My Hat’s Off To You (By Neal Murphy)

February 25, 2019 - One of my pet peeves is for a man to wear his hat or cap in the house. Back in my day, men were taught to remove their hats or caps as soon as they crossed the threshold of a house or public building. In addition, the ladies were to remove theirs if they obstructed someone’s view. There were very few exceptions to the rule, so it was easy to know what to do.

The world has become more casual over time, and even though hats aren’t necessarily a problem, it’s never wrong to remove them when going indoors, especially when you are in the presence of someone from a generation when that was the thing to do.

Hats were originally designed to keep the head warm, protect it from the sun, and keep the dust out of one’s eyes. They were removed when the man went indoors to prevent the dust on the hat from getting on the furniture and floor of the house.

Now days, hats are as much a fashion statement as they are practical.  Even so, there are some places that a man might want to think about removing his hat. This includes dress hats, knit hats, berets, beanies, and baseball caps.

The following are some of the most important places that men should consider removing their hats or caps:

In Someone’s home:  Any time you visit the home of a friend or family member, take off your hat at the door. Keep your hat off until it’s time to leave.  If you have a habit of leaving it on all the time, work on breaking it at home.

In a Public Place:  This includes restaurants, malls, schools, offices, churches, and any other place where you will see other people.  There is nothing wrong with wearing a hat indoors if it’s required, such as a hard hat at a construction site.

During the “National Anthem”: The hat must be removed and held until the anthem is over.  This rule applies both indoors and outside.

What about women and hats?  This may sound like a double standard, but women have had a completely different set of rules for wearing hats, at least in the past.  Women could always pretty much get away with wearing a fashion hat whenever they want, as long as it doesn’t obstruct someone’s view, or interfere with their work.

Hats have been around for centuries, so they come with quite a bit of history.  Maybe learning a few things about your headwear will make you see it in a totally different light.

To don a hat is to put it on.  To doff it is to take it off.

The phrase “Mad Hatter” came from the time when hat makers handled mercury and other toxic chemicals that affected their nervous system, and often caused early dementia.
National Hat Day is January 15th.  This is the time to don your favorite headwear in celebration of the hat.
The first time a top hat was worn in public in the late 1870s, people were appalled and started a riot because it broke the rules of the day.

“Hat etiquette” rules have faded, but not disappeared for some people, generally the older generation, of which I am a part, where the old guidelines still apply.  Although knowing when and where don a hat or doff it is not difficult to apply. The old rules may seem silly, but they offer an excellent show of respect for society.

Ask any southern belle about hats, and she’ll tell you that wearing them is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Wearing a hat or cap carries some responsibility, and that includes knowing when to take it off.