People
may not remember me, but they tend to remember the hat. And it’s such a
beautiful hat. I have a lot of them but it is the top of the line that I only
wear at conferences and special events. It is part of my persona, part of how I
present myself to perform the role of a literary agent.
Ladies
love when I tip my hat to them and often comment on it. It was how I was raised
and is a common act where I come from. This act of showing respect is handed
down from the days of medieval knights who used to raise the visor hiding their
face to show friendliness. That’s also where the military salute came from.
I
was at a conference in Canada and they were interested that I wore my hat at
meals. I told them that came from the days when guys used to hang their hats on
pegs by the front door, but when they started getting stolen a lot they started
wearing them to eat. Also, good western hats are very expensive and since it
harms them to set them brim down they have to be set upside down on the crown.
The floor can be dirty in public eating places. If there is a nice safe place for it I will probably remove it. I told them it was part of a “hat
etiquette” and that caused an impromptu workshop on just what was involved in “hat
etiquette.”
Yes,
we do tip our hats to ladies and remove it to talk to one. We don’t tip our hat
to men as that would be akin to calling them a woman.
No,
we do not wear our hats in church and remove it at any other time and clutch it
to our chest if we pray. For some religions just the opposite is true and the
head must be covered in a church. A woman may wear a hat in church.
Yes,
we remove them in a theater for obvious reasons.
No,
we don’t wear them in the house.
Yes,
if we are in trouble we toss them in the front door. If it is not thrown back
out it is safe to follow it in.
No,
we don’t wear them in an elevator, unless it is very crowded.
Absolutely
we remove it for the national anthem and when our flag is passing as well as
when a hearse passes in a funeral possession.
Yes,
in a church a woman may wear their hat as well as for the above occasions. Why
the difference? Historically, men’s hats are easily removed but women’s hats
have been not so easily removed. If a woman is wearing a baseball hat or a hat
similar to what a male wears they are subject to the same rules as men except
they don’t tip their hats to anyone.
No,
we don’t toss them on a bed, that is considered bad luck. I don’t know the
origin of that one.
Removed
hats are held in such a way that only the top and the brim are visible, never
the lining.
No,
I mentioned we do not set them brim down. That can ruin the shape of the brim
which is usually lower in front and back than on the sides. Also, there is a
gentle curve to the hatband that causes it to conform more comfortably to the
head and that can be damaged by setting it brim down.
Yes,
we have to send it through a scanner at an airport.
No,
we don’t like to, those things are dirty.
Yes,
they keep off the sun and the rain but we don’t like to get our best hats wet.
Who wants a speckled hat and if they get wet enough, well, they are felt after
all and we sure don’t want a floppy hat.
No,
it is not good etiquette to touch another person’s hat.
Yes,
some of the ‘rules’ are regional in nature and vary in different parts of the
country. And in parts of the country some of the rules don’t seem to apply to
baseball hats.
No,
we do not wear them at an outdoor wedding. We do occasionally have western weddings
where the groom wears his hat and if that is the case the audience may follow
suit.
Yes,
we tip the hat as a response when a lady thanks us for rendering assistance or
some courtesy.
And
finally, yes, a good hat can last many years and is often passed down to
children or grandchildren. The wearing of hats seems to be making a comeback
but the younger generation has grown up without knowing this etiquette in many
parts of the country. In our part of the country . . . not so much.