I've never been much of a hat-wearer.
I like one when it's cold out, to keep my head warm.
I like one when it's raining, to keep water off my glasses and out of my collar.
I like one when its damnable sunny, to shade my eyes and to keep my brain from frying.
But other than that, I'm not much of a hat-wearer. They generally get too hot for me. Or I'll find that I want to scratch or put my hand on my head (a common enough expression for me), and it's in the way. I tend to take them off when not immediately needing 'em, and then I leave 'em somewhere.
I've never worked for an agency that issued a uniform hat. We generally would have some informal baseball caps made up, which we'd sometimes wear for traffic duty, or the like. Because we're in rural or semi-rural Texas, cowboy hats have been approved. Silverbellies for the winter, and straw for the summer. I just never availed myself.
Well, yesterday I worked a major accident, standing out in the hot sun for an hour, and said, "well, it's not going to get any better 'till about Thanksgiving." When I cleared, I spent my lunch break at the western store. I was surprised to find that I was kind of picky. I don't like a full roll. I don't like a huge brim, 4" or better. I don't like too much mesh around the crown, even though I know it'll make it cooler. I don't like too tall of a crown. I don't want fancy macaroni, if any.
Unfortunately, given my large head and my pickiness, I didn't have a lot of choice. I ended up buying name brand (Resistol), and 8X at that. Much, much more than I really need for a dadgummed hat to wear out on traffic. It was a tad small, but the lady steamed it and stretched it for me before blocking it the way I liked. I got a horsehair brush for my boots as well. I paid the exorbitant bill (at least it was on sale), tipped my hat, and walked out to the car. CLUNK! I banged my hat and head as I got in. After sitting low in the seat, I found that the back of the brim hit the headrest. Oh. I can't wear it in the car. Okay.
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When I was a kid, a lot more men wore cowboy hats. Older men wore them because they came from the Time When Men Wore Hats. A lot of younger men wore them, unfortunately, because the late 1970s and early '80s was the era of the Rhinestone Cowboy. Then some men just wore them because it was part of their Texas identity, like a pair of boots.
Nowadays, many real cowboys wear gimme caps. I talked to one today, wearing steel-toed boots, blue jeans (well, some things don't change), a torn t-shirt with axle grease on it, and a nasty gimme cap. We discussed the utility of his $40k pickup and $35k horse trailer, which create a rig that cost more than I paid for the brick city house I live in. He offered to teach me how to rope.
When my granddad was a young man, any man of any means put a hat on when he went out. I don't know why that charms me, but it does. A hat was the most important part of a man's uniform, be he a police officer, a cabbie, a butler, a business man, or a milk delivery man. At present, I think that our hatless society reflects the fact that we are living in the Age Of The Common Man. Our look is blended. I'm no longer shocked to see jeans and T-shirts at church services (even Easter!), anymore. Rock stars perform before thousands in tired old T-shirts and dirty dungarees. Kids speak easily to all adults, without formality. In some ways, it's very good that some of our barriers are broken down. Hats were once routinely handed to the first person of color seen at a restaurant by white folk, because checking them was understood to be their job. But I occasionally desire to see a touch more distinction when I'm referred to by my first name by a sales clerk or a nine year old says "yeah" to an adult.
And I enforce my daughters' use of "sir" and "ma'am," when I'm wearing my "Daddy hat".