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Hats

January 5th, 2010
hats  [html]

Julia gave me a hat for christmas. It looks something like:
I used to wear a hat like this when I was little, 3rd grade through 5th grade or so. I like it.

When I was younger, though, I had no concern for whether I was being rude by keeping the hat on all the time. I would keep it on in school and even in church, which I now understand is quite rude. I did not grow up seeing people putting their hats on and off all the time, so the right way to deal with it is not automatic for me. I've been reading some websites, but they all seem to be summarizing rules that have not been in common use for decades. They say things like "the hat should not be removed at a lunch counter" but do not address supermarkets. Many things have changed in those decades. So, left without a modern etiquitte guide, I have some questions:

  • In what public buildings do I need to take my hat off? I think supermarket and malls I can probably keep it on, and tiny hole in the wall stores I should probably take it off. There are a lot of stores in between these extremes, though.
  • At a restaurant, where are you supposed to put your hat if there is no coat check? I ate lunch with Julia's family at the pretty-formal boone tavern in berea ky, and coats went on the back of chairs. The table design meant I could barely put my legs under the table, so I couldn't put it on my lap. So I tried putting it on my knee, where it fell off occasionally. I think I could learn to deal with that, but is there a better place to put it? Can I leave it on?
  • I don't want to take the gender of people I meet into account in how much respect I show for them. Is it rude to keep my hat on when passing a lady in the street? Probably not anymore.
  • Do I take my hat off for contra dancing? Probably, but I'm not sure.
  • Does my hat actually count as a "cap" and so have different rules?
I'm sure I'll have more questions later. Likely these things will be second nature in a bit.

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