Hats On/Hats Off

I know that some people (or at least Ann Landers and Dear Abby) think it is extremely rude to wear a hat indoors and/or in restaurants. I also know that many people take off their hats during the national anthem. I also think that hats are sometimes taboo in church, but I may be wrong on that one since I have not spent very much time in a church.

I don’t get it. What’s rude about a hat? What’s respectful about not wearing a hat? Why not socks? Why not belts? What am I missing?

The part about not wearing a hat in church applies to men, not women.

P.S. Before anyone starts ranting on this in the Pit as being unfair to women, or men, or whatever assumption you happen to make, read the rest of the chapter. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

Wear a top hat everywhere. Whether or not it’s indoors or outdoors will probably be the least of your concerns.

FWIW, I usually remove my hat while eating at a table in a restaurant, but I wear it indoors otherwise. I do not go to church and I would not remove it for the National Anthem; of course I also refuse to get up and/or sing for that, anyway.

Manners, after all, are probably a concept that come with maturity. This can appear at any age. YMMV.

If a man’s wearing a hat indoors one can simply take pleasure in the knowledge that the slope browed troglodyte is going bald and is exceedingly vain equating a barren scalp with a lack of virility.
If you are at a particular function and are friends with the host, inform them of the situation and gently advise them to tell the mouth-breathing boor to remove the offending headgear.
I particularly dislike baseball caps because they hide the face with their ridiculous bill and it gives the impression that the neanderthal desires to avoid eye contact in polite conversation since they wouldn’t be able to respond past “DUH I LIKE TITS. LET’S BEAT UP FAGS” because somewhere in the depths of their stegosaurian gray matter there’s the slight feeling of shame and self-consciousness at this fact.

I think abel’s about got it wrapped. (Congrads on nicely introducing some of our biblical underpinnings.)

Tradition is supported by other factors:

  1. Women can ruin their hair by removing a hat. Men…well I’ve never heard a guy complain.

  2. Especially nowadays, when few wear hats, it shows a certain style doffing one.

  3. Removing a hat is an almost unique male expression of showing humility. The hat is decorative, removing it shows that a man is sensitive to another person’s wishes.

I don’t wear a hat often, but I assuredly take it off at appropriate moments.

I think there may be a certain element of chivalry in the whole thing - in the days of yore, removing your headgear showed a certain trust and respect for the person you were meeting, as it left you open to a fatal head wound if you were wrong. Since you were placing your life in the other persons hands, you were therefore not a threat and could be trusted. In the same way, a hand shake developed out of the idea that offering an empty hand to be “shooken” revealed that you did not have a concealed weapon and could therefore be trusted.

No cites :slight_smile:


Grimpixie has it, IMHO.

Think about why men and women covered their heads in ancient and medieval times.

Men covered their heads with helmets for battle and hats for work and travel. None of these activities are appropriate when meeting and saluting your Lord, spiritual or temporal. Show yourself and make yourself known.

Women were in a little more subservient role (as the St Paul quote shows). For women to “show themselves” publicly in the old days was like a woman today wearing something “revealing” in the wrong social setting. Ladies, try wearing a plunging neckline backless evening gown in church or at the supermarket; you’ll get a lot of odd looks at least. This especially applied historically to married women who were “claimed” by their husbands; little girls and other “maidens” often didn’t have to cover their heads as they were showing themselves as available. But this didn’t apply in church, as that is no place for the mating game.

I don’t know what the customs or regulations now are, but in the 60’s women still were more or less required to wear scarves or mantillas in the Catholic churches. I think this may still be done in Italy and Spanish speaking countries.

Well said samclem.

>> I don’t get it. What’s rude about a hat? What’s respectful about not wearing a hat?

It is a convention which is centuries old in westeern cultures. Like any other convention it is just something people have agreed on. Like any other show of respect or other consideration, it is just a convention and has no need to have any rational explanation other that we have all agreed it is a show of respect. Other cultures have other conventions and it is good to learn them if you will be visiting. It is even more important to know the conventions of your own culture.

Of course, there are those who disagree and think conventions are silly and there’s no need for manners of any kind. Such people do not get very far in any society.

It was raining in New York yesterday, and little Banjo and I were carrying umbrellas and wearing tweed caps to keep our heads dry. While waiting for a few minutes in the front hall of school for little Pianola to show up so we could go home, Banjo took his cap off and said “DAD…we’re INSIDE.”

I told him that in, shall we say, Interiors of Transit…railway stations, for example, or school hallways while one is briefly waiting for the daughter…a gentleman keeps his hat on his head. It’s only when one is planning to REMAIN in the vicinity that the headgear is removed. (Churches and war memorials and other places where you’re supposed to show respect don’t count. Even if you’re briskly walking through those, the hat should come off.)

Is this correct etiquettewise, or am I filling my son’s head with impolite nonsense?

Hogwash. Many people get far largely because they flaunt social conventions. Think Diogenes, John Lennon, Paul Erdos, Johnny Rotten, Jesus of Nazareth, Nikola Tesla.

For the record, I wear a hat, and while I remove it indoors in respect of other people, I will not remove it for a national anthem, or upon meeting royalty.

I think the simple rule of thumb which applies to any etiquette situation is this: If there is a certain action you can take which indicates you are showing respect for others, or likely to be interpreted as such, and you wish to show such respect, then take said action. Otherwise do not. Clearly if there is no one else paying attention to you in the school lobby, it’s a moot point, and the hats can remain on.

Yes, everyone that wears a baseball cap fits the above description to a t. :rolleyes:

Some of us with folicle challenges wear a hat frequently. It keeps the shinier parts from become sunburnt.

I take it off in church, in friends houses, or to show respect. But if I’m in a store or similar it stays pretty much glued on. Taking it off just gives me something I have to carry around.

On consideration, the purpose of the hat makes a difference as to whether to take it off. If a woman is trying to make a splash with a special outfit, I assume she would not remove it at all.

If a teen is wearing a cap backwards to assert his “individuality” I’d expect him not to remove his fixture unless need compelled. Manners might not be on his radar.

If a hat is to fend off the weather, then when the weather isn’t present the hat might well disappear.

It all seems a little quaint and antiquated, now that I reflect. Neighboring on bizarre. Are there are rules for removing every article of clothing? I think so. I used to fence, and there are definite rules about how, when and where the sword–even though it’s a practice sword–can be unsheathed.

Obligatory, yet not entirely satisfying Staff Report

I’ve always heard what grimpixie said.

I wear a baseball cap because I like my local baseball team.

You have a cite for the above drivel? :rolleyes:

I’ll second that drivel.

In the 80’s in an Episcopal church in CA I would see women of all ages, just before going up to the altar rail, cover their heads with a handkerchief, or even [shudder] a Kleenex. I bet there are some who still do this.

I take that shudder back; I admire the willingness to conform to the custom or rule while knowing oneself to look ridiculous.