Monday, November 26, 2007

Men and Their Hats

I have a feeling that ya'll are growing weary of my stories, so I'll switch gears a little and try something different. How about a random musing?

Men and Their Hats

I have noticed that men no longer remove their hats when they enter a home or a building. I would wager that their own father or mother would slap the hat off their head to remind them of their rude gesture. For years, it was the standard. Men removed their hats when sitting at the diner table or when entering the church. Of course, there were places where hat removal was unnecessary, such as a bar, or a cattle auction. In fact, a man might be laughed at if he took off his hat in a bar—he might be called a sissy. However, when he set down to supper at Grandma’s house, the hat was hanging on a rack somewhere.

Hat wearing is a type of business card in today’s world. The hat a man wears tells something about who he is. If he is a hunter, he might wear a camouflage hat, the kind with elastic straps for extra shotgun shells. A fisherman might wear a hat with extra weights and hooks buried deep into the fabric. An athlete might wear a ball cap, something light and manageable, when speed is necessary. A cowboy must have a large brimmed hat that is fit to protect him from the elements such as the sun or rain. If you explore caves, a cowboy hat will only get in the way. This man needs a hat with a light mounted on it, to free his hands for climbing. A sailor wants something that is water resistant. A fireman wants something heat resistant, while a soldier wants something hard enough to dispel fragments and explosions. A hat gives definition to the type of man wearing it. You never see a football player going onto the field with a sunbonnet strapped to his chin.

When you consider everything that a hat represents, you have a better idea of what is happening inside a man’s thoughts and actions. A hat is his sign to America that he is someone and he knows it, and man is not likely to take off his hat for just any reason. There is an old saying, “The only man you have to take your hat off for is the barber.” What does this tell you? A hat is a symbol of strength to the bearer, and you really shouldn’t mess with anyone’s hat, unless you are prepared to fight over it.

Ever wonder why a man tips his hat to the ladies? Tipping your hat is the same thing as “tipping” the man that you are, a tremendous and heartfelt show of respect, and a way of recognizing the grace and beauty of a woman. Now days, men don’t tip their hats to each other, and I certainly don’t want them to start.

Another appropriate place for hat removal is in a church. Removing your hat in church is a sign of respect and surrender to God. I always question the depth of a man who refuses to remove his covering in a church sanctuary. What is going on in his heart if he won’t respect God? A man should also take off his hat in respect to the country. I have seen men place their hats over their hearts during the national anthem, and rightfully so! Nothing angers me more than to see a man with a cap perched on top of his head while the Star Spangled Banner proudly boasts of our nation’s grand existence.

Men, there are times to hide your ugly hair—or lack thereof—under your hat, and times not to. If you are in a theater, take your hat off so everyone else can see the screen. Take your hat off in church; show God the respect He has rightfully earned. Tip your hat to the ladies; women are the embodiment of all that is good in our society, and it is appropriate to respond in such a fashion. Most of all, remove your hat at the diner table. If for no other reason than it’s what your mamma told you to do, and its good old-fashioned manners.

As always, my opinion is subject to revision.


Alison said...

Very interesting, Sir Inman! I think that men wearing hats is a dying art that shouldn't die. One of my grandfathers often wore Tom Landry-type hats, and I can't think of him without remembering those hats.
Also, thanks for "Canine Witness." That was neat to get a glimpse into young writer Will. Glad you didn't give up.

...And I must say that if football players did wear sunbonnets, I might be a little more interested in watching football.

jeff said...

I was just told today not to wre my hat in church. at first i was angry and i thought that was kind of petty after reading your post i feel better. I was not raise to take my hat off anywhere and i always were it.I will how ever respect God and his authority thanks for sheding lihgt on a touchy subject

Travis said...

My compliments to you on your wise response. It is easy to react in a negative fashion to an injustice. I regret that someone told you that it wasn't cool to wear your hat in church, but I'm glad that I was able to help you view "hat etiquette" in a different light. Many times, we do things without realizing the consequences. My hats off to you for your ability to demonstrate dignity under pressure.