E@L has written about hats before. The significance of hats in Henry James. Himself photographed in a jaunty rakishly angled hat at a Great Gatsby themed party.
Science Fiction author James Scalzi, on his incredibly popular blog Whatever (he doesn't need my plug!), has a post up showing himself and bunch of guys wearing this newly fashionable galericulate* concealment technique to mask their MPB (and to make you look like you think you are a hipster, but actually you know you're not). The two hats on the guys (including Scalzi, wearing glasses) on the right are Panamas, correct? The one on the left, well, I'll pass, but the second bloke from left, the neo-hippy with the man-bag, that classic straw thing, that's something E@L's mother used to wear whilst gardening. LOL. Great fun was had by all I am sure.
And this photo prompted E@L to recall a mental note he made yesterday (and recalling mental notes is like remembering to take everything with him when he packs - i.e. it never ordinarily happens!) when he was looking for a café in the Queen Victoria Building here in Sydney (where he is "working" this week. It's Brisbane next week, with two hops back to Sydney, then a week in Japan, then a week in Thailand, then three weeks back in Oz! E@L will never see his new office in Tampines ever again, he hopes) and noticed a man wearing - a hat.
It was what he believes is a fedora (a type that Humphrey Bogart was fond of - at least in his movies) or maybe it was a trilby. Whatever, as Scalzi would say. It was similar to the type of hats that many men wear in old movies and probably wore at that time on the streets, at least in Melbourne (see above, Brack's absolutely brilliant painting).
Bucking the trend from the white hats of those too scared to take it all seriously, this gentleman was also wearing a dark grey suit (not the black and/or midnight blue of bankers, etc...) with a taupe (?) overcoat (bit blustery here today) and a dark woolen scarf underneath the collar, and his was a medium-dark-greyish hat. He was with two children of indeterminate, not adult who cares, age, and was leaning forward slightly to either admonish, as they no doubt deserved, or advise, which they no doubt required, them. This brought his head-gear to E@L's attention as he almost collided with the family group, and, as the man was rather tall, into his line of sight.
E@L was astonished to observe that the man looked good, natural, comfortable, at home, even, in the hat. It fit like it was meant to be there. None of this rakish, let's pretend we don't take this serious bowlers or top-hats, or white hats, such as panamas of course. This was a man of that glorious future, the 1950's! When men were tough, ready to do things mannish and they didn't push prams.
Maybe E@L recognized something of the authority figure he has been allegedly missing (according to his sister) - his father died in 1957 when E@L was merely a suckling, a mewling and puking infant. Yes, maybe it's because he relates to those old black & white episodes of Superman on TV (the TV was not B&W but mahogany with yellowish, oval speaker grill and bakelite knobs) where George Reeves would take of his trilby (or fedora?), undo his tie with his other hand and duck into a phone-booth to take off the rest of his clothes, purely for crime-fighting reasons.
Authority figure or WHAT! Someone to admire and respect and emulate or WHAT? (E@L often has had experiences of nudity in phone-booths, but hey we've all been there, right?)
E@L wonders what it would look like if Superman forgot take off that hat. " Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a man in pyjamas wearing a hat!"
Yep, the man in the QVB looked exactly like how a *real man* (tm) should look. A person from the 50's.
At some point in time (probably, but maybe not, in the future) E@L is going to have to desist from wearing t-shirts, cargo shorts and sandals to work. He's going to get a frackin' fedora (or trilby), get serious, and
* galericulate what a brilliant word!