I miss greater diversity. I want fedora guy to come here, and if ye could send me a couple of lads in kilts, I'd be most grateful.
posted by taz 06 February | 09:00
Or you could just wear the hat.

Maybe in your magical fairy land with free money and backrubs and unicorns with lasers, you can "just wear the hat," but around here there are CONSEQUENCES for a man's actions.
posted by middleclasstool 06 February | 10:59
There is a difference between being a man with a hat and being That Guy.
posted by trinity8-director 06 February | 13:26
My ex was withot even knowing it, the perfect hat guy. Strikingly handsome italian, with a slim wirery buld just made for sixties suits I tricked him into the Merc and before you knew it, he began buying slim cut suits, slim ties the nice coats, and soon.... the hats. He could pull off an updated Kojak like nobody else even at thirty.
Thing about hats though, is that you have to have a nice set of pants/shirt probably a ties and a suit jacket as well. And food shoes. It's never just the hat. But man does it ever look delish! Yeah for all hat men!

(I'm a hat girl, as in I love hats, but seldom the female versions and I have a head that looks good in a hat. Problem is that my head is so tiny I seldom find a hat that fits me. And then when I do, I gotta get the suit, the ties, the shoes and suddenly I'm guy-girl. In a hat. Mens hat and high heels just don't go together. )
posted by dabitch 07 February | 12:37
Not food shoes! Good shoes! I wonder what food shoes taste like. I'll go ask my neighbors dog.
posted by dabitch 07 February | 12:37
Man in ahat and a very sweet ride

I have a Kojak Hat! Kojak hats rooooooooole Roole I tell ya!
posted by dabitch 07 February | 12:45
It's not the hat that makes Hat Guy into Hat Guy; it's the expression, the expectation, the affectation. It's the energy about him that says "Hey, check out My Hat!" If you can wear a hat without constantly reminding yourself you're wearing a hat, you aren't Hat Guy; you're a guy wearing a hat. (Pssst. Nice hat, mister.)

Hats are functional articles of clothing. A fedora is handy in the winter, if it's not too windy. A straw boater is a lifesaver in warmer weather.

I wear a hat almost every day: a broadbrimmed felt or fabric hat in the fall and cold spring, a broadbrimmed straw hat in the summer, a crushable fabric hat in the winter, something I can keep in my pocket or bag and wear when the wind is whipping.

They're clothing. They are not personal statements. I mean, my hats look good (oh hell yeah they look good!), but I wear them because they serve a purpose: keeping my head warm (or cool in hot weather), keeping my face shaded, keeping the sun out of my eyes.

Oh. Oh dear.

Am I Hat Lady?
posted by Elsa 07 February | 13:21
*points and laughs at Elsa*

Some people have the knack... I suspect you do. Every time I see someone looking groovy in a hat, I want to wear a hat, but I don't have the hat gene, really.
posted by taz 07 February | 14:33
*points and laughs at Elsa*

*is used to it*
*waves cheerfully at Taz*

For me, The Knack consists almost entirely of not caring if I look like a big goofball, in part because I love the hat and I need the hat for my own comfort and well-being (it keeps the skin-cancer fairy away!), and in part because I'm well aware that I'm a goofball, and it ain't my hat that makes it so.

It may be that mudpuppie's pinstripes busrider kid knows he's a goofball and is embracing that. I have a certain fondness for twerps who know they're twerps. (and, yeah, mudpuppie, I would've smirked at him, at least in my mind. How could you not? But the battered briefcase kind of makes me love him, too.)
posted by Elsa 07 February | 14:51
I used to wear a Panama hat when it's extremely sunny. Thought it was rather appropriate on holiday in Italy f.i.
Unfortunately my US GF says she associates them with the Puerto Rican thugs back in Manhattan when she was growing up.
posted by jouke 07 February | 15:17
been there. done that. || I will be in Boston the weekend of 2/21.