If you’re too young for the reference, let’s just say that George Clooney and Ben Affleck probably spent a good deal of their boyhoods looking in the mirror and imagining that Humphrey Bogart was looking back at them. And unlike our contemporary masters of cool, Bogart didn’t have to try. He just was. Cool.
But what I’m talking about in this instance are hats. The ones that populate the neighborhood of Fedora’s, Trilby’s and Stetson’s. Old school and yet new age cool shit. Or so I was thinking.
Bogart wore hats the way Malibu wears sunshine. Easy and true and all day long.
So this past week I tossed my proverbial hat in the ring- it was a figurative transgression with literal intentions behind it. On Monday, it was going to happen. On Tuesday I had forgotten all about it. On Wednesday, I remembered, Then I asked my girlfriend for her thoughts. She was like ‘Why not?’ and ‘Cool, babe’, but I’m thinking it was the champagne talking and that cool had nothing to do with it. It was a bad idea to ask her, since she’s legally blind to my fashion disasters on account of the fact she’s sleeping with me. On Thursday I went shopping for hats. Okay, not really. I happened to be out and I saw some hats in the clearance section of the men’s department. It was a cheap date. So cheap that I decided to hold off until I could consult an expert on haberdashery.
As it turns out, I ain’t got friends in the haberdashery business. Who does? I mean, that would be like knowing someone who darns socks. Or uses a flip phone. As it turns out, my hat bill came up for a vote over lunch with my pal Felicia.
“I’m thinking about wearing a hat.” I said.
“What do you mean ‘for what’? To wear a hat, yanno . . like around?”
Her reply came via a snorting giggle.”Chyeah . . right. You’re not serious.”
“Well . . now I’m not. But I was serious when I brought this up fifteen seconds ago.”
“Halloween’s over.” More of the snorting giggle.
“Okay, I get it. You killed the idea, you murdered it. The whole hat idea? It’s a closed casket funeral thanks to you.”
“I’m just saying.”
“You were mostly just snorting and giggling, at the same time.”
“What does Tara think about it?”
“Doesn’t matter . . she’s sleeping with me, so yanno . . she’s got the blinders.”
“True. What about your kids?”
“No way in hell I ask them. You know the shit they’ll give me?”
“Hey, it’s your call. But there’s no going back once you wear the hat. You can’t just stop wearing it once you start. You become a hat guy. And once you start, people are going to expect a collection. You can’t be wearing the same hat every day, you’re gonna to have to change it up.”
“Shit, you’re right.”
“Hat guys are pretty fashionable, too. So it’s going to affect your entire wardrobe.”
“Sonofabitch, I didn’t think of that.”
“Hat guys can’t go back . . .” She said, as she finished off her Caesar salad.
This is why Felicia is my point person when it comes to these kinds of things. She doesn’t include rainbows or unicorns in her assessments. I had never contemplated the ramifications of becoming a hat guy. I guess I was blinded by the interchangeable nature of baseball caps. Michael Moore doesn’t count, since I’m pretty sure he was born with a baseball cap affixed to his head.
As it turns out, hats are the fashion equivalent of Harry Reid’s political career, The Simpsons, really bad Adam Sandler flicks, really good Cristopher Nolan flicks and Brad Pitt’s amazing sex life. Hats are forever. And I’m not willing to make that kind of long term commitment to something I can’t smoke or drink or have sex with my own damn self.
Maybe I’m going to have to revisit the tat idea . . .