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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hat People

I am Hat People.

This is a picture of my latest headgear acquisition. It's a hat that I bought for myself at an antiques mart in Lexington, VA on our most recent vacation. It looked as if it had barely been worn, and it was $8.00. That, plus the fact that there is a tag inside the hat stating that the hat had been specially treated with "REPELL-X: Processed water repellent, spot resistant, treated with DuPont Quillon", well, I knew that this was one motherfucker of a chemically-loved hat. I think the only thing they didn't spray on this thing was Agent Orange.

Not only that, but the hat was manufactured by the company "MANSTYLE." As a man with style, how could I resist?

Used to be, every man was Hat People. Hats were an accessory but not an option. If you look at pictures from the twenties, even poor sonsofbitches in soup and bread lines are wearing hats. Granted, they're beat up, felt jobs, and some of those people probably ended up eating their hats (is that where the expression, "I'll eat my hat!" came from?) when there was no soup or bread to be had, but they wore hats nonetheless. It didn't matter if you were bathing in dirt and subsisting off a grain of rice a week, chances are, even during the Great Depression, you managed to find a goddamned nickel to spend on a hat. Because, as long as you had something you could put on your head when going out of doors, and something to take off your head when passing a white-gloved lady (who may have ended up eating those gloves if she became really hard up for nourishment) on the street, you at least had your pride-- and that's priceless.

I mentioned in a prior post that it was John F. Kennedy who was responsible, almost single-headedly, for ceasing the long-standing tradition of hat-wearing, and thus causing the decline of the millinery industry in this country, and eventually worldwide. That schmuck. It's a shame, too, because a lot of men have truly awful hair, or hairlines, or even growths or liverspots on their heads, and many of these men could be looking at least 75% better off if they had hats to wear.

And I don't mean fucking baseball caps. Have you ever seen a man over forty years old wearing a baseball cap? Looks like an unmitigated assfuck, doesn't he? Come on, you can be honest with me-- we love each other, after all. It's okay. Mrs. Apron knows about us.

I've always been Hat People, ever since I can remember. When he was still among the breathing, my grandfather owned an old-fashioned men's clothing store, because, really, what other kind of men's clothing store would that miserable bastard have owned? He sold hats, even though, by the time the 1980s rolled around and I was a little boy, no one was wearing them. When I saw them, though-- Fedoras and Homburgs mostly, I was enamored, and, oftentimes, when visiting his shop, a hat came home with us.

And I wore them.


I had enough sense not to wear these hats to school, where I was reasonably sure I would get beat up and my hat would get ruined in the ensuing dust-up, but I would wear them to the mall on the weekend when I would go out with my parents, or to the park, but I mostly wore them around the house. Little me, doddering around the house, sometimes sucking my thumb, wearing an oversized men's hat, in formal black or brown, with a grosgrain ribbon. Of course.

Today, I own a tophat from a hatmaker that went out of business in the late 1890s. I wore this hat on my wedding day, and I was as proud as a peacock, to be sure. Though I looked more like a penguin. I also own a derby, presumably manufactured around the early 1920s. The leather sweatband on the inside of the hat had become detached, and I called the one number in the phone book listed under "Millinery" in the Philadelphia Yellow Pages a couple years ago to see if they would fix it for me. The guy on the other end of the phone laughed so hard that I had to hang the phone up. Mrs. Apron came to the hat's rescue with some E-6000 glue. And I wore the hat all winter-- it looked very smart with my vintage wool overcoat. And nobody beat me up.

In the summertime, when on vacation, I tend to break out my straw boater-- from the early 1900s. A fellow hiker called me "The Best Dressed Hiker in Maine" when he passed us on a trail by Jordan's Pond two summers ago. I had on a necktie with a kangaroo on it, too, at the time.

I like my new hat. When we go to Ireland in August, I'm going to wear it there. Because I am Hat People.


  1. I think you may be the only Hat People I don't just detest. Chicago Hat People are also Hipster People, and I do not like Hipster People. I really love the look of hats but that piece of clothing is synonymous here with a lifestyle that makes me want to kick puppies.
    Or piglets. Oink.

  2. Ah, true. We also have hipster hat-wearers. Mr. Apron's trick is to only buy old hats, so they fit properly. He has perfected the hat-wearing in a non-ironic way. The hipsters only wish they could be so cool.


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