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Metafilter doesn't do fedoras well
October 2, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

The problem is that the fedora has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled male nerds whose social inexperience and awkwardness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs. They aren't bad people – they simply need a place from which to draw a sense of manhood, if not from women.
posted by rhiannonstone (718 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Debonair Sys Admin
posted by The Whelk at 10:43 AM on October 2, 2012 [44 favorites]


What does this mean for my fedora made of bacon?
posted by elizardbits at 10:46 AM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Meta.
posted by box at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Bowler has always been my hat of choice. I don't usually hang around with Fedora guys.
posted by Ululator at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are those pictures all actually fedoras? I think of it as a hat that's slightly more hyperbolic.

If only there were some kind of hat expert here...
posted by Segundus at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012


Fedoras of OKCupid.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sometimes a hat is just a hat, you know?

Not hat-ist
posted by jquinby at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some pathetic nerds wear fedoras + some pathetic nerds are entitled "nice guys" = the bullshit conclusion helpfully quoted above.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


“fedora” came into parlance when Sarah Bernhardt played the title character in Fédora, an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou. That sort of felt hat was a women’s fashion item, and did not become popular among men until the late 19th century.

Fedoras would become much more cool if they were more commonly worn by women.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's a question to ask yourself before you walk out the door with your fedora on:

Are you Frank Sinatra?

If the answer is "Yes", please proceed.
If the answer is "No", then please take off the hat.

You may now leave your house.
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2012 [45 favorites]


It draws appeal partly for its anachronistic/Rat Pack/Tough Guy/Frank Miller/Time Traveller/Elliot Ness/80's Pop cachet. Other than that, it's an attempt to proclaim to the world that the wearer's now acclimated to the concept of Big Boy clothes, though not necessairily to the point of having to don a necktie or shine their shoes.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:51 AM on October 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


custom. years ago, just about all men wore one or another type of hat, cap ..in fact, I had an uncle who owned a hat store. Had a SIGN OVER THE ENTRANCE: WHEN BUYING A HAT, USE YOUR HEAD
posted by Postroad at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


In the US at least, there are two kinds of hats that seem to be "acceptable" to the mainstream: baseball caps and knit caps. Anything else (except if you're an older Greek fisherman or an Irish guy in South Boston) is considered a bit strange. Fedoras are the most recognizable, but I'd imagine someone in a stovepipe hat or a porkpie hat isn't going to be thought of as any more with it than someone in a fedora, it's just that fedoras are easier to find.
posted by xingcat at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought fedora wearing is primarily a lesbian thing now
posted by Bwithh at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm so happy the reign of baseball caps is finally over.
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


I own a number of hats, some of which could be classed as fedoras, at least one of which is definitely a trilby, but I don't think they make me look debonair or mysterious or More Adult or anything. I just think they look nice. I think hats are interesting and fun. I disagree with this growing trend of classing all hat-wearing males as douches of one variety or another (although I agree that there are certain types who wear them for the reasons listed in the article).
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2012 [44 favorites]


I literally cannot parse that first sentence. Is it saying male geeks wear fedoras because they don't know how else to deal with feminism?
posted by DU at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing about fedoras is that they're at least somewhat formal, yet people wear them with jorts and t-shirts more often than with a suit. It's like if a woman went around wearing washing-up clothes and a sparkly tiara, or something. It just doesn't make any sense.

It IS fascinating how quickly it became a signifier of Awkward Nerds, and I'd be curious to read a more thoroughly researched article about how that happened. My guess would be that, after fedoras fell out of favor as an everyday item of clothing, they entered the realm of 'costume pieces,' which nerdy people seem to feel comfortable wearing as part of everyday clothing (see also capes, cat ears, etc).
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [21 favorites]


I was under the impression the fedora only carried these particular connotations when accompanied by a ponytail, fingerless gloves and black pleather trench coats. The whole self-pitying misogyny behind the simultaneous complaint of "girls don't want nice guys like me" and "once again, I've been friendzoned" expands far beyond the fedora's brim.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Are you wearing a suit?
Is the weather appropriate for a hat (please at least have the sense to wear it outdoors exclusively)?
Does your hat match or at least correspond with the rest of your clothing?
Are you handsome or interesting looking?

If all of this is true maybe you can get away with wearing an anachronism on your head.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


I think more guys should start wearing miniature top hats, because they amuse me.
posted by elizardbits at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


Relevant. (source)
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:56 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


that article was totally incomprehensible and/or bullshit. my only comment on people wearing hats is, please wear one that fucking fits. anything else goes.
posted by facetious at 10:56 AM on October 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


It's reasonably likely that there will be a significant nuclear exchange between major nations within our lifetimes.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:56 AM on October 2, 2012 [24 favorites]


They are going bald.
It's not exactly the cleverest of ruses.
posted by fullerine at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012


I am so sick and damned tired of worrying about whether I'm allowed to wear a certain thing. Fashion police can go jump off a goddamned cliff. Fedoras are cool.

Also, I am currently wearing brown and black together, and I am rocking it.
posted by jbickers at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012 [61 favorites]


Piling on nerds for trying to look cool but missing the mark is as it always was.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


THAT William Mize: "Here's a question to ask yourself before you walk out the door with your fedora on"

Here's a question to ask yourself before you tell me (or my husband) what to wear:

Are you specialagentwebb or specialagentwebb's husband?

If the answer is "Yes", then you look awesome. Rock that hat.
If the answer is "No", then tell me again why you get to tell me what I should wear?
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012 [59 favorites]




showbiz_liz: "
It IS fascinating how quickly it became a signifier of Awkward Nerds, and I'd be curious to read a more thoroughly researched article about how that happened.
"

I blame Red Hat.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:57 AM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Some of the haberdashery shown seemed suspiciously closer to a Trilby style rather than the classic fedora, but, quibbling aside... I recall being at a Pittsburgh Pirates game at Forbes Field where, I swear, 90% of the men in the stadium were sporting fedoras. My father's business attire was not complete without one, and he actually chose cars based on his ability to enter them and not knock it off.

This is a classic piece of headwear which looks better on some than others, period. Some folks have too much time on their hands.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I enjoy how the article purports to be an overview of the trend towards making fun of men who wear fedoras and instead mostly just makes fun of men who wear fedoras.

And when I say "I enjoy" I mean "I do not enjoy."
posted by incessant at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's like if a woman went around wearing washing-up clothes and a sparkly tiara, or something.

I see nothing wrong with this at all.
posted by elizardbits at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2012 [40 favorites]


That last throwaway makes me now wonder about the transition from women's fashion to men's fashion. Was there a period of time where some young men were wearing fedoras and others were complaining it made them look girly, akin to more recent complaints about long-haired hippies or guys wearing eyeliner?
posted by RobotHero at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The last time I walked into an Urban Outfitters, all the fedoras they sold were piled up carelesslly on one of the display racks with a big "CLEARANCE SALE" sign by them, priced to move as quickly as possible. It was the saddest sight I've ever seen. The end of an era. I weep for all the PUA-wannabes and insecure nerds who aren't being nearly as debonair as they think.

Last weekend, I walked to the front desk of a hotel to check in. A senior citizen couple ahead of me was being chatted up by the hotel's clerk, who appeared to be running PUA tricks on the elderly lady just for fun. The conversation went on for something like 10 minutes, the guy relentlessly running game on her in the most obnoxious way, while I waited and quietly seethed in disbelief. By the end of it the lady was even saying things like "I wish I could take you back to my bed," right in front of her husband, no less.

That dude? Totally wearing a fedora.
posted by naju at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Shh, no-one tell Yahtzee.
posted by Lucien Dark at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love Leigh Alexander. She is always worth reading.

The problem with fedoras is that they are a mask. It's just a way of hiding behind an assumed identity. It's a costume, it's insincere.
posted by empath at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]




If you're going to write an article about how you 'shouldn't' be doing something and then litter it with pictures of people doing this offensive thing you should at least get your subject right; most of the photos are of people wearing trilbys, which is not the same thing.
posted by ZaneJ. at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Here's the secret to wearing a fedora (and its related hats): Unless you are a stage performer, they are formal outerwear. Wear them only with a suit and/or overcoat in weather appropriate conditions, and please remove once indoors.

Yeah, what 2bucksplus said. I hate these fast-moving threads.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Looks like Boing Boing just declared war on the Jones boys.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Life is too short to suffer assholes gladly.

Seriously, wear whatever the fuck you want, and don't listen to the haters.

(And, where the hell did that "Nice Guy" segue come from? Yes, damnit, people who uphold some basic standard of human decency should be able to expect -- at the very least -- that they won't be derided for it.)
posted by schmod at 11:01 AM on October 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


He seems nice to me, you are jealous of his big fedora.

dersins, go eat some cake or something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2007 [+] [!]


by the way of box's MeTa link to 5 years ago. I had to dig to find this gem.
posted by infini at 11:02 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the interest of full disclosure, I own two hats - a lavender sequined cowboy hat and a hot pink gucci pimp hat. Alcohol was involved in both purchases.
posted by elizardbits at 11:02 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just wanted to say that I was a socially awkward nerd wearing a fedora back int he 80's back before all the socially awkward nerds began wearing fedoras. I don't know if that makes me a hipster now, though, since I've been rocking the cabbie hat for a last five years.
posted by charred husk at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I notice that many of these folks seem to be wearing fedoras that don't fit - markedly too small or large.

I also notice that the fedora is either worn as a "wacky" fashion item totally out of keeping with everything else (fedora and a tee shirt?) or worn with misapplied para-traditional men's clothes (dudes wandering around in a vest and trousers but no jacket in sight...just where is this happening? Indoors, there's no need for a hat although you could wander about in shirtsleeves. Outdoors, where's your jacket?) This wouldn't matter so much except that the fedoras are clearly worn as a signature "classy" item which is meant to evoke either the miscellaneous pre-1950s American past or some steampunk alterna-present...in which one would not wear a fedora and a tee shirt, or wander around indoors be-hatted.

Also, are doofy fedoras a white people thing? All the men I know who wear doofy fedoras are white, although I've occasionally run into men of color who wear fedora-type hats as part of a whole outfit.

Is it saying male geeks wear fedoras because they don't know how else to deal with feminism?

It's saying that historically, there's a certain kind of miss-the-mark dandyism that's associated with men who think that they're really special and interesting - far more special and interesting than other men, and especially far more special and interesting than mere women - and who think they are therefore entitled to take up lots of space/get lots of attention/get lots of female attention. Many of these men smirk; many of them have poorly maintained facial hair. (It's like they're really vain, but not self-aware enough to dress attractively or groom their beards). Any woman who hangs around nerds has tales of this type of fellow, and many of us cringe at the sight of a fedora. Frankly, my experience of fedora-wearing women has been different but not much more positive.

Although I freely admit that there's a subclass of genuinely dorky men in hats for which I have a soft spot. A fedora can go either way - it's never the hallmark of young masculine suavity, but I've known some fedora-wearers who weren't self-impressed and whose dorkiness was all about delight in the world rather than entitlement.
posted by Frowner at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2012 [43 favorites]


The fedora draws increasing controversy in internet circles. In just one hour I found no less than three Tumblrs related to shaming people [who wear them]

This writer either:
1) is new at using the Internet to search for things, so be patient, because learning experiences take longer

OR

2) is making up a bullshit trend on the flimsiest of evidence. Hey, hacks have to eat too.
posted by Bwithh at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


(And, where the hell did that "Nice Guy" segue come from? Yes, damnit, people who uphold some basic standard of human decency should be able to expect -- at the very least -- that they won't be derided for it.)

That sentence in the article was very poorly phrased, but I believe it was meant to refer to guys who feel entitled to sex and love from women, just as a reward for showing up and not being overtly mean, and who loudly complain when girls go for 'assholes' (aka, men who are not them) instead.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:05 AM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have several fine hats, and most of them are broad brimmed felt and/or leather fedoras.

And you know what? I look good in them. Being middle-aged and having a craggy face, broken nose and a thick growth of black and grey whiskers will do that for ya. (And it's a good thing, because it doesn't do much anything else but make the hats fit.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I prefer not to get cancer on my head. I am going bald. The NIH says to wear a wide-brimmed hat.

No, mine isn't a fedora. It's an Akubra Cattleman, thankyoverymuch. Why do you want me to get cancer?!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


I've always liked non "popular" hats. Big floppy sun/hiking hats, big goofy straw hats. And fedoras.

I didn't think I looked more "debonair" while wearing them. I'm well aware I looked silly. Haters gonna hate, so fuck them. I like my goofy hats.
posted by chimaera at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm not sure that all fedora wearing men under 40 are calling back to Al Capone. Can't they just be getting fashion advice from 80s movies? Pretty in Pink (IIRC) in particular and John Cusack in general?
posted by DU at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hats are deeply, deeply contextual.

Some months ago, cleaning out the attic at my mother's farm in New Hampshire, I found a straw cowboy hat of surprising quality and unknown provenance. I dusted it off and put it on. Something about it felt right. It just felt right, wearing the cowboy hat while working around the house on a farm in the middle of nowhere, NH. I could wear it without irony or self-consciousness. It was just a thing on my head.

I brought it back to my decaying city in the middle of Connecticut, and found that the previous lack of irony with which I had enjoyed my new hat up on the farm was not available to me in the multiracial, "challenged" neighborhood where I live. It wasn't just a hat here. It was Hat Guy: The Accessory.

I think that hats, and hat guys, suffer from a lack of suitable context for hats.

I also agree that dress hats such as the fedora and trilby are often a mark of the kind of dandyism that frowner is talking about above.
posted by gauche at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2012 [34 favorites]


I have some fedoras. H&M is great for that.
Here's the thing though: you can wear a fedora loose and casual, or you can wear it with a clutching sense of self-seriousness that makes you look like a dork.
As a tossed-on cap to cover a hangover, its awesome.
If youre wearing it because you think youre gonna come across all noir, then yeah youre gonna look like a goofus.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Full disclosure: I own a Fedora, a particularly nice one from Borsalino. I like it.

That said, the Fedora is a hard hat to wear--or perhaps just easy to wear wrong. It's not a casual hat. Don't wear it with a T shirt. If you're not wearing dress shoes, don't wear a Fedora. Don't wear a Fedora in your shirtsleeves; hats are outerwear. Know when to take your hat off. Know what to do with your hat once you've taken it off.

And if you're buying a hat, 1) don't be cheap and 2) enlist the help of a professional. As someone noted above, if you're buying a hat in the discount bin at Urban Outfitters, you're probably buying a bro hat.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


The problem with fedoras is that is apparently impossible to wear one without being like "Hey, I'm wearing a fedora." Subconsciously in some cases, literally in others.
posted by echo target at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2012


At least the flat cap has no such connotations.

If I could only find one I don't look silly in...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And, where the hell did that "Nice Guy" segue come from? Yes, damnit, people who uphold some basic standard of human decency should be able to expect -- at the very least -- that they won't be derided for it.)

"Nice Guys" are not nice.
posted by kmz at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2012 [25 favorites]


The problem with fedoras is that they are a mask. It's just a way of hiding behind an assumed identity. It's a costume, it's insincere.

All clothes are costumes, and that's fine; it's what makes them fun. The thing about costumes is that you wear them for a purpose, to send a particular message about yourself. My clothes today are designed to say "I'm a conservative looking lawyer dude in a sweater, BUT I'm wearing an orange and navy tie because the Bears fucking whooped the Cowboys last night." Sure, not everyone will get the message, but "lawyer Bears fan" is my costume for the day.

The problem with fedoras is that people who pick that costume often do so for reasons that mean they're a assholes. This goes doubly for people who wear them with inappropriate other clothes (i.e. not a suit) because that means they're so committed to the fedora part of the costume that they missed the rest of the context.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:09 AM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Or Molly Ringwald & John Cryer?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:09 AM on October 2, 2012


Online dating requires to to sort wheat from a whole lot of chaff based on what amounts to a personality resume. Considering how people puff, bluster, and outright lie on resumes, and additionally, how outright bad most resumes are regardless of how qualified the person actually is, you start getting very cynical, which makes you start looking for odd signifiers in the hope that they reveal something hidden about the person.

Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but nobody has the time to get to know everyone, so you start rejecting people on the basis of silly things just to save your sanity.
posted by fnerg at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2012


(I say that, btw, as a former "Nice Guy" who is basically horrified at how much of a creepy asshole I used to be.)
posted by kmz at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


To me it's a huge sign that says "Hipster Ahoy" - especially when accompanied with waistcoat and T-Shirt.
posted by panboi at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2012


The problem is that the fedora has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled male nerds whose social inexperience and awkwardness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs. They aren't bad people – they simply need a place from which to draw a sense of manhood, if not from women.

If that's true, I'll eat my hat. The one that looks like an erect cock, obviously.
posted by gallus at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of the sites this article linked to (in particular, the "involuntary flash mob" prank) seemed incredibly cruel and inhumane.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind people being mean to somebody they hate. Life has ever been thus, and conflict is an inherent part of human nature. But if a person has to hate somebody, I'd at least hope that it could be for a good reason, not for something as trivial and shallow as what kind of hat they wear.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:12 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


empath: "The problem with fedoras is that they are a mask. It's just a way of hiding behind an assumed identity. It's a costume, it's insincere."

And, still, programmers wear suits to weddings and job interviews.

It might not be a sincere representation of who you are, but it's (trying to) send a message that you care, and went the extra mile.

And, yes. It seems that a lot of the fedora-wearing crowd doesn't dress up all that often. I think that the author of this article is grasping at straws to make this connection work, though. Sometimes introverts try to make themselves noticed through subtle actions like holding doors, or dressing up a bit nicer than usual for a date or your dating profile pic.

Sometimes a hat is just a hat, and sometimes "nice guys" only just want to make your day better.
posted by schmod at 11:12 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fedoras are over. I want to see some bicornes, bearskins, capotains and tellerbarrets, people!
posted by zamboni at 11:12 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I look good in hats (and without hats as well!) because I smile and am not a brooding self-serious asshole. It is an easy thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2012


I'm amazed at the number of people who apparently think Indy looked like a doofus.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, I'd never wear one, but I did have a pal who used to wear one fairly regularly (particularly when performing on-stage), and in that guy's defense, he actually was/is a pretty nice guy. But geez. Narcissism of small differences much, folks?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


The problem with fedoras is that they are a mask. It's just a way of hiding behind an assumed identity. It's a costume, it's insincere.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ~Oscar Wilde

If the fedora gives confidence to be a jerk... the jerk was always right there.
If the fedora is just a hat... it was always just a hat.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


...so this hat stuff - it's basically all bollocks then innit....
posted by MajorDundee at 11:14 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, they keep their hats on INDOORS? They are not men, not even nerdy men. They are mere savages.
posted by shothotbot at 11:15 AM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Also, I am currently wearing brown and black together, and I am rocking it.

Right on.

I wear socks with sandals all the time, and it has yet to cause any sort of apocalypse.

I bought a fedora because I am bald and pale and prone to sunburn and I hate ballcaps. I don't tend to wear it though.

I miss my ivy cap, which was getting threadbare and was lost in a restaurant. Haven't been able to find one in a suitable size.
posted by Foosnark at 11:17 AM on October 2, 2012


Oops. Never mind me. I'm an idiot.
Quick, use the new edit window!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:17 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heisenberg is actually an evil pork pie hat.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's funny, I was collecting links for a fedora tumblr post a few nights ago and wound up just dumping a bunch of links into G+. Two of which are featured in the article.

I admit to being more amused when I thought thefedorasofOKC.tumblr.com was documenting a trend in Thunder fans to don the dapper cap, and was also thrown off by first seeing the blog on a Top Hat Tuesday ("wait, none of these are fedoras! Who runs this blog? I demand to speak with the manager!").
posted by carsonb at 11:18 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Somehow, with the collection of pictures of really cute guys wearing fedoras and generally looking stupidly adorable, I began to suspect that this article was geared towards trolling fedora wearing men.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:19 AM on October 2, 2012


I don't mind people being mean to somebody they hate.

Like I said, within our lifetimes.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012


shothotbot: "Wait, they keep their hats on INDOORS? They are not men, not even nerdy men. They are mere savages."

My father (a Sikh) was pretty annoyed that someone was rude to him for wearing his turban in some sort of memorial in a church in Germany, until I pointed out that the German dude would be expected to cover his head in a Gurudwara.
posted by vanar sena at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Hats are deeply, deeply contextual.
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think more guys should start wearing miniature top hats, because they amuse me.

Coming to high fashion around 2018 - the male fascinator.
posted by shothotbot at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Boy, that escalated quickly.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh hey, I will tell a tale of my youth in order to illustrate what I mean by "taking up space".

Okay, once I was a young punk college student. Now, I was as unhappy as the dickens, and I did have a part time job, but I was also attending a posh private school in a small town and fundamentally not hurting for money due to both merit and income-based scholarships. My part-time earnings went partially to books, partially to music and partially to thriftstore fashion and hairdye. I really stood out on the street - it wasn't a place with a lot of unusual-looking people.

One day I was walking to the drugstore along a crowded sidewalk. A delivery guy stopped, staring at me. He was pushing a big cart of stuff and I couldn't get by. I waited a moment. He didn't seem to be moving, just staring. I said something like "excuse me, I need to get by". And he snarled at me, "Oh yeah? Well, I need to get by too and some of us have jobs!" Just a really hateful tone of voice.

At the time it was very humiliating and upsetting, and it's true that he was being an asshole.

But I've often thought back on that moment and realized that actually I was expecting to take up a huge amount of space just because I thought I was fundamentally special and creative and the hero of the story. I thought I was waltzing around being interesting, and when I dealt with guys like that guy I thought of it as "being nice to workers" - I didn't have real fellow feeling with other people except other special snowflakes such as myself. Here this guy was, working a lousy low-paid physically tiring job and there came some little college shit, waltzing down the street in her transgressive fashions and funny eyeglasses, living the life of ease on a workday, obviously completely clueless about how easy she had it...I don't blame him for snapping and snarling.

And my clothes reflected that. My clothes were about telling the world that I was more interesting and special than them. Admittedly, I had kind of a shitty childhood and had good cause to build myself a shell, but I'm not proud of how I was back then.

Did my clothes cause me to be that way? Of course not. But my clothes were an accurate reflection of how I was.

That's how I feel about a lot of Guys In Formal Hats.
posted by Frowner at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [54 favorites]


elizardbits: I think more guys should start wearing miniature top hats, because they amuse me.

I like it when the chin strap is too tight and the chin is extra doughy. Yeah!
posted by carsonb at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


And, FWIW, in college I had a black hat that looked a lot like this. I rarely wore it, hats not being a big part of my own personal style, such as it was, but once in a while I did bring it out and my honest recollection is that girls really liked it.

My college was really weird, though, so YMMV.
posted by gauche at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2012


"Wearing a fedora" is one of my dealbreakers. It's literally the only one that isn't a character flaw, is related to fashion, appearance. They've gotten under my since I was a teen/Blues Traveler, and I've tried, more than once to date a fedora wearer. There's no underlying common characteristic other than the hat, but I just can't take it anymore, the cringing every time we are in public. I have met ONE man who could pull off a fedora. Hailed from the bayou, wore a straw fedora. Totally worked it.
posted by peacrow at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2012


We live in Tucson. It's fucking blazing hot and blindingly sunny much of the time. My husband grew up here and he's been having pre-cancerous growths removed from his skin since he was in his mid-30s. He wears a variety of hats, which I fully support, because skin cancer sucks, and he has a few that look like this (but actually nicer) and they look great on him.

Up with hats! Down with skin cancer!
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:22 AM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Fedoras would become much more cool if they were more commonly worn by women.

"Those who cannot remember the fauxminist fragrance commercials of the '70s are condemned to repeat them."

"History repeats, first as a 19th century fashion curiosity, next in a magazine spread looking sort of spunky and surrounded by guys with pool cues in a dentist office magazine that stinks up the room with its cloying sample scratch-n-sniffs, then again as this thing that's sort of cool because we forgot the last repetition but stumbled again upon the first."
posted by mph at 11:22 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually, on closer look, maybe my pal who actually was a pretty nice guy wore a pork-pie hat. That probably explains why my mileage varied in this case.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2012


By the end of it the lady was even saying things like "I wish I could take you back to my bed," right in front of her husband, no less.

That dude? Totally wearing a fedora.


Moral of the story: the fedora works.
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 11:25 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Wearing a fedora" is one of my dealbreakers. It's literally the only one that isn't a character flaw, is related to fashion, appearance.
So you would be cool with guy who always wore a vest?
posted by shothotbot at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012


Hi, I'm one of those blasphemous guys who will wear a (sweater) vest without a jacket. Here's the thing: I like ties because of how a tie and collar frame my face, I'm not gonna wear a tie without outerwear to keep it in place, but I'm in graduate school, where wearing a jacket every day would look downright ridiculous. Plus, I live in Seattle, where 9 months out of the year it's just cold enough that your core might get a little chilly when you walk outside, but not cold enough that you want a bunch of wool around. Therefore: shirt, tie, sweater vest, nice jeans. Uniform complete.

I also wear a fedora, along with a couple of ball caps. Why a fedora? Because in Seattle (again), it's always raining: not a lot, just enough that having water falling into your eyes when walking is a pinch uncomfortable. So, I've got ball caps for casual days and the fedora for formal ones. I measured my head (which is outrageously large), ordered real hats from a real haberdasher, and have them around primarily for ill weather. Other then, perhaps, a Panama in the summertime, the brim on a Fedora is about the only formal hat that's going to protect me from the rain.

It's really important to talk about the nice guy syndrome, and dudes not being creeps, but one of the negative consequences that has befalled me is a huge amount of doublethink that I go through in order to not be that guy. I find myself checking for Nice Guy Syndrome constantly, even in moments where it doesn't make sense, like when I'm sitting by myself not talking to anyone, let alone hitting on or faux-not-hitting-on women. And I don't like the idea that this double think could creep into my hats. I don't think I'm a special snowflake. I don't want to project my uniqueness into the world. I don't think I'm entitled to women sleeping with me. The hat doesn't say "Federal Body Inspector" on it. I just want to keep the damn rain out of my eyes.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


The Whelk: "Also Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience."

Also the odd bald, shaven-headed straight man.

*waves*
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was tempted when Raiders came out because what could possible say male power better than Indy's hat? But in the end I stayed with old reliable (towel cape, footie pajamas, underware on the outside.) If it's good enough for Kal-El it's good enough for me.
posted by jfuller at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sweater vests have the Adorable Professor Clause which allows you to wear them without a jacket if need be.
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah this article strikes me as a poorly argued reach. Its tendentious conclusion:

"Funny-- a hat emblematic of privilege-denial in geekdom wasn't even cut for dudes."

(Italics are mine -- the connections given between fedoras and "privelege-denial in geekdom" are made using just suggestion, just a tissue of loose associations. There is no argument, there is no research. It is not convincing in any sense. And while the article makes some gestures of compassion towards the targets of the "meanness" it describes, I think it is likely to simply embolden the culture of unempathetic nastiness it surveys.)

The article I want to read is a cultural history of the ideas and assumptions that this essay takes for granted and regurgitated whole: how did we come to "know" what we think we know about fedoras, "nice guys," and the "friend zone?" The writer here is basically just spinning together conventional wisdom on those subjects. Where does the conventional wisdom come from?
posted by grobstein at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


This thing about "fedoras don't look good on anyone" is nonsense. They wouldn't have been fashionable for decades if they didn't look good.

My SO looks wonderful in a fedora. He does usually pair it with a tie and a suit jacket, if not a full suit.

But he's upset, because all he can seem to find these days are trillbies and he looks better in a wider brim.

Also, we don't live in a basement, but if the rents in Toronto go on as they do, we will be soon. We just need to make sure we have enough room to RPG.
posted by jb at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience.

And college professors - my dad always wears one. One of my dogs growled at him for the first few months we had her. Apparently she hates men in flat caps.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2012


kmz: "(I say that, btw, as a former "Nice Guy" who is basically horrified at how much of a creepy asshole I used to be.)"

But it's a tricky spot to be in, right?

You're shy. You're not going to win anybody over purely based off of your looks, and yet you have numerous female friends. Also, deep down, you're somebody who really does like to help others, regardless of whether or not it'll eventually benefit you in some way.

Your intentions aren't bad -- certainly no worse than the PUA who's pretending to be a nice guy (which I think is why people now find "nice guys" to be creepy).

Where do you go from there? Dating is hard, frustrating, and confusing for introverts, and though there's nothing wrong with the "friend zone," it's a deeply aggravating place to get caught.

I'm not sure that I buy the notion of "Nice Guy entitlement." I'm sure it exists somewhere, but I'm hard pressed to label it as an archetype (and I'm not talking about guys who do favors for girls with the explicit expectation of some kind of reciprocation -- those people aren't introverts and it's really just a whole separate issue). However, I do think that there might be some "nice guy frustration," due to the fact that our culture seems to value assholes who view women as objects.

If a guy wears a fedora and thinks that women should be treated well, why do we need to assume that he's entitled and subscribes to a deeply anachronistic worldview?
posted by schmod at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


Wondering what to do with your fedora, now that the scorn of tumblr has rendered it unwearable? The only solution: Go Jughead.
posted by zamboni at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Just be yourself" so that we can make fun of you online!
posted by mattbucher at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'll be honest: I've always liked to wear hats, from my very earliest days. In the last ten years or so it's mostly been a baseball cap (I've had to retire my most recent Mets cap since it literally fell apart), but I also occasionally wear a cheap flatcap and a straw trilby. I wear them mostly because I buzz my hair really short and I don't want skin cancer on my head and because they keep the sun out of my eyes.

You may also note the ridiculous hat in my profile picture; I complimented my father-in-law's (admittedly-sweet) hat one day, so he bought me one like it. I do wear it in the summertime occasionally because it keeps the sun off.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:28 AM on October 2, 2012


I have embraced my old guy self and own a couple of very nice fedoras I wear on formal occasions. So far the only downside is that I am called "dapper."
I think I look like someones aging but once cool uncle. I hope I'm right.
posted by cccorlew at 11:28 AM on October 2, 2012


Okay, I have a number of hats. I do not wear baseball caps, ever, as they seem far too little-boyish for a 40-year old to wear. Amongst them is one wide-brimmed straw hat for summer, and one wide-brimmed felt hat that I wear hiking, camping, canoeing, etc. I wear these to keep the sun off my head. Skin cancer is in my family; my dad just had to have the top of one of his ears removed, likely from NOT wearing a wide-brimmed hat in the sun.

So, in conclusion, fuck you, hat-haters.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:28 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Whelk: "Also Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience."

They are classic North-East Farmer -- my SO also looks great in his tweed flatcap, just like his Lincolnshire grandfather.
posted by jb at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2012


Hate hats, hate caps, almost quit the team when the league made me wear a baseball cap.

Love seeing them roll down the street in a wind, though.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2012


I am certain that, if asked, the author would probably see themselves as a fairly non-judgemental live-and-let-live person. Except evidently when it comes to misogynist hats.

If anything, the urban threshold for things to tut tut about seems to be getting lower. It would be nice if people cared about somewhat more important things, but that's just a personal preference.
posted by vanar sena at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fedoras of OKCupid.

....Those are top hats, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about homburgs? Are they OK, assuming your overcoat's not too long?
posted by anthom at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2012


I blame XKCD for the fedora trend.
posted by ymgve at 11:32 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to see some bicornes,

Yes but then we have to battle endlessly over whether they should be worn fore-and-aft or athwartships.
posted by elizardbits at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Flat caps (and ascot caps and "newsboy" caps while we're at it) work as an alternative to the baseball cap and are still casual. That's important, since the reign of the baseball cap seems to have blotted out the memory of all other hats, fedoras excepted.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2012


Bicornes- do you prefer "athwart" or "fore-and-aft"
posted by MtDewd at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The issue in my mind isn't whether the headgear is a fedora. It's that the person wearing it is doing so only for a) hipster points b) perceived cool factor or c) other miscellaneous BS reason which I can see right through.

Wear the damn thing because YOU want to and not because you think it meets some bingo-game point criteria for reaching a certain level of cred.
posted by Leezie at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


....Those are top hats, though.

"Who runs this blog? I demand to speak with the manager!"
posted by zamboni at 11:34 AM on October 2, 2012


The Whelk: "I'm so happy the reign of baseball caps is finally over."

I did not get this memo.
posted by samizdat at 11:34 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think more guys should start wearing miniature top hats, because they amuse me.

I have a bowler hat that is about an inch high. I got it off a gin bottle, and i had to glue a bobby pin to the bottom so that it will stay on my head. With a little practice, I even managed to learn to doff it.

Will that do?
posted by mrgoat at 11:35 AM on October 2, 2012


hey mrgoat you're wearing my stuffed donkey's hat. Give it back.
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on October 2, 2012


The loveliness of Paris
Seems somehow sadly gay (...erm..)
The glory that was Rome
Is of another day
I've been terribly alone
And forgotten in Manhattan
I'm going home to my city by the bay.

I left my hat in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me.
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars!
The morning fog may chill the air
I don't care!
My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me!

posted by gallus at 11:36 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


schmod: "If a guy wears a fedora and thinks that women should be treated well, why do we need to assume that he's entitled and subscribes to a deeply anachronistic worldview?"

This. Very much this.

Because of aforementioned uniform, people usually assume I'm much more socially conservative than I actually am, which falls well under "assumes facts not in evidence." I dress the way I do because I like the way it looks on me, period. You know who I think should wear pants, or fedoras, or neckties, or dresses, or fucking cravats? Anybody - regardless of gender identity - who wants to. Period.

Until you hear me say "dame" in earnestness, don't assume I'm walking around the world calling every women I meet one. Until you see me conspicuously only holding doors open for women, don't assume I'm not just doing it out of reflexive habit, or to be nice.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


But it's raining out. I need it to keep one square inch of my hair dry!
posted by mrgoat at 11:37 AM on October 2, 2012


Where do you go from there? Dating is hard, frustrating, and confusing for introverts, and though there's nothing wrong with the "friend zone," it's a deeply aggravating place to get caught.

You relax, be yourself, stay in shape (or at least maintain good hygiene), do something worth while with your life, and wait for a girl you like to be attracted to you. Some girls actually prefer the company of shy, nerdy introverts, and will pick YOU up, though you may need to be willing to go out with a less-conventionally attractive girl. So many 'friend-zoned' guys pine over their most superficial but attractive female friends while ignoring the girls they know who wear less make up or that don't go to the gym, when they're no adonis themselves.
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on October 2, 2012 [23 favorites]


I am certain that, if asked, the author would probably see themselves as a fairly non-judgemental live-and-let-live person.

Yeah, I bet so, too. Except he seems to hate a foolish-looking hat, which can indicate anything from naivete, to devil-may-care abandon, to sleaze, a lot more than he hates a fucking flash mob put together to humiliate some awkward guy for for his stupid fashion choices. The whole article just makes me want to go barricade myself into a misanthropist cave, in the friend zone with an HK417.
posted by tyllwin at 11:38 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to wear a fedora, and sometimes a tweed flat cap when I was an undergrad back in the early 90s. That was only the beginning of my fashion transgressions. Just recently, I have twice gone to fancy parties wearing the much-maligned button-up vest sans jacket. I got compliments, and felt good, so raspberries to anyone who wants to cramp my style. :)
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:38 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


always wore a vest?

I don't know, never tried it! I might be really into it!
posted by peacrow at 11:40 AM on October 2, 2012


I have seen a mefite in a fedora and the worst thing he did was eat a twinkie in my presence.
posted by elizardbits at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over 125 comments and no Linux jokes? Lame.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wore a tweed fedora my freshman year of college, nearly twenty years ago. I'd picked it up from my high school theater department's costume shop on my way out, and thought the plaid look was very nice indeed. It also kept my head dry in the rain. This was the age of bandanas and drug rugs, so nobody else was wearing one. This made it unique! There were none of today's aspersions cast upon the hat and its wearer, which was fortunate.

There was, however, somebody at a party who took one look at the gormless long-haired youth happily wearing his fedora and blurted out "Hey, you look like Mr. Furley from Three's Company!" This person quickly hustled me into a game of shots and quarters. The house rules stated that if you successfully bounced your quarter into the shot glass, you got to pick who drank and then take an extra turn. If you missed, you had to drink and the game moved on to the next player. The whole shebang turned out to be rigged, and the young fedora-wearing Spatchel suddenly found himself the only opponent at the table when the dorm's champion player was up. I remember the game sounding like this:

Clink. "Furley."
Clink. "Furley."
Clink. "Furley."
Clink. "Furley."

And so on until I had a new nickname and, the next morning, my first hangover.

I gave the hat to somebody else, who wore it better than I ever could.
posted by Spatch at 11:42 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


elizardbits: I have seen a mefite in a fedora and the worst thing he did was eat a twinkie in my presence.

You're just angry he didn't supplicate and offer to appease you with the twinkie.
posted by carsonb at 11:42 AM on October 2, 2012


There is sort of a general trend in nerd-punching: males should be punished for unsuccessful attempts to attract the other sex.

Sometimes this is sensible -- stalking and creeping should be criticized, even if they come from an "innocent" place.

But in this case, mere ineptitude (at worst) is being held up for public mockery. Much of the article is an attempt to dress this nerd-punching up as somehow righteous, via all the nebulous associations between hats, "nice guys," and anti-feminist backlash. "It's okay to ridicule these innocent, private guys who are just looking for a date, because they are just like 'nice guys,' who we all know are not nice!"
posted by grobstein at 11:44 AM on October 2, 2012 [22 favorites]


Fedoras are just one of those things, like utilikilts - yeah it's just an article of clothing, but on the other hand, very frequently they tend to be worn by some pretty amazingly tedious people.

The fedora in particular, especially when worn indoors or with a tee-shirt and jorts, feels too much like an affectation, as though "wears a hat" is a character trait. Like, hey, I'm that guy who wears a fedora or trilby or whatever other piece of dressy outerwear, and you imagine that your acquaintances refer to you as that guy with the hat. It's like giving yourself a nickname and then introducing yourself by it to people who can tell you gave it to yourself.

And there's nothing intrinsic about the fedora that makes a person look like one of these people, it's just that a lot of people who are like this, they latch on to the fedora so it's a guilt by association sort of thing.

And yeah, Indy looked cool in it. Johnny Depp looks cool in it. But putting one on does not make a guy look cool in the same way. It's mistaking the cart for the horse. Some famous dudes have the bone structure to make a fedora look good. They'd make anything look good. The effect is not quite the same when it's topping off a patchy vandyke and triple chin and a tee-shirt you got for free at a trade show.

And hey, maybe you've got a fedora and you're certain it looks pretty great on you and you are not one of those people. Cool! Then don't worry about it. My apprehension will be slightly lessened if you're coordinating it with the other things you're wearing, and it will then disappear entirely if we talk for five minutes and you still haven't mentioned your My Little Pony crossover fanfiction or Linux or whatever thing. "Ah, this is not one of those people," I will think, and that is that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:44 AM on October 2, 2012 [27 favorites]


If you are not Sinatra, but you are Willie Brown, you may wear a fedora. Otherwise, no.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:45 AM on October 2, 2012


schmod, I can't be sure I'm reading you correctly, but this is a thing that seems to be conflated in this thread and the definitions are kind of important.

There's 'Nice Guys' and then there are actual nice guys. The 'Nice Guys' are the ones who--basically by definition--have the entitlement syndrome. Those are the guys people are talking about when they say Nice Guys on the internet, generally speaking.

No one has a problem with guys who are actually nice. People have problems with guys who seem to think, to borrow a phrase, that girls are a machine that you put kindness coins in until sex comes out.

Your last sentence though?

If a guy wears a fedora and thinks that women should be treated well, why do we need to assume that he's entitled and subscribes to a deeply anachronistic worldview?

I totally agree. The fedora connection is unfortunate and a little disheartening. I can't deny that I've met some quirky hat-wearing fellows who have been this exact definition of creepy, but I've met plenty of lovely quirky hat-wearing fellows as well, so.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER: " feels too much like an affectation"

All clothing chosen for any reason besides comfort or vocation is an affectation.
posted by vanar sena at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


“fedora” came into parlance when Sarah Bernhardt played the title character in Fédora, an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou. That sort of felt hat was a women’s fashion item, and did not become popular among men until the late 19th century.

A surprising number of clothing items are named for characters in plays.

See also the Peter Pan collar, which first came to prominence as part of the Peter Pan costume in an early production of the play.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 AM on October 2, 2012


I have a cold house and a cold office, and in the winter I wear a gray wool Filson vest in dark gray.

Let he who is without a shortage of winter heating cast the first stone.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


All clothing chosen for any reason besides comfort or vocation is an affectation.

I don't think that wearing too-tight skinny jeans and wearing a fur-trimmed velvet robe are on the same level of 'affectation' though. I think we're just disagreeing on where fedoras fall on that spectrum.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am now going to reread this thread while pretending every person in it is wearing a cutaway jacket.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sweater vests have the Adorable Professor Clause which allows you to wear them without a jacket if need be.

Whelk, what about the Santorum Lemma?
posted by The Michael The at 11:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


wenestvedt: "I have a cold house and a cold office, and in the winter I wear a gray wool Filson vest in dark gray. "

Man, those things are beautiful. I've seen a couple of vintage ones in the wild and, rest assured, you'll go before that vest does. Given how well they're built, I'm also 65% sure that you could get shot in one and not even fall down.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


in the friend zone with an HK417.

This meatbag would prefer HK-47 for company.
posted by kmz at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]



Whelk, what about the Santorum Lemma?

Sweater vests are stronger than he is. He can do no damage to them.
posted by The Whelk at 11:56 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think that wearing too-tight skinny jeans and wearing a fur-trimmed velvet robe are on the same level of 'affectation' though.

What if you're wearing both together, plus the tiara?
posted by elizardbits at 11:56 AM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]




Q: I wear a hollowed-out pumpkin over my head when I go to parties
posted by shakespeherian at 11:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fuck it, I'm just wearing druid robes 24/7 from here on out.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:59 AM on October 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


Nerd punching Fedoras is so over. The next thing to mock is Tilley hat aficionados.
posted by benzenedream at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2012


Men should just look to Jon Hamm as a style icon and do what he does. Would he just randomly wear a fedora in a serious way? I don't think so.

And they ought to dump Esquire and GQ and just get a monthly subscription to Jon Hamm Style magazine. Not Don Draper, Jon Hamm.
posted by discopolo at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2012


six-or-six-thirty: "No one has a problem with guys who are actually nice. People have problems with guys who seem to think, to borrow a phrase, that girls are a machine that you put kindness coins in until sex comes out."

Okay, well, that is creepy.

I guess I was more reacting to the fact that our society seems to love thumbing its nose at guys who try to win girls over with kindness. It seemed like the author was specifically doing this to a particularly vulnerable subset of guys (namely, the socially awkward ones who usually don't dress well). Yes, "chivalry" actually can be kind of sexist, but I was disappointed to see this particular argument being made by a feminist.

Also: BoingBoing and Metafilter probably wouldn't print an article where a man discussed and stereotyped women's behavior based upon how they dressed. Double standards are bad.
posted by schmod at 12:01 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


My theory about the rise of the fedora is that it took place around the same time that "nerd glasses" became popular in the mainstream. Once that happened, nerds needed a new accessory to signify that we didn't know how to fucking dress ourselves. Hence, the fedora.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:02 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


All clothing chosen for any reason besides comfort or vocation is an affectation.

Yes - but there is an acceptable level of background affectation. Wearing the tee-shirt of the band you like is an affectation, but so is wearing a cloak with khaki shorts and sneakers.

Either decision announces something about you to the world, yes, but either one says something very different.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:03 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hatters gonna hat.
posted by Graygorey at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


Don't get the hate. A lot of these guys look like idiots, but it isn't because of the hat. Many of them look just fine. A couple, the hat really suits them. As for the hat being a symbol of manhood, in so far as that's not just bullshit on the face of it, I fail to see what's wrong with that. The girl who runs the Fedoras of OKCupid blog? She writes like a moron. Yay humanity.
posted by deo rei at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2012


Many of these men smirk; many of them have poorly maintained facial hair. (It's like they're really vain, but not self-aware enough to dress attractively or groom their beards). Any woman who hangs around nerds has tales of this type of fellow, and many of us cringe at the sight of a fedora.

BING.O. I dated exactly this guy in college. I should not have. He was a rebound from someone I loved but knew I didn't have a future with; I had difficulty leaving him and took the easy way out by rebounding.

How I convinced myself to do this, I don't know. Not only was the fedora everpresent, it was his internet username. It was LEATHER. He had the poorly maintained facial hair (and a mullet), the smirk, the trench coat (too small), and otherwise shapeless/ugly clothing. He tripped a metal detector at an airport (back in the days when you could pick someone up at the gate) with a Star Trek communicator in his pocket. Fancied himself a poet. Had a slight lisp.
Grew up to be a Civil War reenactor.

I love nerds. But nerds with fedoras--oh boy. They're a specimen unto themselves.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:05 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


“fedora” came into parlance when Sarah Bernhardt played the title character in Fédora, an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou. That sort of felt hat was a women’s fashion item, and did not become popular among men until the late 19th century.

This is pretty interesting, because off the top of my head (ugh, horrible pun withheld), I can't think of a lot of other fashion accessories or trends that have successfully originated with women and transitioned over to being popular with men. There are a number of counterexamples in the opposite direction (pants perhaps being the primary example), but very few female -> male fashion trends that aren't limited strictly to a small subculture.

If the female origins of the fedora are correct, then I think that makes the fedora one of a very few mainstream (or mainstream at one point in time) male fashion accessories that began as female clothing items.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wearing the tee-shirt of the band you like is an affectation, but so is wearing a cloak with khaki shorts and sneakers.

Previously:

Can I wear this cape?

SPOILER: op decided not to get a cape but I decided to get a cape
posted by Greg Nog at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


When deciding how to represent themselves in a dating profile, why wouldn’t they cling to a fashion emblem from a bygone age, a time when guy was just a guy and a doll was just a doll? A fashion which recalls Frank Sinatra and Al Capone, a conventional masculinity marked by elegant detachment and an appeal to women that remains decidedly independent of their approval?

Oh yes, that old time. Women fared so great then, I can't imagine why we'd find your hat-represented personae so objectionable. I can't imagine why you're even on OK Cupid.
posted by itsonreserve at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I picture all the rule makers and hat judgers to be between 15 and 25 years of age. That's probably not accurate.

I guess you just can't judge somebody accurately based on limited information.
posted by stubby phillips at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


SPOILER: op decided not to get a cape but I decided to get a cape

we need a photo of you looming menacingly in said cape Greg.
posted by The Whelk at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2012


Also Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience.

Where I live, I often see them on short, stocky urban Latino guys, usually with facial hair (don't know about the sexuality). That said, I don't automatically associate the flat cap with a "type" the way I do a fedora.

Although--in Britain, apparently the Flat Cap is synonymous with "usually elderly, overly slow driver that one gets stuck behind for far too long." I know I first read that in one of Helen Cresswell's Bagthorpe books, but as I just Googled it I ran into a funny internet conversation thread saying the same damn thing.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2012


So cowboy hats are dead, completely? Even if you go to ye olde country bar?

Wait, maybe those are dead, too.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2012


FAMOUS MONSTER: "Yes - but there is an acceptable level of background affectation.

Acceptable to whom?

Wearing the tee-shirt of the band you like is an affectation, but so is wearing a cloak with khaki shorts and sneakers."

What does the cloak say?

I really want to get to the bottom of this, because the core argument seems to me to be, "you think you look cool like (some cool person), but you don't. You are just lame, so just stop fucking trying. I am going to blog about you, you dork." This is fine to notice and think - and is usually true - but really, having poor taste in clothing is hardly a crime against anyone.
posted by vanar sena at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


More people should do full on 1970s punk.
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nerd-baiting.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]



What does the cloak say?

That you're a wizard, basically.
posted by The Whelk at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Many of them look just fine. A couple, the hat really suits them.
lol nope.
posted by caek at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


benzenedream: "Nerd punching Fedoras is so over. The next thing to mock is Tilley hat aficionados."

I only wear my Tilley when sailing, but even so - any hat that can purportedly pass through an elephant's gastrointestinal tract three times can probably handle your scorn.

(FWIW, I do quite like my Tilley.)
posted by namewithoutwords at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What does the cloak say?

YOU'RE A WIZARD HARRY
posted by shakespeherian at 12:13 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Whelk: "What does the cloak say?

That you're a wizard, basically.
"

Not without the hat. The cloak alone is ambiguous. You could also be a vampire.
posted by vanar sena at 12:14 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


godamnit tim
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wore one of my grandfather's hand-me-down fedoras in high school with then-standard high school attire. Looking back on it, a fedora with jeans and a t-shirt was probably not the best sartorial choice. Of course, kids will be kids and without marginally adventurous choices of costume, men would still be wearing powdered wigs and knee breeches.

I've been known to wear a fedora occasionally with a suit, outdoors, when I feel like it. My now-grown kids groan when they see it. To them, it just confirms the fact that I am old and out of touch. Plus ça change.

The best discussion on the topic that I've read is by George W.S. Trow who wrote an article for the New Yorker in 1980 called "Within the Context of No Context." (Previously) As the article demonstrates, attempts to understand the significance of fedora wearing have been going on for some time.
posted by Sculthorpe at 12:15 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a bowler hat that is about an inch high. I got it off a gin bottle, and i had to glue a bobby pin to the bottom so that it will stay on my head. With a little practice, I even managed to learn to doff it.

Fascinating.
posted by mikurski at 12:15 PM on October 2, 2012


My issue with youngish guys in fedoras is the same issue I had a few years ago when practically every woman under 45 in America seemed to simultaneously start wearing those monstrously huge bug-eyed sunglasses: It's basically an admission that "I am a complete slave to whatever the passing fashion trend of the moment happens to be" (inevitable "*I* was wearing fedoras before they became a hipster affectation" or "My wearing fedoras is completely coincidental to the fact they happen to be popular at the moment" protestations notwithstanding).

In fairness, as my profile pic indicates, I am still stuck in the "baseball cap backwards" stage of hat fashion, showing that I am not immune to fashion trends myself, just slow to realize when they've ended.
posted by The Gooch at 12:15 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


" This is fine to notice and think - and is usually true - but really, having poor taste in clothing is hardly a crime against anyone."

I don't think the argument is that wearing a fedora or any accessory is a crime. And certainly all clothing is an affectation, whatever.

But. There's definitely a point where you cross over from 'dressed in a way that says little else about you to other people' and get into the land of 'I'm making a statement, goddmmit' because of your choice of accessory or attire. Whether that statement is, 'I'm so hip/dapper/RAW' or whatever the statement is being made.

It's not a crime to make the statement, but be aware - it is being made.
posted by Tevin at 12:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


A demi-cape could mark you as either Sherlock Holmes or Kim Newman, depending.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone should make a tv show called "We are the Fa-shun Police".

Or not.

Oh, isn't this a blog about trend stuff? And isn't that a fedora-esque? Look, anecdada, therefore proof of... something (people hate that straw-nerd that lives in their mind that is set up to hate).

But the obsessive preening over the clothes of others as significant towards character of the individual wearing them is going to backfire as if that were exchangeable with actions; rather than the behaviours that are so common, and persist to make toxic environments... (while having 0% to do with the clothing that is racked on the meat sack).

You want to take action in helping to stop creepy guys being creepy? Talk about the behaviors... if you make it as thought only creepy guys wear fedoras, and only fedoras make people creepy... you will a) be dismissed as goofy and obsessed with policing appearances of others who likely don't care what "you" think and b) provide cover for the millions of creeps liars and asses who, *dun dun dun* obviously don't wear a fedora that makes their appearance better, because fedoras are x, and they are a Y-styled creepy, liar, ass (or whatever). Tattoos are only for T, piercings are J, your hair must be this short, beards are this, moustaches are that.... and y'know what, "your" opinion will not even line up with some of the other people who lose their stuff over "the same stuff".

Unless all one wanted to do was body or style-snark, in which case... freedom is as ever, yours for the taking and shaming.

/has never worn a fedora.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:18 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]




So cowboy hats are dead, completely? Even if you go to ye olde country bar?

Wait, maybe those are dead, too.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:11 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


Not where I live. Not by a long shot.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:19 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]




Fer fuck's sake let people wear what they want dammit. No one is deriding your particular choice of asshat are they?
posted by HyperBlue at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: BoingBoing and Metafilter probably wouldn't print an article where a man discussed and stereotyped women's behavior based upon how they dressed. Double standards are bad.

Was.. was that sarcasm? Because otherwise you just honestly said that the internet wouldn't print an article where a man stereotyped women's behaviour based on what they were wearing. Do.. um.. do you read the internet much?
posted by jess at 12:23 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am such a trend-setter that I wore a white fedora before Michael Jackson did.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:23 PM on October 2, 2012


I think Tevin's on the right track. It's not a crime to make a statement with one's clothing; but if you're going to make a statement, please try to have something interesting to say.

Regardless, it's not a crime to make fun of people who fumble their moment on stage (stretching the performance metaphor out of shape), but it isn't attractive, either.
posted by notyou at 12:24 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Because otherwise you just honestly said that the internet wouldn't print an article where a man stereotyped women's behaviour based on what they were wearing."

No she (or he) didn't.
posted by stubby phillips at 12:26 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the issue at hand is that fedoras are worn by people who want to have an iconic thing. James Bond has his martinis, Indiana Jones has his hat/whip, etc. It's the intentional myth-making, which translates to "look at me!" but without good reason for becoming an iconic character; it's mistaking an accessory for personality or interest.

Unrelatedly, I've taken to calling driving/scally caps "beer hats" because every damn person who wears one inevitably loves a home-brewed IPA that's just a little too hoppy.
posted by Turkey Glue at 12:27 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let me throw my "hat" into the ring, so to speak.

My grandfather died when I was seventeen. Now grandpa, he was a real snappy dresser. I remember about a week after the funeral Grandma invited us grand-kids over to the house. There were a number of small things that had been left unclaimed by the siblings and we were told we could each keep a few items to remember him by. I was instantly drawn to a handsome wool hounds-tooth overcoat, custom red leather oxfords, and a brown wool felt fedora. I was captivated by them, swept up in the old-time image and the idea of somehow absorbing something of my beloved grandfather's personality and memory into myself.

Grandma let me take all of them, and threw in a few more great overcoats. All through my junior and senior years in high school --at least during the winter months-- I wore that hat and the hounds tooth overcoat. I treasured them, especially the hat.

This was in the 1990s, and I was the only kid in our 2,000+ public high school who had a fedora. Some of the preppies would occasionally don shitty little fabric Trilby hats from Target, but I was alone in my fedora. A lot of my fellow students thought I was weird, and pretty much all the older teachers thought I was "looking very smart" (my chain-smoking uber-feminist Euro history teacher threatened to steal my hounds-tooth) but this wasn't exactly the kind of accolade I was looking for. It didn't really matter because I really really missed my grandpa and every day I wore that hat was a day I connected with him and carried his legacy with me.

I've always been a nerd/geek/dork/weirdo. Sometimes I tried wearing the hat to college events and such to make me stand among all the much cooler and athletic looking guys. I doubt it ever worked but it did help me to be a little more confident in large groups. Now I'm married and the hat sits atop a bookshelf in my office. I still wear it in the wintertime once in a while.

Just a thought, but: not all who wear fedoras or really, any kind of hat at all, are doing so for obvious or nefarious reasons. Sometimes we're just lonely, or nostalgiac, or we missed our grandpa.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:29 PM on October 2, 2012 [21 favorites]


As a not-particularly-nice introverted socially awkward nerd who has been seen walking around with a trilby, (I even pranced around Paris with the thing. Oh, and posted my picture in an AskMe thread, blissfully unaware what fedoras and similar hats trigger over there.) I have to admit this post and thread triggers a lot of very conflicting feelings.
posted by dominik at 12:29 PM on October 2, 2012


I really want to get to the bottom of this, because the core argument seems to me to be, "you think you look cool like (some cool person), but you don't. You are just lame, so just stop fucking trying. I am going to blog about you, you dork."

Think of it in terms of a volume dial.

Plain t-shirt. Maybe a hoodie or similar nondescript outerwear = Volume Level 2. Mostly inaudible, but there if you notice it.

T-shirt with band logo. Similarly nondescript outerwear as needed for actual weather conditions = Volume level 5. Pleasant background music at a party or cafe.

T-shirt with band logo. Army jacket, Filson hotness, or corduroy blazer with patch pockets. Perhaps a flat cap = Volume level 8. Your favorite song playing at a club or dance party. A matter of taste, but when it works, it really works.

Cape, Fedora, authentic Mexican poncho, or the like = Volume level 11. Actively annoying in most cases that are not a costume of some kind. You are going to need to be a sartorial ninja to pull this off.
posted by Sara C. at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


My Fedora Story by cottoncandybeard:

Two years ago for my birthday, my wife suggested I buy myself a nice new hat. There was a local hat shop we decided to check out, where the very helpful proprietor found the perfect hat that matched my fall and winter coats. It's actually the third one pictured in the link. One day, around the holidays I ran to the mall to buy some presents. Two teens who, IIRC were wearing ICP t-shirts regarded me and said, "How's it going?" and as they turned the corner shouted, "I don't like your hat!"
Like two days later I'm at the same mall, buying a coffee at Barnes and Noble, and the guy in line behind me says, "Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but where did you get that hat?" I told him, and he said, "So, it wasn't a local purchase," and I said that it was, and gave him one of the cards the proprietor had given me to hand to people who asked just this question. Then, when the cashier asked if I was a Barnes and Noble member and I said no, this gentleman said, "But I am," and he swiped his member card so I could take advantage of his discount. So yeah, I felt vindicated.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay. The issue here is that the author is confusing shy nerds who think fedoras are cool with this guy.
posted by schmod at 12:32 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Cape, Fedora, authentic Mexican poncho

I don't understand how a fedora can be simultaneously sold at Target for $12 to every frat dude who wants one and be as sartorially weird as to make you stand out like a freakshow in any context.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


(S)he said: Also: BoingBoing and Metafilter probably wouldn't print an article where a man discussed and stereotyped women's behavior based upon how they dressed. Double standards are bad.

You said: Was.. was that sarcasm? Because otherwise you just honestly said that the internet wouldn't print an article where a man stereotyped women's behaviour based on what they were wearing. Do.. um.. do you read the internet much?


You are misreading the comment rather grievously. The assertion was not that "the Internet" would not "print" such an article, but that "BoingBoing and Metafilter" would not. I doubt that's literally true, actually, but the point being made was that, on the right-thinking liberal websites that we frequent, stereotyping women as bad based on a simple sartorial choice would be rightly seen as improper.
posted by grobstein at 12:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


You know how there are those days in high school when you hear everyone carrying on about what so-and-so is wearing or what music such-and-such listens to and you think "man, won't it be great to be grown up and be able to live in a world where no one is so ridiculously small-minded as to judge people on the basis of such ridiculously trivial things?"

Yeah, it's been a long lifetime of the same rude awakening over and over again.
posted by yoink at 12:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


Doleful Creature, I wear my late grandfather's bowtie. (I also got his WWII dogtags, but nothing else.) I agree that certain items are emotionally valuable enough that I just don't care what other people think.

And most people love the bowtie. I always say it was his, and I hope he hears.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think some of the confusion about the tone of the article comes from the fact that the author referred to "nice guys" without really going in depth about what feminist geeks mean when they talk about Nice Guys on the internet. This was the most straightforward explanation I found in a cursory google session but there is a lot of modern feminist discourse on this phenomenon if you poke around.

For women trying to enter nerdier spaces internet or RL, this is very much a real issue you have to navigate. There is an idea that misogyny/buying into the patriarchy and proliferating it is solely the expertise of meathead jerk types who will openly call women fat or whatever, but the sneaky Nice Guy stuff can be twice as annoying for the very reason many people are protesting; there really are some very nice, friendly gents out there in any community who are respectful and egalitarian, and it can take a few weeks of friendship before the true answer to "which type of nice guy are you?" comes to light. And love your hat or not, 9 times out of 10 if the crappy kind has sent you a his dating profile or friended you, you can find a picture of him posing with a fedora. Feminist geeks who have taken to mocking the hat aren't trying to be mean fashion police: it's an unfortunate consequence for the fedora that it has become shorthand for this type of guy, (e.g. "That guy from the Who forum asked me out, and when I told him I had a boyfriend he threw a hissy fit and whined about having been friendzoned. What a fedora.")
posted by itsonreserve at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I also notice that the fedora is either worn as a "wacky" fashion item totally out of keeping with everything else
...
very frequently they tend to be worn by some pretty amazingly tedious people.
...
Actively annoying in most cases that are not a costume of some kind.


Totally, Amazingly, Actively: just three of the many adverbs used to describe my superb sense of style.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Adjective: just one of the nouns used to mean 'adverb.'
posted by shakespeherian at 12:38 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Am I the only one who remembers fedoras being in the LucasArts catalog next to the Indy VHS boxed sets, scale models of the Millenium Falcon, and Sam And Max games?

Pretty sure that's the moment they shifted from Frank Sinatra retro cool to ubergeek signifier.
posted by Sara C. at 12:38 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how a fedora can be simultaneously sold at Target for $12 to every frat dude who wants one and be as sartorially weird as to make you stand out like a freakshow in any context.

I think the brodora will disappear soon, but nerds will continue wearing Fedoras (poorly) because Indiana Jones wore one.

The simultaneously cool/uncool status is a style anomaly of the moment.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:39 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actual Fashion, Greg Nog.
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Am I the only one who remembers fedoras being in the LucasArts catalog next to the Indy VHS boxed sets, scale models of the Millenium Falcon, and Sam And Max games?"

Jesus take the wheel ... as I go careening through my memory lanes to the point in my childhood where my sweaty palms eagerly greased up that delectable glossy and pined for all the treasures therein.
posted by Tevin at 12:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]




but I've known some fedora-wearers who weren't self-impressed and whose dorkiness was all about delight in the world rather than entitlement.

It's almost like you can't judge a guy's character based on his hat.

You can still judge his fashion sense.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:42 PM on October 2, 2012


I don't understand how a fedora can be simultaneously sold at Target for $12 to every frat dude who wants one and be as sartorially weird as to make you stand out like a freakshow in any context.

Those aren't fedoras.

I think the average trilby or homburg or whatever can be just fine, as long as it's worn in context and with a bit of flair. The super cheap ones they sell at Target are unfortunate, but there's nothing wrong with cashing in on a trend in a sort of unfortunate big box store kind of way.

I, myself, have a $15 Urban Outfitters trilby that I wear to protect against the sun. I would never wear it indoors, on a cloudy day, or as some kind of fashion statement. Because it's not a fashion statement. It's a cheap sun hat.
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"9 times out of 10"
posted by stubby phillips at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2012


I think the issue at hand is that fedoras are worn by people who want to have an iconic thing.

-maybe, or not though. Hardly a good basis on which to mock someone (unless that is one's thing, but it is a pretty ugly style and it is going out of fashion this season).

Actually, I just read the whole blog, and, since I "defended the right to wear a stupid hat", I am nearly equivalent to people who shout about their "right to make rape jokes", I see what was done there. Hard to critique an article that ends with this gambit.

No, not confused about the "nice guy" thing, just irritated like other people who actually think that behavior of creepiness is toxic, and that seeing it conflated with some superficial, trivial to the point of a pin-head, unrelated to actions or behaviour issue is deeply annoying, and it does a disservice to people trying to end that toxic creep behavior stuff.

It also makes people on the "borderline" between just being a little clueless, and "being a jerk or creep" harder to reach out to, or to point out the gulf of difference between "style choices", and "actual lived behaviour".

Also, body/style snarking is highschool crap, best left to adolescents and the pretentious (speaking of choices like behaviour or hat style designed 'solely' to be "drawing attention to 'me me me"...
posted by infinite intimation at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really want to get to the bottom of this, because the core argument seems to me to be, "you think you look cool like (some cool person), but you don't. You are just lame, so just stop fucking trying. I am going to blog about you, you dork." This is fine to notice and think - and is usually true - but really, having poor taste in clothing is hardly a crime against anyone.

See, what you're saying here is what I said above. If I see a dude in a fedora and cargo shorts and a black t-shirt with white lettering that says THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE 127.0.0.1, I - because of past experience dealing with this sort of luminary - just sort of tend to mentally file that person into the category of "probably kind of tedious to deal with for various reasons," and subsequent experience tends to suggest that I'm right about ninety-nine percent of the time (and the other one percent, I find, is that they're someone who's fundamentally pretty cool to talk to but is still sort of growing and feeling out the process of being comfortable in their own skin). In other words, as you say, it's something I notice and think and it's usually true.

What I'm saying and what a lot of others are saying is that these clothing choices tend to be visual signifiers latched onto by a certain mindset. It's not about whether fedoras are cool or not. Cool is an attitude, not an article of clothing, and not really what's being talked about here.

And I think, as you think, that it's no crime - just an observation. A lot of people mistake an accessory for personality. The world keeps turning.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]




Also: BoingBoing and Metafilter probably wouldn't print an article where a man discussed and stereotyped women's behavior based upon how they dressed. Double standards are bad.

Was.. was that sarcasm? Because otherwise you just honestly said that the internet wouldn't print an article where a man stereotyped women's behaviour based on what they were wearing. Do.. um.. do you read the internet much?
posted by jess at 12:23 PM on October 2


I get what you're saying, but metafilter has been pretty good about that in the past, and thankfully nuked "People from Walmart" when it popped up.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:45 PM on October 2, 2012


"about ninety-nine percent of the time"
posted by stubby phillips at 12:47 PM on October 2, 2012


The other day I watched the youtube of John Lilly on Thinking Allowed. He was wearing a red jumpsuit and a huge coonskin cap. He looked really high. Google tells me a coonskin cap is like 120 dollars. I really wanted to get one until I found that out.
posted by bukvich at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER: "And I think, as you think, that it's no crime - just an observation. A lot of people mistake an accessory for personality. The world keeps turning."

Sure, but that's not what the article is about though, which is actively conflating a piece of headgear with creepy misogyny. Basically, what I'm saying is that if you look at a guy wearing a fedora and blog about him being a creepy dude who doesn't understand women, you are a superficial person whose brain hasn't quite graduated high school.

I don't need a lesson in how the world works when it comes to judging people on appearance and body language, it's a lesson we all learn the hard way every day. Humans are poorer judges of character than we think, and this article is that taken to pretty toxic degree.
posted by vanar sena at 12:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also: While I maintain that bad ideas about fashion are no crime, there is this one guy in Cambridge (though I haven't seen him in a while now, so who knows) who I used to see around town all the time, walking around in a utilikilt and cloak (with hood up sometimes), with white sneakers. He used to sit by himself in the corner of whatever eatery, really ostentatiously writing in a book of some kind and occasionally staring really inappropriately at women who walked by.

Again, not a crime, but if it were possible to die of douche chills, this dude would be Typhoid Mary.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:57 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


If I see a dude in a fedora and cargo shorts and a black t-shirt with white lettering that says THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE 127.0.0.1, I - because of past experience dealing with this sort of luminary - just sort of tend to mentally file that person into the category of "probably kind of tedious to deal with for various reasons," and subsequent experience tends to suggest that I'm right about ninety-nine percent of the time

The problem with this is that if you decide that almost anyone is "probably kind of tedious to deal with for various reasons" you're not very likely to have your hypothesis disproved. For a start, most people are kind of tedious to deal with for various reasons: the people we really like are a tiny subset of the total set of people we encounter. And then if you decide that someone's an asshole before you've even spoken to them, you're really not very likely to have a wonderful encounter with that person. Every sociological study imaginable will show us that we tend to project our prejudices pretty strongly onto whatever behavior someone exhibits to us. So all you're really saying is that you're strongly prejudiced and that your experience is pretty much exactly what you would expect the experience of a strongly prejudiced person to be. There really isn't, experientially, any difference between "I'm a good judge of character and my judgments tend to be confirmed by experience" and "I'm a deeply prejudiced person and I let those prejudices profoundly color my experiences."
posted by yoink at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


vanar sena I think the article is pretty poorly written, however, I DO think it's worth exploring why fedora might perceived as a creepcessory.

I think that's what the writer of the article was trying to do, but they somehow managed to go about it in the most confusing way possible.
posted by Tevin at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2012


"The other day I watched the youtube of John Lilly on Thinking Allowed. He was wearing a red jumpsuit and a huge coonskin cap. He looked really high."

Well I LOL'd.

This is not only one of the 11 best comments eVER, but it's universal, and better than any Fedora. It could show up in any thread and fit right in. Well played Sir!
(Or Madam, as the case may be.)

posted by sneebler at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, stubby, about 90 percent of the time in my personal history.

About 90% of the time, when a man whom I am getting to know on the internet turns out to be pedestal placing, whining, entitled jerk, I can find a photo of him mugging for the camera with a fedora cocked to the side, gripping it's brim. I'm not actively walking the streets looking for people wearing a hat to be wary of--we're talking about the profile picture here. Just like seeing a guy choose a bathroom mirror photo with a popped color and a solo cup, or a young lady baring cleavage and sexy duck face from an above angle has a connotation to the viewer when a person chooses it to represent them online, so too does the mugging fedora profile picture. These women are not merely praying upon a fashion choice or trying to shut out the possibility of friendship, they have noticed a pattern among people who present themselves that way and find it more negative to their psyche than positive. Starting a mockery blog may take it a bit too far and the author themselves notes it's mean-spirited, but the women of the internet did not hold a council meeting and decide to to start making fun of everyone's hat choice. Getting to know others is an exhausting exercise for geeks of all genders.

Not to mention, if you are actually a nice guy who enjoys a fedora, it isn't exactly a deal breaker.
posted by itsonreserve at 1:03 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


...the women of the internet did not hold a council meeting and decide to to start making fun of everyone's hat choice.

So what was on the agenda then?
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:06 PM on October 2, 2012


Nine times out of ten it's confirmation bias, in my experience.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:07 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let me put it another way: The dude in a fedora and black shirt with white writing that has a nerdy saying on it is someone who (in my experience) is really likely to be tedious in a very specific way. If it makes me strongly prejudiced that I've learned to identify the most common visual signifiers of the sort of person whose sense of humor is confined almost exclusively to quoting Internet memes and who talks about terrible webcomics like there's a bomb nearby that'll go off the moment there's no one in the room talking about terrible webcomics, I actually don't have a huge problem with that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:07 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Whelk: "I'm so happy the reign of baseball caps is finally over."

You obviously don't live in Madison :\
posted by symbioid at 1:08 PM on October 2, 2012


I'm sort of sick of the trope that dorks are particularly misogynist. I think it's a sort of 'just world' fallacy. Women don't typically like dorks and lots of dorks are lonely so it must be their fault for being bad people. I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks. It seems way more likely that rather than women being justified for disliking dorks as stealth misogynists, women don't like dorks for being dorks and they don't need any justification. They can be attracted to whoever they want and prioritize niceness as highly or lowly as they care to just like men do. No need to blame the victim here.
posted by I Foody at 1:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Nerd punching Fedoras is so over. The next thing to mock is Tilley hat aficionados.

Tilley AirFlo, baby! Accept no substitutes.
posted by Zed at 1:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tevin: "however, I DO think it's worth exploring why fedora might perceived as a creepcessory."

To make a horribly tortured analogy, this would be similar to exploring why wearing a turban might be perceived as a cab driver accessory.

I've personally had some experience with that one in the past, and it gets pretty old.
posted by vanar sena at 1:11 PM on October 2, 2012


What kind of person am I: baseball cap (Os, backwards, indoors), black polo (Deadpool logo), 511 tactical pants, black Clarks work boots.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2012


I go away to watch The Great British Bake Off and when I come back there are another 100 posts on this thread. Did somebody touch a nerve?
posted by pharm at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2012


No need to blame the victim here.
posted by I Foody at 1:10 PM on October 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


Having a difficult time with women does not make one a victim. That sense of entitlement is part of why the "nice guy" is subject to so much criticism.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


I agree, Foody. There's nothing creepy about a particular man wanting to have sexual relations with a particular woman. It's frequently described as creepy when the woman does not want to have sexual relations with the man. This isn't feminism. It's sexism.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quick question - does a large sparkly purple pimp hat count as a fedora? It's the same look on top, but the brim is much broader.

I'm, um... asking for a friend.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:15 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Being profiled and made fun of on the internet does make one a victim. It's not a vicious crime, but there's a victim.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:15 PM on October 2, 2012


this would be similar to exploring why wearing a turban might be perceived as a cab driver accessory.

So you're saying that cab drivers really like Raiders of the Lost Ark too?
posted by neroli at 1:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of sick of the trope that dorks are particularly misogynist. I think it's a sort of 'just world' fallacy. Women don't typically like dorks and lots of dorks are lonely so it must be their fault for being bad people. I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks. It seems way more likely that rather than women being justified for disliking dorks as stealth misogynists, women don't like dorks for being dorks and they don't need any justification. They can be attracted to whoever they want and prioritize niceness as highly or lowly as they care to just like men do. No need to blame the victim here.

You might want to consider what leads you to type this: "the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks" and then revisit some things. "Women" are not borg. "Dork" is not a subculture. All "dorks" are not male.

And you might want to revisit the whole 'there are many women saying that they have experienced misogyny from male nerds and that they hate that, but I don't believe them and it's just that they are prejudiced against male nerds because they [implicitly] like football players better' thing, since not believing people when they say that they've consistently encountered a common form of structural oppression - misogyny, racism - is itself pretty oppressive.

You might also consider that nerderie is my fucking subculture too. I don't want to go do Random Yet Non-Misogynist Things while leaving misogynist nerdy dork men all the science fiction and webcomics; I want the science fiction and web comics and the men not to be misogynist.
posted by Frowner at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2012 [34 favorites]


neroli: "So you're saying that cab drivers really like Raiders of the Lost Ark too?"

I confess to living up to this particular stereotype.
posted by vanar sena at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2012


so, vanar sena, we shouldn't be willing to question and prod our prejudices?

Personally, when I have a knee-jerk reaction to something (and have the wherewithal to realize it) I like to go back explore where that compulsion comes from.

Of course, this is only productive if I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong and not just looking for reasons to justify why my response was correct.
posted by Tevin at 1:18 PM on October 2, 2012




Jesus.

I have bought a few hats of the "non-baseball" variety through the years, and worn them sporadically, and never in a way inappropriate to their style.

I'm now thinking that my brief period of trying out hats was an excellent way of filtering out people who judge people harshly for no good reason other than appearance. Good god, the hate is strong here.

Sometimes a fedora is just a fedora.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:19 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I own two fedoras. One of which is nice and fancy and I only wear with a suit. The other is from a goodwill which I picked up on a whim and fits my head nicely. It is beat up, dying slowly, and I am just wearing it out until it does.

Also, don't really care about its once formal use. If it looks good casually, which I think it does then by all means wear it.

The primary reason I wear one is because I don't like the feel of baseball caps and I look freaking stupid in them. It's great for when I don't really want to deal with my long, wavy hair that tends to get frizzy. Put it in a ponytail, hat on, BAM, I don't need to do that much work to go out.

It helps as a container at the end of the day to keep all my important stuff because I take all of it out of the hat before I put the hat on. Therefore, I cannot leave my house without my keys, wallet, cellphone, etc.

Essentially, eh, I wear it because I like it and for no other reason.
posted by lizarrd at 1:19 PM on October 2, 2012


I really want to get to the bottom of this ...

Well, I'm a giant nerd and I don't necessarily dress that well. The way I see it is that everybody should be free to dress themselves however they like, however, your clothes do communicate something to everybody else, and you probably want to be at least aware of what they communicate. It's kind of like what Hamming wrote in his talk on "You and your Research":

You should dress according to the expectations of the audience spoken to. If I am going to give an address at the MIT computer center, I dress with a bolo and an old corduroy jacket or something else. I know enough not to let my clothes, my appearance, my manners get in the way of what I care about. An enormous number of scientists feel they must assert their ego and do their thing their way. They have got to be able to do this, that, or the other thing, and they pay a steady price.

John Tukey almost always dressed very casually. He would go into an important office and it would take a long time before the other fellow realized that this is a first-class man and he had better listen. For a long time John has had to overcome this kind of hostility. It's wasted effort! I didn't say you should conform; I said ``The appearance of conforming gets you a long way.'' If you chose to assert your ego in any number of ways, ``I am going to do it my way,'' you pay a small steady price throughout the whole of your professional career. And this, over a whole lifetime, adds up to an enormous amount of needless trouble ... By realizing you have to use the system and studying how to get the system to do your work, you learn how to adapt the system to your desires. Or you can fight it steadily, as a small undeclared war, for the whole of your life.


Clothes communicate on a bunch of different levels. If you're not particularly literate in the language of the clothes, the simplest level is literally what is printed on the shirt. This is why many of my nerd brethren like the T-shirt with a joke written across the front. But, like Sara C. said above, this is like yelling your message. You can be slightly more subtle with the message and get a shirt with a giant logo on it, or a company's name. And to some people this is still loud and the only acceptable branding is something small like the Lacoste crocodile. Even that's too loud for some people, who communicate on some strange and subtle level in which they know that this shade of blue is in this year ...

But on this scale, fedoras are a very loud message. Which isn't to say that some people can't pull it off, but it's really really hard. The problem is fluency -- many nerdy people are not particularly fluent in the message, so when they start yelling in it (by slapping a fedora on top) ... people react poorly.
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:19 PM on October 2, 2012 [27 favorites]


most of the photos are of people wearing trilbys, which is not the same thing.

I'm glad someone lese pointed that out because it was driving me nuts. I feel like the fashion pedant-olice


I am now going to reread this thread while pretending every person in it is wearing a cutaway jacket.


and nothing else!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:20 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am annoyed I cannot find a pith helmet big enough for my giant head.
posted by BeeDo at 1:23 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really, for all its fedora-lovingness, xkcd has a great and simple illustration of what people generally mean by Nice Guys.

Asking a woman out on a date and being nice and polite and attentive? That actually works quite well. And it's not what people mean.

It's the guys who are in a sort of stealth courtship, that the woman doesn't even realize is going on, and who eventually resent her for not reciprocating. It's true, this is usually born out of a combination of ineptitude and lack of self-confidence. It's the ultra-low-risk approach, just hope one day she suddenly decides she's interested.

And if it was _truly_ a friendship for friendships's sake, thats fine. Its a problem when the guy presents it as such but is always hoping it will be more, when he judges all the other guys she dates as unworthy and himself clearly much more Nice and thus the woman must be bad not to choose him.

An example: if you've ever said "I wish I was more of an asshole so girls would like me" or something like that, you're either a Nice Guy or have strong tendencies. Because very few women actually like assholes (some men and women do, but its not the norm), but they do like honesty. The whole idea that women prefer assholes is a shining example of the misogyny at the heart of the NG syndrome.

There are a lot of guys like this, I had strong NG tendencies myself at a young age because of low self-confidence, I thought it was my only option. The good news is that a lot of guys will actually grow out of it as they become a more complete person.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:27 PM on October 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


@Stagger - Everything else we hate about men, which is everything, because we're jerks and also whether it's okay to date Bronies and if we still love Ryan Gosling. And Matt Smith's face--weird or cute? (I voted for cute.)

@I Foody - I don't think anyone complaining about it is saying dorks are particularly misogynistic though when they complain about experiencing it in geek culture. I think female dorks are often expressing anger or grief about the misogynist percentage that they have to deal with in their community. (I notice you substitute dorks for male though, which would be incorrect.) Preppy women complain about preppy misogyny, sports-loving women complain about sporting-related misogyny, etc. America is a recovering kyriarchy, there are bad apples in every culture/sub-culture to be contended with, ruining it for everyone else and making the ladies be on guard and cranky and suspicious of your choice in hats. (For what it's worth, I think most women tend to judge the popped collar puka shell crew's personalities based on fashion alone much more heavily than they do the Dr. Jones admirers anyway.)
posted by itsonreserve at 1:27 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flat Caps are worn exclusively by thin, outdoorsy homosexuals in my experience.

Along with corduroy blazers and argyle sweater vests, my dad always rocked a flat cap when I was a kid. Also, at that time, a Magnum PI-style mustache. Looking back on it he did look a little like a kind of English Country butch.

Oh, isn't this a blog about trend stuff? And isn't that a fedora-esque?

I'd kill for that blazer, but the hat still looks silly. I mean, I wouldn't tell him that, but I'm willing to share it here, among friends.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:28 PM on October 2, 2012


SHUT UP you people who are all "trilbies aren't fedoras.". Trilbies are variants of fedoras. Like the fedora, they took their name from the hat a female title character wore in a popular play (Trilby by George du Maurier) and were consciously created and marketed as a new type of fedora.

Trilby is better known for its villain, Svengali.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh that reminds me it's almost sweater vest season.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2012


Yes, I think it's fair to say that the character of Indiana Jones is responsible for the fedora being lifted out of its "old-fashioned but stylish accessory" context and plopped into "If I had a hat like that I'd surely look like a badass too" territory, which is unfortunate.

The other part of the problem is that by and large people that grew up associating fedoras with Indiana Jones don't dress up for anything, so there's never so much as an inkling of "You know, maybe this would look better with a coat and tie than my Lawnmower Man t-shirt and gym shorts."

That being said, I'm always amazed and discouraged by the amount of seventh-grade style, knee-jerk, pack mentality scorn and derision that grown-ass men and women can summon for people who wear anything that's old-fashioned/anachronistic.

Oh god what if they notice my new profile picture
posted by usonian at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a teenager I went through a faze where I wanted a fedora, but I have a gigantic head, so when I finally found one that fit it was indistinguishable from a cowboy hat.

I continued enjoying Raiders of the Lost Ark and Humphrey Bogart movies unadorned. Just as well, in retrospect.
posted by brundlefly at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd like to bring the tricorne back. Those sleazy peacocking PUA types already dress like Captain Jack Sparrow anyway, and those indie hipster historical cosplaying Decemberists are due for a comeback soon, so this hat could support two insufferable subcultures in addition to me-too internet nerds.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:31 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh that reminds me it's almost sweater vest season.

Time to break out the autumnal bowtie collection.
posted by elizardbits at 1:31 PM on October 2, 2012


Re the hats in the link being trilbies and not fedoras.

Some are, some aren't. There's at least one real fedora in there (too lazy to go back for a proper tally). All of them are Doing Hats Wrong, though. Most of them look affected in a douchey way, too.

I personally don't agree with the idea that Doing Hat Wrong = misogynist, but I agree that in the world of online dating there's an unfortunate correlation between a guy wearing unfortunate hat in his profile photo and a guy who is kind of obnoxious in person.
posted by Sara C. at 1:32 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also I am just going to wear Loki's golden horned hat everywhere from now on, I assume this is acceptable to everyone and even if it isn't I DO WHAT I WANT.
posted by elizardbits at 1:32 PM on October 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Time to break out the autumnal bowtie collection.

It looks like I picked the wrong week to give up spats.
posted by Zed at 1:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mmmmmm.....men in bowties....yes please.
posted by itsonreserve at 1:33 PM on October 2, 2012


Puppies in bowties are also a crowd-pleaser.
posted by elizardbits at 1:33 PM on October 2, 2012


"...seventh-grade style, knee-jerk, pack mentality scorn and derision that grown-ass men and women..."

I was with you up until "grown-ass".
posted by stubby phillips at 1:34 PM on October 2, 2012


I'm sort of sick of the trope that dorks are particularly misogynist. I think it's a sort of 'just world' fallacy. Women don't typically like dorks and lots of dorks are lonely so it must be their fault for being bad people. I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks. It seems way more likely that rather than women being justified for disliking dorks as stealth misogynists, women don't like dorks for being dorks and they don't need any justification. They can be attracted to whoever they want and prioritize niceness as highly or lowly as they care to just like men do. No need to blame the victim here.

However, I will add this as a person who has dated many a dorky fellow in my heterosexual past -

One reason that I at least find nerd misogyny so disappointing is that you are supposed to know better. Some jock dudebro is an asshole? Whatever, that's par for the course. Someone I actually consider intelligent? Someone with whom I have a certain amount in common? Someone I might actually enjoy befriending or dating if I didn't have to keep insisting and insisting and insisting that I don't owe him sex and that women's narratives of their own experiences are valid and then worrying that either of this things is going to provoke a friendship-ending hissyfit? That is frustrating.
posted by Frowner at 1:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [36 favorites]


Also I am just going to wear Loki's golden horned hat everywhere from now on

lol if you think this would be anything other than AMAZINGLY BITCHIN'
posted by Greg Nog at 1:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


You might want to consider what leads you to type this: "the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks" and then revisit some things. "Women" are not borg. "Dork" is not a subculture. All "dorks" are not male.

Seriously? What a hugely uncharitable interpretation, of course not all women are the same. Of course women can be nerds too. I am not substituting dork for male. I am participating in a conversation where we are talking about a piece that criticizes male dorks through the lens of assumed misogyny.
posted by I Foody at 1:37 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Having a difficult time with women does not make one a victim. That sense of entitlement is part of why the "nice guy" is subject to so much criticism.

This is exactly the point. Thank you.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:37 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also I am just going to wear Loki's golden horned hat everywhere from now on

Now that has an entire internet subset of women just dying to line up behind it and follow it to the nearest boudoir. That's not sarcasm that's the truth. (Men doing Loki cosplay is up there with men doing Ten cosplay in the nerd hotness communities.)
posted by itsonreserve at 1:38 PM on October 2, 2012


I am annoyed I cannot find a pith helmet big enough for my giant head.

I was on a return flight from MSP to SEA with my family, and there was a guy on my flight with his wife who was wearing cargo shorts, sandals with black knee socks pulled up all the way, a blue waffleweave shirt, a vest that was all over pockets like he was reporting from Iraq, and an honest to god pith helmet. He was probably in his seventies. I had three simultaneous thoughts:

1. I desperately wish that my immediate circumstances were different so that I could buy that man a beer and talk to him about his life.
2. I desperately wish that there was a non-creepy way to take a picture of this guy.
3. Now I understand why a pith helmet is such a great hat, having finally seen one in person.

I mean, seriously, the guy was a huge collection of Fashion Don'ts, but he was owning it and rocking it from a position of sheer practicality. OTOH I haven't been clumsily hate-leered at by scores of guys wearing pith helmets like I have by guys with fedoras, I might feel differently if I had.

I love a good hat on a man. I also live in Seattle, and the weather here is definitely improved by wearing a hat almost year-round. As long as it fits, is of good quality, and is removed indoors, you're fine.
posted by KathrynT at 1:38 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm going to start wearing a paper birthday hat everywhere. With a candle on top that I will light to mark especially important moments.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Sense of entitlement" is one of those loaded phrases you hear on talk radio a lot. the speaker is rarely referring to herself (or himself). It makes me wary.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


It makes me wary.

Well, what better term do you have for those guys who do, in fact, treat women like vending machines that you put kindness into until sex falls out?
posted by KathrynT at 1:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm going to start wearing a paper birthday hat everywhere. With a candle on top that I will light to mark especially important moments.

Oh look there goes octobersurprise on fire again
posted by shakespeherian at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I desperately wish that there was a non-creepy way to take a picture of this guy.

yeah, if you'd asked he might have thought you were taking the pith
posted by elizardbits at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Pith helmets are awesome -- and obviously great hats in hot climates. Sadly, the colonialist-baggage in the image is too much for me, and (being white) I don't feel like I can pull off a pith helmet without looking colonial. Non-white people can (subverts the image nicely).
posted by jb at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2012


I admit it. I'm in my mid thirties and I have no idea how to wear a hat. Half the time, my interaction with hats is watching them sail down the street in the wind. The other half is me clutching them to my enormous noggin. How people can wear basecaps is beyond me. I've been trying and trying, but they just pop up off my head at the slightest breeze - and people can run in these things?

The last hat I had that fit and stayed on was a black bucket hat with the word NINJA stitched into it in black, a sad elder cousin to the standard nerd signifier hat of the article.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2012


Also I am just going to wear Loki's golden horned hat everywhere from now on, I assume this is acceptable to everyone and even if it isn't I DO WHAT I WANT.

There is actually an acceptable time and place for the viking helmet: catching the Ring Cycle at the Met. People will show up in black tie and a huge goofy plastic horned helmet to 17+ hours of opera (the ones up front do remove them for the performance, though, lest they get speared...)

I've got my viking helmet ready for the next time.

I've got a fedora, too, but I haven't worn it except as a Halloween costume accessory...I think about rocking it now and then, but as this thread proves, the world just isn't ready.
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 1:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Well, what better term do you have for those guys who..."

I don't feel the need to categorize anybody at the moment. Maybe they're individuals.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:43 PM on October 2, 2012


Also I am just going to wear Loki's golden horned hat everywhere from now on

The best way - really, the only way - to gauge whether or not a piece of clothing is intrinsically bad is to ask oneself this questions:

Could Pepper LaBeija have made this work?

If the answer is no, then it cannot be made to work.

But this led to me imagining Pepper LaBeija wearing Loki's helmet and yes, Pepper could have made Loki's helmet work and also now I am weeping hot tears at the beauty of the mental image.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:44 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, isn't this a blog about trend stuff? And isn't that a fedora-esque?

This is exactly what we mean when we talk about "volume" and context and the different levels of communicating a message via your clothing.

This is not an Unfortunate Hat.

It's a bold choice, and I don't know if I agree with it, but he's not doing the neckbeard Debonair Programmer thing.

Notice:

1. The hat itself. High quality haberdashery. Actually fits his head. Not particularly flashy, as fedoras go.

2. He's wearing a jacket. Which means that the hat is being worn somewhat in the proper context. It's a navy blue velvet (or maybe thin-waled corduroy?) jacket, which is where my sense of vague disagreement comes from. But he's not wearing the hat with a stretched out old t-shirt with a comic book logo on it and jorts, so that's a start.

3. He's outside. This is key.

4. Yes, under all the accessories and outerwear he is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But it's a plain t-shirt and nondescript jeans that fit him well. My guess is that he's also wearing leather shoes, most likely brown to match the hat (wonder what color his socks are?)

5. I still think he's playing 4 dimensional ninja chess, sartorially speaking. This is not something I'd recommend most men try to pull off.
posted by Sara C. at 1:44 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


yeah, if you'd asked he might have thought you were taking the pith

Ha.

Also, we'd just come off a 3-hour-flight-turned-4-hour-flight that my two year old screamed through most of. I was not really in a position to make requests of anybody.
posted by KathrynT at 1:44 PM on October 2, 2012


I've met a lot of men who wore fedoras or trilby hats. To a man, they all wanted people to think of them in terms of the hat, as if the hat was the most interesting thing about them. It turned out they were right.
posted by Sternmeyer at 1:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe they're individuals.

So they get let off the hook for being assholes? because they are INDIVIDUAL assholes? Sorry no.
posted by KathrynT at 1:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


"To a man"
posted by stubby phillips at 1:48 PM on October 2, 2012


I don't even know what anyone is arguing anymore, just that it is silly.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously? What a hugely uncharitable interpretation, of course not all women are the same. Of course women can be nerds too. I am not substituting dork for male. I am participating in a conversation where we are talking about a piece that criticizes male dorks through the lens of assumed misogyny.

This is precisely what I mean. When you casually, almost unconsciously, oppose "women" to "dorks" and suggest that "women" do not find "dorks" attractive...well, there's one of two things going on. Either you're a decent fellow but need to step up your feminist game by paying more attention to the language you use on these our internets - where we are all just words and pixels! - or that actually is your immediate unconscious definition of those terms. And then you come back saying to me that I, a woman, am being 'uncharitable' when I say that you are on the hook for the words you use on the internet - where we are all just words and pixels.

Now, maybe if we knew each other this would be totally different - we'd have more context, maybe you're actually an awesome fellow, a great catch and a charming conversationalist, maybe you'd find me warm and approachable instead of snippy. But we don't know each other - and I'm not responsible for putting the nicest, warmest reading on your words. Particularly when your words reflect - accidentally or on purpose - bog standard nerd sexism.

And honestly, as someone who has a different set of privileges than you do, when I've accidentally typed something stereotyping or thoughtless, it has usually indicated some unexamined bad ideas of mine that I need to start examining. That sure does happen more often than I like - I don't mean to imply that I am Politically Awesome and You Are Not, because that isn't true at all.
posted by Frowner at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


I don't feel the need to categorize anybody at the moment. Maybe they're individuals.

That'll make it awfully hard to have a conversation about a troubling population of our society, then.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2012


So they get let off the hook for being assholes? because they are INDIVIDUAL assholes? Sorry no.

It's actually quite interesting, because when it comes to that particular flavor of NiceGuyTM, special snowflake syndrome is often deeply entwined.
posted by itsonreserve at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


If a woman or man behaves poorly because she or he is denied sex from somebody, that person (that individual) is guilty of behaving poorly. I'm not letting her or him off the hook.

I just don't feel the need associate any other attributes of her or him or others with that behavior. It doesn't seem fair to me, and I don't choose to be unfair right now.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2012


I don't feel like I can pull off a pith helmet without looking colonial. Non-white people can (subverts the image nicely).

Only for people who don't know how colonialism actually functioned. Everyone wore the same hats.

But I figured if I bought the ones made in Vietnam by traditional pith-helmet makers, it would be a sufficient retort to that criticism. Also, the French hat design is better than the British design, as it covers the ears better.
posted by BeeDo at 1:51 PM on October 2, 2012


"That'll make it awfully hard to have a conversation about a troubling population of our society, then."

Which is why I rarely listen to talk radio or my racist acquaintances.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:51 PM on October 2, 2012


yes, Pepper could have made Loki's helmet work

Pepper LaBeija could've rocked the fuck out of Loki's helmet.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is why I rarely listen to talk radio or my racist acquaintences.

Women discussing their own experiences dealing with institutionalized misogyny does not an apt comparison to racists make.

(You wanna talk about racism within the feminist community I got your bell hooks links right here, no lie.)
posted by itsonreserve at 1:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think "sense of entitlement" is where this all started, reserve. I don't choose to listen to people who accuse others of having a "sense of entitlement." That includes racists, talk radio personalities and other bigots.

To be fair, there may be a perfectly reasonable use of that phrase. Nine times out of ten, 99% of the time, to a man, I haven't encountered it.
posted by stubby phillips at 1:59 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


As long as it fits, is of good quality, and is removed indoors, you're fine.

And is appropriate for your age and maturity.

It takes a certain amount of, I don't know, "facial cragginess" to make a true fedora look good. If you've got a thin neck and peach fuzz, it's not going to work no matter how hard you try.

On the other hand, if it takes legions of hipsters and poorly dressed geeks to keep haberdashers alive, I say more power to them.
posted by madajb at 2:00 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, stubbs, I am, if nothing else, a noted misandrist bigot among the top internet community. You have a good night, I'll just go on oppressing you silently with my judgement from afar then.
posted by itsonreserve at 2:01 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm also unclear about which institution we're talking about. The Institute of Anachonistic Headwear?
posted by stubby phillips at 2:01 PM on October 2, 2012


The problem with fedoras is that they are a mask. It's just a way of hiding behind an assumed identity. It's a costume, it's insincere.

Oh, come on, it's all costume. Every bit of clothing you own is a piece of a constructed language, and every choice you make about whether to wear this or that or the other is a statement about yourself and the way you relate to the current social context, whether you're thinking about it consciously or not. That's what clothes mean. Sincerity is relative.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:02 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I can survive, reserve. Keep up the good work.
posted by stubby phillips at 2:02 PM on October 2, 2012


I wish I could find a hat that looked halfway decent on my HUGE CELTIC HEAD.
posted by The Whelk at 2:02 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


You should just wear a fat majestic cat.
posted by elizardbits at 2:04 PM on October 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


How about this one with beer coozies, it makes a statement
posted by shakespeherian at 2:04 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


that statement is I both enjoy beer and hate moving my arms.
posted by The Whelk at 2:06 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a universal sentiment.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frowner, the excerpt of the article included the phrase "love-entitled male nerds whose social inexperience and awkwardness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution" so when I talk about dorks I am talking about the contents of the article not the entire universe. Also, you took: "I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks."
And made it:" 'there are many women saying that they have experienced misogyny from male nerds and that they hate that, but I don't believe them and it's just that they are prejudiced against male nerds because they [implicitly] like football players better'"
So yeah maybe you don't owe me a charitable interpretation (though really it's usually a pretty good policy) but I think the way you categorized what I was saying was particularly unfair.
posted by I Foody at 2:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ordered fedora off eBay, received live bobcat. Would not buy again.
posted by BeeDo at 2:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


That last throwaway makes me now wonder about the transition from women's fashion to men's fashion. Was there a period of time where some young men were wearing fedoras and others were complaining it made them look girly, akin to more recent complaints about long-haired hippies or guys wearing eyeliner?

Going on the stupidity of the entire article, I very much doubt the conclusion of its last line. Many women's hats at the time were based on the various types of Tyrolean felt hats, and it probably was not that unlike the men's hats of the time. See this photo from 1880 for evidence of hats of the period (2 years before Sarah Bernhardt appeared in Fedora).

At any rate, this has been pretty thoroughly dissected at the Fedora Lounge. It seems more likely that Bernhardt popularized a Fedora Bonnet as described in newspapers at the time. By 1884, men's hats were being described as "fedoras". The long and short of it is, that article is baloney on the hat front, and the line from the Wikipedia article it cribs from (" The fedora had been a female fashion.") is also not supported by evidence.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a sidelight on the whole thing: mere moments ago I was looking at one of the snobbish shoe blogs that I sometimes look at and found this gem of rhetoric: "...all Saint Crispin’s shoes are handcrafted by a small team of artisans, craftsmen and women." I wonder what the job postings look like...."Woman wanted. Must craft, but not too well. Skillset interchangeable."
posted by Frowner at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only for people who don't know how colonialism actually functioned. Everyone wore the same hats.

But I figured if I bought the ones made in Vietnam by traditional pith-helmet makers, it would be a sufficient retort to that criticism. Also, the French hat design is better than the British design, as it covers the ears better.
posted by BeeDo at 4:51 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


Sorry - we didn't cover fashion in graduate history classes - just oppression and genocide.

Thing is: a white people wearing a pith helmet looks like a British Colonial officer to this (contemporary British/North American eye). Obviously, less so for a white woman. But the only person I've seen wearing a pith helmet who did not look like they wanted to be Rudyard Kipling was an Asian-woman.

But this is my hang-up, and why *I* don't wear a pith helmet. Give it a hundred more years, and maybe I'll feel differently.
posted by jb at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hats, shmats. I'm putting my deely bobbers back on and I'm never taking them off.

(Statement made: IT'S ALWAYS 1982 IN MY HEAD)
posted by bakerina at 2:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really wanted to like this article; it artfully argued for the creepiness of the Nice Guy and the misogyny of the Friend zone concept, but the more I've thought about it the angrier I've gotten at it.

Conflating shy nerds who like fedoras with the many misogynistic Nice Guys who hate women isn't just a bad plan because the strategy is going to be often wrong and be cruel to innocent and often vulnerable people, its a bad plan because its also going to be often right and attack assholes for their choice in millinery rather than their misogyny.

I thought more than half of the guys in the FPP looked fantastic with their fedoras and would totally send them OKC messages.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


What a stupid, incoherent mess of an article.

Basically, the writer wanted to rant against PUA culture and "nice guys" and chose the fedora as a vehicle for this. She uses invented phrases like "nice guy entitlement", because writers like her feel like they should be able to change your thoughts by talking in their own invented language. She's attempting to analyze the PUA scene through the lens of the female-empowerment movement, which is akin to listening to music with a telescope. I've read so many articles written in this tone, I can barely summon the effort to be annoyed by them.

There's nothing wrong with feeling entitled to love; there is something wrong with feeling entitled to a specific person's love. There's nothing wrong with going up to a woman and talking to her; there is something wrong with badgering her after she's given you the signal to move on. There's nothing wrong with being a genuinely nice guy; there is something wrong with pursuing a friendship in the hopes that she'll "come around" and decide to date you. There's nothing wrong with fedoras; there is something wrong with wearing one after it's no longer fashionable.

The PUAs are not bad people. They are men in very bad need of a compelling mating narrative. Very few of the traditional mating narratives are still relevant to men. Watch any movie more than a couple decades old, and you'll see the male protagonists displaying behaviors that we now think of as outdated or offensive. On top of this, many of the traditional venues for finding a mate -- churches, family friend networks, community functions -- are no longer helpful or available to men. So where do you turn when you have no compelling narrative? Well, the people who write PUA manuals and give tutoring sessions have stepped in to fill the void. And it's certainly not the best narrative, but it serves a function for many men : it makes them less frightened of women and more likely to approach them. Again, these are not bad men. In a different age, they'd have a less-dysfunctional narrative they could latch onto. And don't think for one moment there's no female equivalent to PUAs; the only reason nobody writes books on how to manipulate men is that it's too goddamn easy.

I don't claim to have an answer, or know of a better narrative we can give to men of mating age. I really wish I did. But I think one answer is to stop acting like it's a crime to be a man in search of a mate. People should feel entitled to love and affection; these are things that everyone deserves. But men need to understand that "cheesy" and "needy" are universally unattractive, and that the best way to find a woman is to improve yourself as a man.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:17 PM on October 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'd like to bring the tricorne back.

The Les Miz movie does open in December.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:18 PM on October 2, 2012


To clarify, and as a parting statement... (kind-of-reply to stubby phillips)

I just want to say that there are a significant number of individuals who make up a population of our society with really troubling and REMARKABLY SIMILAR attitudes towards women. Specifically this 'sense of entitlement' we've been talking about. This attitude is explicitly and blatantly evidenced by abundant examples from social media sites (this tumblr collects some). People with this specific attitude have been termed 'Nice Guys' by the internet-at-large.

'Sense of entitlement' can be a subjective term, yes. But when Nice Guys try to work a friendship angle (or guilt-tripping) and then brand any woman who rejects them as "insufferable bitches" or "annoying cunts" just because they won't date and/or have sex with them, as it turns out they are 1) not actually being particularly nice--hence 'Nice Guys'-- and 2) are demonstrating what I think most people would consider a pretty clear sense of entitlement towards a relationship with a woman just because they displayed the minimum standards of human decency. I wasn't a dick to you, why won't you have sex with me? You are a heartless bitch. I honestly think this translates pretty clearly to entitlement. Maybe I'm wrong.

So yes. Individuals with these same attitude have been placed under the umbrella term Nice Guys. Sometimes this is necessary for a conversation. I had not thought this was such a problematic concept. Honestly I definitely didn't expect it to be compared to racism but there you have it.

It does not help that this author didn't make it perfectly clear that she meant Nice Guys and not just nice guys. But we've tried to clear that up here with varying success.

In conclusion: the article isn't necessarily all that good. Nice Guy Syndrome is a problem and it'd be nice if we could raise awareness of it. Please help us improve society's attitudes towards women by improving your own (if there is room for such improvement). Thank you for your time.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:19 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


And yes the whole fedora angle is bullshit. Six out.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:20 PM on October 2, 2012


didn't make it perfectly clear that she meant Nice Guys and not just nice guys

And here we have a perfect example of why co-opting common terms with a plain language meaning to serve as tags for insider concepts can be problematic. Actually nice guys aren't at all interested in defending people who think "I wasn't a dick to you, why won't you have sex with me? You are a heartless bitch." Perhaps since you aren't one of the people described by the plain-language term, the term isn't yours to do with as you see fit.
posted by tyllwin at 2:29 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I bought my husband a beautiful top hat for no other reason than wearing it makes him a terrifying but dapper 7 feet tall. He likes to wear it with his vintage suit and skull mask and stalk around silently with our son at Halloween while the kid trick or treats. He looks good in pretty much any hat, but his enormous head precludes buying them often. He looks quite fetching in a fedora.

I on the other hand look like a total git in 99% of hats, which makes me sad.

All of this to say, hats are wonderful and if you are lucky enough to look good in them, then wear them for Pete's sake.
posted by emjaybee at 2:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Really, for all its fedora-lovingness, xkcd has a great and simple illustration of what people generally mean by Nice Guys.

Whoa, xkcd does not have fedora-lovingness at all. Whenever xkcd has the fedora guy, he is almost always being a jerk. If I had time right now, I would go through the archives and get all empirical on your ass.
posted by Jpfed at 2:34 PM on October 2, 2012


Robot hat is the best hat.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Y'know, it would be nice if hats did come back into fashion. Regular outside hats that is, not fashion statement accessory inside hats. Fedoras, top hats, derbies, newsboy caps... Anything but fezes and boaters, because we have to draw the line somewhere. Around here you see lots of people wearing cowboy hats in August, it probably wouldn't take much to get them to wear the things all year round.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whoa, xkcd does not have fedora-lovingness at all. Whenever xkcd has the fedora guy, he is almost always being a jerk

That's fair actually. I guess I just meant the fact they occur semi-frequently (far more often than I ever see them in real life), not that they are portrayed positively.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:41 PM on October 2, 2012


Really, for all its fedora-lovingness, xkcd has a great and simple illustration of what people generally mean by Nice Guys.

Whoa, xkcd does not have fedora-lovingness at all. Whenever xkcd has the fedora guy, he is almost always being a jerk. If I had time right now, I would go through the archives and get all empirical on your ass.


You probably know xkcd better than me, but my impression is that the fedora guy is often being a jerk in the manner of a very knowledgeable trickster -- a role I think the xkcd creator and audience identifies with. So in this example I think the fedora guy is both a jerk and portrayed in a positive light. (EDIT: More recent example!)
posted by grobstein at 2:42 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This probably says more about what I think about xkcd in general but I honest to God always thought the fedora guy in the strip was supposed to be Randall Munroe.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:44 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anything but fezes and boaters, because we have to draw the line somewhere.

I like fezzes! And my swarthy ass looks damn good in one -- certainly more so than in any brimmed hats (I'd love to wear a panama hat on a hot summer day, but I just end up looking like someone's dad at a street fair).

I'd be more inclined to wear my fez more often, except that pretty much any hat makes me even warmer, and I'm a near-constant mission to cool down.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:45 PM on October 2, 2012


Isn't xckd almost all characters like that?
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog - the (Ottoman) empire never ended!
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on October 2, 2012


I register on most people's radar as female. My preferred hat to complement my man-short hair and Finn/English face is a broad-brimmed (at least 2.25", preferably over 3") fedora, though I'll wear a flat cap or a toque if the weather suits.

The short-brimmed fedora or trilby is, in my eye, the hat of a child (and thus well suited to a hipster).
posted by thatdawnperson at 2:46 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bring back the Phrygian Cap!

Re: Fedoras

Really, about one out of ten guys who wear fedoras can pull them off, mostly because of the tremendous recent influx of the bad/cheap fedora trend. Generally, the younger the dude is, the less a fedora is flattering.

I used to love my dad's fedoras — he's bald so had a ton of 'em — but had to cop to not being nearly formal enough to pull them off.

As far as the article? Yeah, actually, the combination of fedoras being popular, being a PUA trope, and being pretty anachronistic in general use does add up to a Venn overlap of dorks wearing them and they can be a signal for pining for a less feminist time. The dude I worked with at my college paper who wore them was certainly on that tip — he wanted to live in The Godfather movies and call women "lady" and "dame." It can certainly signify an unearned nostalgia, depending upon the context. (Which, as noted upthread, is a big part of hats in general).

This thread has reminded me of my college aspiration to own a fez and a smoking jacket, and perhaps a cigarette holder that I could smoke weed out of. I wonder if I could get a reasonably priced fez.

"I wish I could find a hat that looked halfway decent on my HUGE CELTIC HEAD."

We call this Erv Head in my family, after Grampa Erv, whose hats perched atop his head like mountaineers clinging to a peak. It's why I have to wear huge ballcaps if I wear one at all.
posted by klangklangston at 2:47 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


There really isn't a place in US men's fashion for hats.-except for baseball caps.

I hope that all those Fedora wearers just keep doing it until it becomes so commonplace that people will stop bashing people for wearing hats.

If a fedora annoys you, I could point you to a dozen places that have real problems to pay attention to.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:48 PM on October 2, 2012


You probably know xkcd better than me, but my impression is that the fedora guy is often being a jerk in the manner of a very knowledgeable trickster -- a role I think the xkcd creator and audience identifies with. So in this example I think the fedora guy is both a jerk and portrayed in a positive light. (EDIT: More recent example!)

That's a fedora? I'd always assumed it was supposed to be a porkpie hat.
posted by Ndwright at 2:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thing is, if you wear a fez, you have to get the matching tiny car as well.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


greg please wear the fez with the cape and the kilt on your bike

you should do this because of reasons
posted by elizardbits at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


SOLD! Where do I sign?
posted by gauche at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2012


Also, I have a straw quasi-fedora (I call it a campesino hat; they call it a sombrero but sombrero is something different here) that I wear outdoors. It makes me look like a park ranger, especially when I wear green shorts with it. I don't mind too much.
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2012


Notice my complete lack of surprise that Greg owns a fez
posted by The Whelk at 2:51 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


If a fedora annoys you, I could point you to a dozen places that have real problems to pay attention to.

It's not either-or, I can be annoyed with fedoras AND the plight of third-world countries!
posted by naju at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's a fedora? I'd always assumed it was supposed to be a porkpie hat.

Schrodingers hat!
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


note the complete lack of universal surprise that whelk ALREADY HAD HANDY AND AVAILABLE photos of himself in a tiara though
posted by elizardbits at 2:53 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I own a fez - who doesn't?
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on October 2, 2012


I wonder if I could get a reasonably priced fez.

Mine was about $25 including shipping at Village Hat Shop!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:53 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anything but fezes and boaters, because we have to draw the line somewhere.
I actually bought a nice straw boater this summer, but I won't be wearing it much until I acquire a seersucker suit to accompany it.
posted by usonian at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also just as there are nice guys and Nice Guys, maybe there should be guys who wear fedoras and Fedora Guys. Just a thought.
posted by naju at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you know a creep, have met a creep, or are yourself a creep the first thing you need to work on with your creep does not involve hats in any way. There is no problem of creepiness that can be solved with a different hat, the addition of a hat or the subtraction of a hat. Or for that matter any other garment or accessory.

If you want to talk about creep culture, the most notable attribute of creeps are not their traditional and storied head coverings.

This article is common rhetorical falderal wherein one thing (fedora wearer) is mistaken for the other ("Nice" guys and creeps) for the purposes of gaining attention by hitching some derogatory trivia on to an existing (and substantive) cross-community dialog.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 2:55 PM on October 2, 2012


Notice my complete lack of surprise that Greg owns a fez

Greg Nog, in my head
posted by shakespeherian at 2:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


didn't make it perfectly clear that she meant Nice Guys and not just nice guys
And here we have a perfect example of why co-opting common terms with a plain language meaning to serve as tags for insider concepts can be problematic.

This.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If your graduate history classes did not cover the role of local troops in the creation, maintanence, and ending of colonialism, you should get your money back.
posted by BeeDo at 2:58 PM on October 2, 2012


As a belated response to six, I'm sure men like these exist. I know there are women who have this attitude toward men, so I believe it when you tell me there are men like this too.

One of my issues is the hat: "If you wear a certain type of hat, you are likely to act a certain way." Clearly you agree with me that this is dumb.

My second issue is pretty much the same as the first: "There are MEN who act this way." Another categorization that does not define the behavior and does not fully enclose the behavior.

The final issue is "sense of entitlement." When a woman has treated me the way you describe men treating woman, I was upset by the behavior. I'm not able to read minds yet, so I'm not sure if they had a "sense of entitlement" or not.

If somebody tells me what I'm thinking or how I'm feeling, I bristle. If somebody has a problem with my behavior, we're more likely to come to an understanding.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:01 PM on October 2, 2012


My Employment Contract specifies I must wear a Fedora at all times while in the office or out on work business. Of course, I am a Private Investigator, self employed, and thus able to create my own Employment Contracts for chuckles during slow weeks.
posted by Sparx at 3:09 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Baseball cap and in a limited section of the country cowboy hats are basically the only acceptable hat variations. Beyond that and you are going to risk getting called out and ridiculed or at least silently mocked by a percentage of the population.

If you are above a certain age you get some exceptions especially if you are fair skinned and prone to skin cancer but honestly past a certain age people just quit caring what you dress like as long as it's not a bathrobe and slippers.

Some small percentage of people can rock a fedora or a trillby in the modern age but it's much smaller than the percentage that try sporting them and it's not really that predictable who they'll work on.

Sad but true, trying to undermine the current order will probably just get you crushed for your temerity.
posted by vuron at 3:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anybody here going to 'fess up to having a beret?
posted by bukvich at 3:15 PM on October 2, 2012


"If you are above a certain age..."

...you don't care what kids think and their silent mockery is just fine with you. Anything they do silently is just fine with you.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:16 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow... judging from the number of comments here, that was a very successful piece of linkbait.
posted by Coventry at 3:17 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


We had some Gelugpa yellow hats in the office the other day and I would totally rock one of those if it wasn't weird and offensively appropriational.
posted by elizardbits at 3:17 PM on October 2, 2012


Last night I watched an episode of Curious George with my 4-year-old in which the Man With The Yellow Hat has his hat ruined (by George, of course) and he just starts freaking out saying "without my hat I'm not really meeeeee!!". Hijinks ensue.

Not sure what my son was supposed to learn from that
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:18 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Man with the Existential Crisis doesn't have the same ring to it...
posted by stubby phillips at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wear a beret in the winter. To keep my head warm. Usually I knit them myself.

From time to time I'm tempted by a felt one as opposed to a knitted one, but they never lie right on my head.

I think guys look like fascists in them (the felt ones, never seen a dude in a knitted one), but it's something that could be pulled off in some contexts, I guess.

Definitely not an entry-level hat.
posted by Sara C. at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"One of my issues is the hat: "If you wear a certain type of hat, you are likely to act a certain way." Clearly you agree with me that this is dumb."

You can say that men that act a certain way are more likely to wear a certain kind of hat without saying that all men who wear that hat are that kind of person.

All poodles are dogs, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


And here we have a perfect example of why co-opting common terms with a plain language meaning to serve as tags for insider concepts can be problematic. Actually nice guys aren't at all interested in defending people who think "I wasn't a dick to you, why won't you have sex with me? You are a heartless bitch."

This is a bit of a derail, but the point of the whole Nice Guy™ thing is that the not-actually-nice guys being discussed are the ones who self-announce that they're nice, and that they get "treated like crap" by the women around them who "must prefer jerks, instead."

People who find the entitlement/resentment dynamic problematic didn't just decide, "Hey! We'll call them NICE GUYS, but with ironic emphasis, because that'll be super insidery!" Rather, it is a response to a pretty substantial number of assholes who announce that "Women like jerks, not NICE GUYS LIKE ME, because all the girls I'm nice to don't fall for me."

I watched the rise of the term in my early years on Usenet, where I first remember these heated discussions playing out. Having an n-dimensional conversation about how "Being nice to someone but then being bitter if they don't have romantic feelings for you isn't really being nice, so you're not a nice guy really" ends up getting tangled in semantics. Everyone I knew, eventually, just started falling into the "Nice Guy With Square Quotes" shorthand by necessity.


Perhaps since you aren't one of the people described by the plain-language term, the term isn't yours to do with as you see fit.

And that's why "actual nice guys" tend to be annoyed at the assholes who claim to be "nice guys" while treating women like Sex Banks.
posted by verb at 3:23 PM on October 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


I want the science fiction and web comics and the men not to be misogynist.

That'd be cool, but one big attraction of sci-fi, comics, video games, etc is escapism -- escape from a lonely world where they're socially devalued and women don't give them them the time of day. And to assuage their beaten egos, they reframe women as the enemy who are victimizing the poor innocent Nice Guys.. and women become the enemy, the meanies, the bitches, sluts, whatever -- there's your mysogyny. And golly gee that's a shitty attitude that women will tend to avoid, more loneliness leads to more escapism... and the whole thing feeds back into itself.

(Speaking as reformed nerdy Nice Guy, it's a tough cycle to escape, as it requires the humbling realization that "I am the problem. I need to change." It's so much easier to continue blaming women!)

I do think you can have one (sci-fi, etc) without the other (misogyny), but the two do tend to go hand in hand.
posted by LordSludge at 3:24 PM on October 2, 2012


HOLY SHIT EDIT WINDOW!!!! :-D
posted by LordSludge at 3:25 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anybody here going to 'fess up to having a beret?

HELLS YES. And while we're at it:

2 Top Hats (1 brown 1 black)
2 Short-brim wool felt Fedoras (1 brown 1 black)
1 Straw Coyote Ugly style cowboy hat (for camping only)
1 balaclava (black, natch)
1 Souvenir sorceror's hat with Mickey ears
1 Soviet Officer's hat purchased in Slovakia on a College Symphony junket
3 Delta Airlines branded baseball caps with built-in LED flashlight
1 Canadian winter fur (rabbit) hat
1 Ironic Trucker Hat (never worn in public ever)
1 grey checkered driver's cap
1 cheap light brown golf cap


Whoa, I have a lot of hats.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:25 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


"You can say that men that act a certain way are more likely to wear a certain kind of hat..."

Possibly. I suppose that guys that put out fires tend to wear fireman hats.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:26 PM on October 2, 2012


(never worn in public ever)

Of course not--that would look ridiculous.
posted by box at 3:29 PM on October 2, 2012



I think guys look like fascists in them (the felt ones, never seen a dude in a knitted one), but it's something that could be pulled off in some contexts, I guess.

Definitely not an entry-level hat.
posted by Sara C. at 3:22 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


Say, voting in a Greek election maybe.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:30 PM on October 2, 2012


Anybody here going to 'fess up to having a beret?

I did. It was the 80s, okay?! It was a very new romantic time.

(And no, it wasn't raspberry; it was military surplus.)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:30 PM on October 2, 2012


"If you wear a certain type of hat, you are likely to act a certain way."

I see it as more akin to the white kidnapper van.

We see white cargo vans every day. Obviously most of them -- practically none of them -- are being used to kidnap or transport kidnapped children.

But we still have the cultural construct of the white cargo van as being vaguely sinister, specifically associated with kidnapping, abuse, trafficking, etc.

Does this mean everyone who drives a white cargo van is a kidnapper? Of course not. But it's still something interesting to remark upon. It's still an idea that exists in our culture, for better or worse. It's still something you need to be aware of if you are shopping for cargo vans.

The idea that mocking a certain kind of hat, or talking about the cultural association between a certain kind of hat and a certain kind of behavior, is not like racism. At all. If you think it is, you don't know what racism is. If this is a really serious concern for you (to the extent that you feel you're being persecuted for your taste in hats), you should just stop wearing the fedora and move on.

About a year ago I saw a vintage wool coat with a real leopardskin collar. It was gorgeous. Not only did I want this coat, I wanted to be buried in this coat. It was from the 1940's, well before leopards were endangered or people cared about such things. But I didn't buy the coat, because I knew exactly what message it would send. Despite my good intentions. Despite the fact that I'm actually an animal lover and the leopard in question died more than 50 years ago. Frankly, I sort of hate the fact that there's such a knee-jerk reaction against fur (though obviously it's not OK to wear endangered fur). But still, I let it drop. Because I knew I'd lose friends over this coat. And no coat is worth that.

(I probably couldn't pull off a leopardskin collar, anyway.)
posted by Sara C. at 3:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


"It's still an idea that exists in our culture, for better or worse."

You're saying that doesn't sound like racism? I guess you're right. I don't know what racism is. I heard that phrase a lot during the 60's, but about another topic I apparently know nothing about.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:39 PM on October 2, 2012




You're saying that doesn't sound like racism? I guess you're right. I don't know what racism is. I heard that phrase a lot during the 60's, but about another topic I apparently know nothing about.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:39 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


Comparing fashion choices to racism really belittles the experiences of people that have suffered from genuine bigotry and discrimination.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


I think guys look like fascists in them (the felt ones, never seen a dude in a knitted one), but it's something that could be pulled off in some contexts, I guess.

UN peacekeeping? If you're patrolling a war zone, I can cut you a lot of slack on your choice of headgear.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I found a you tube of Michael Jackson's "first ever moonwalk" where he opens with the fedora hat trick (Billie Jean).

Then I found this you tube of a 12 y.o. demo'ing in slow motion the hat trick, the moonwalk, and the circle slide.

If I run into a table of overstock fedoras at urban outfitters I am going to buy one to dance in my living room with.
posted by bukvich at 3:42 PM on October 2, 2012


Prejudice belittles the bigot most of all, Stagger Lee.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:42 PM on October 2, 2012



UN peacekeeping? If you're patrolling a war zone, I can cut you a lot of slack on your choice of headgear.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:41 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


Not too much slack. I draw the line at those Dr Suess "Cat in the Hat" things that only the most dedicated stoners wear. I don't think those would work out well for the UN.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Possibly. I suppose that guys that put out fires tend to wear fireman hats."

Yeah, that's the only possible stereotype based on hatwear and calling frat boys "ballcaps" isn't a thing and anyway we shouldn't say "frat boys" because it's an unfair stereotype that has no basis in truth.

Also something something racism.

Thank god you're here to stan for the poor oppressed fedora men!
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


You're saying that doesn't sound like racism?

If your sole criteria for describing racism is "an idea that exists in our culture", you're doing it wrong.
posted by Sara C. at 3:50 PM on October 2, 2012


Hm. I wear hats a lot, because, you know, the sun. Sometimes a ball cap, sometimes a flat cap, sometimes a trilby, sometimes a wider-brimmed fedora. I think I look a bit dorky in all of them, but I don't care that much, because, you know, the sun.

What I hadn't considered until this thread is the side benefit of keeping people who judge people by their hats as far the fuck away from me as possible. Sounds like I should wear fedoras more often!
posted by doubtfulpalace at 3:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prejudice belittles the bigot most of all, Stagger Lee.

I read this in Nick Cave's voice. I bet he could pull off a fedora.
posted by naju at 3:57 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have a real prejudice against kidnapper vans, I have been meaning to work on that....

Anyway, while I think it does lead to some confusion (hence evolving from Nice Guy to now more often NiceGuyTM) is that these guys have named themselves trough continued evocation of the term. Perhaps actual nice guys, instead of worrying women can't differentiate the two during mating season, could be implored to give these asshats a good shunning to clear their name?
posted by itsonreserve at 3:59 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


stubby phillips: "And with that, I'll leave you all to your "dedicated stoners", "kidnapper vans", "nice guys" and whatever prejudice is popular on metafilter this evening."

Aw, I've been skimming this thread for a while, getting a comment ready in my head, but now I get to the bottom and shit just got weird and I forgot what I was going to say.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:00 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]




I read this in Nick Cave's voice. I bet he could pull off a fedora.
posted by naju at 3:57 PM on October 2 [+] [!]


I prefer a stetson hat, if you really want to get into it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 4:00 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trilbies are variants of fedoras. Like the fedora, they took their name from the hat a female title character wore in a popular play (Trilby by George du Maurier)

interesting, thanks! shutting up now
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:05 PM on October 2, 2012


"Nice Guy With Square Quotes"

It's worth pointing out that not all "Nice Guys" are "Squares."
posted by stopgap at 4:16 PM on October 2, 2012


So, I think I need to dial back what I said before, (and yeah, no, this is not comparable to racism, and not oppression, and not persecution [an action] of hatted-nerdy-dudes), I guess I just didn't like the links that the blog linked to (or the tone, but I don't mean a tone argument, and what was being said about the *actions* needs saying, and people are talking about that too), I still feel pretty weirded out by the casual acceptance of what seemed like massively public shaming (pictures and all public-like) of (outwardly, normal?) guys for turning up to meet someone they thought they had met on OK Cupid (did I miss them being creeps, or jerks beyond just being a little weird? Do I need to re-read what happened there? Was it actually just shaming for no real reason/hats in profile? [it seemed pretty mean, like the linked blog said]) and I accept that I just haven't seen enough strange people (every people is strange in some way, mostly) to give me the same reference frame to know that fedoras are so a) 'popular' (with the unpopular) today, and 2) that they coincide with bad behaviour to such a high degree of frequency. If it were just an aesthetic thing (they show no class, no style, or "can't pull it off"), like one person was saying, and not because of co-related bad behavior, that is more like, eh, that's like, your opinion. I was [missing] some context about how they are worn in "the bigger cities".

I do now remember a guy who (while not interested in any things associated with 'dork') wore a fedora, and was one of the PUA dudes. I guess I don't know how one can differentiate between "this is a nerd with a fedora and an ironic t shirt", and "this is a non-nerd with a fedora and an ironic t shirt", because my experience is that many young people of all sub-____ wear some variation on "ironic t shirt and other stuff". I guess I mean, when I hear fedora, I think, of Bruno Mars, or Drake, and that sort of Pop-Frat-Sensitive-y Lovey-Needy (but not 'nerdy') music.

So, for me the premise is taken, and accepted, fedoras are a 10 on the volume scale of expression (/slips out of home-Gellabiya) I am interested in more talk about what it says when a woman is wearing a fedora (what foibles will people describe in women taking back the fedora [not snark, I mean, they were originally worn by women, so, how will this "stigma" {stigma? Not really, new taboo?} intersect with women more commonly wearing them [which sort of seems to be the case])?

I still think he's playing 4 dimensional ninja chess, sartorially speaking.

Heh, you clearly are fluent in all that Nu-nerd-herd language, and that was like a salt-lick/cattle call to the demographic... a challenge if you will... (like the challenge to wear a cape too [is this 'sartorialist' actually 'up' on fashion? Should one be looking there for advice, or is a "look at THIS blog", I cannot tell yet).

It is sort of funny that the boing-boing blog in the FPP features ads (likely not the fault of the blog, but it seems to not just be "random google ads") for the insufferable(?) "snorg-tees", and also "american apparel"... two pretty classless, sexist outfits, to a Tee.
posted by infinite intimation at 4:21 PM on October 2, 2012


Okay. So.

Living in Seattle - as Apropos of Something and KathrynT mentioned earlier - hats are helpful because of weather and due to wind umbrellas are often useless.

So what the hell am I supposed to wear on my head to keep rain out of my eyes and my hair dry and water from running down the back of of my neck?

My head is JUST the wrong size that your average baseball cap rides ridiculously high on it, and apparently I should be mocked, ridiculed, and get a job as a bellringer in a cathedral, yelling SANCTUARY, SANCTUARY for the sin of wanting to wear any other kind of hat. And no, shaving my head is not an option.

I figure since people are getting sanctimonious about hats in here, they might have a suggestion.

(I've worn fedoras, not because of any cool factor, or anything like that, I just like how they look and how they look on me, but apparently now that's just proof of how evil I really am, according to this link and a considerable number of posts in this thread.)
posted by mephron at 4:26 PM on October 2, 2012


F the anti-fedora noise. Sometimes a guy needs a hat (cold weather, having to dash out the door without time to wash hair, etc.) The hat options for guys are absurdly limited. Baseball hats are accepted socially, but they're freaking ugly and they send the message that you're a sloppy trog jock. Ski cap beanies make you look like Mike Nesmith. Berets make you look like a mime. Cowboy hats are for hillbillies who voted for Bush, twice. But fedoras... well, fedoras are sharp-looking hats. That they've finally come back into style is a major boon to the sad, constraining world of male fashion.

Yes, sometimes douchebags wear fedoras. But if decent men stop wearing fedoras because the douchebags also wear them, then only douchebags will wear fedoras... And what a sad, sad world that would be.

In closing... There are 9 million snarky buttholes online who will try to shame you for doing anything. Wear whatever the hell you like, and find better uses for your time than those sad folks who maintain Tumblrs about lonely single dudes wearing hats or some shit.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:28 PM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Watch any movie more than a couple decades old, and you'll see the male protagonists displaying behaviors that we now think of as outdated or offensive.

I have not dated in ... some time.

I'm curious as to what these behaviors would be, presuming that you're talking 70s/80s and not 50s/60s.
posted by madajb at 4:30 PM on October 2, 2012


F the anti-fedora noise. Sometimes a guy needs a hat (cold weather, having to dash out the door without time to wash hair, etc.) The hat options for guys are absurdly limited. Baseball hats are accepted socially, but they're freaking ugly and they send the message that you're a sloppy trog jock. Ski cap beanies make you look like Mike Nesmith. Berets make you look like a mime. Cowboy hats are for hillbillies who voted for Bush, twice. But fedoras... well, fedoras are sharp-looking hats.

So, what you're saying is that you should be allowed to wear the hat you like and find functional without being associated with a specific negative stereotype, because... you associate all other hats with negative stereotypes?
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


Do Canadian Boy Scouts still wear berets? Maybe that experience accounts for my relative lack of weird-hat shame.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:34 PM on October 2, 2012


The hat options for guys are absurdly limited.

Really? Because the impression I got from reading this thread is quite the opposite. Hell, even the fez - a hat I normally associate with tiny cars - got some props here.

Speaking for myself, I ask of you: hundreds of comments in and no love for the ushanka? I am disappoint.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tangentially related: a piece about indie culture and beta-male misogyny.
posted by acb at 4:39 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think it's hilarious that in complaining about people judging you based on your hat, you judged people who wear berets, ski caps, and cowboy hats. I guess your right, no matter what you do a snarky asshole will judge you.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:39 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the thing you have to understand is gal pals don't get together on rainy days or in sunny fields and follow you around hissing and giggling to make you feel bad about your hat because we don't like you. They're talking about putting that hat on indoors for the purpose of mugging for you Photobooth and updating your profile pic. Those are two very different invocations of any hat. A hat of any kind on a stroll to protect the head and look sharp says intelligence; a hat specifically placed on a head before capturing your visage, so as to relay your true self the way you want to be seen to the masses along with a list of your likes and dislikes, is actually asking to be judged for intention.

If I uploaded a facebook album of myself in full Breakfast at Tiffany's regalia, you would have ideas about me...
posted by itsonreserve at 4:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, I think dreads on white dudes look ridic and telegraph a fair amount about the person.
posted by klangklangston at 4:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am interested in more talk about what it says when a woman is wearing a fedora

I actually know more women than men who wear fedoras.

In the case of both men and women, they're no more or less alike than the people I know who don't wear fedoras.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 4:42 PM on October 2, 2012


Also, I think dreads on white dudes look ridic and telegraph a fair amount about the person.

For me it's not the look so much as the incessant dread-twisting that drives me crazy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:44 PM on October 2, 2012


I found a 2:46 compilation of nothing but Michael Jackson doing fedora moves.

Hate to tell you but this completely absolutely totally rocks.
posted by bukvich at 4:46 PM on October 2, 2012


When I was fifteen and actually starting to look at guys as more than someone who could loan me good sci-fi books and dating wasn't just a word I giggled over at sleepovers, I distinctly remember one of my girl friends warn me about "The Guy With The Hat".

It wasn't any specific guy. It was just a kind of guy that was weird and awkward - especially around girls - that also handily telegraphed this to attentive single girls with "The Hat". He was the one that would give his female friends red roses for their birthday, who'd try to seat you at the table by pushing in your chair, who talked a lot about chivalry and always refered to women as "ladies" and females as "the fairer sex", and who never ever let you forget you were a girl and different and in need of protection.

Now "The Hat" wasn't necessarily a fedora, but almost all of them were (one was a bit more like an Amish sombrero whose name I can't be bothered to look up). At least once there was a feather (an eagle feather, he explained, discovered during a rough summer of hiking and saving wildlife, putting out fires, and risking his life while in the Boy Scouts).

A hat wasn't weird in itself - we had a mix of goths and role-playing nerds who would trade Magic the Gathering cards and wear gaudy dragon pendants and purple lipstick. Saying "The Guy With The Hat" was easier for pointing them out than "The Guy Who Has Creepy Vibes But Never Actually Done Anything Bad And He's Probably Nice Just Awkward and Too Polite But Don't Accept Gifts From Him."

This was thirteen years ago. "The Guy With The Hat" phrase lasted until college and then diversified and evolved. "The Guy With The Hat As Artist's Statement" took forefront, ranging from the guy with a tiara and pink shirts and matching pink bag (that he picked up while studying abroad in Paris and didn't I like it? yes it was lovely), to the guy with the styrofoam hat that loved ecstasy and techno who is now, as you might guess, a business executive with two homes and 2.5 kids.

These days I think it's really all about "The Guy With The Hat And The Beard" which obviously signifies men who can identify really good beer and discuss the finer points of postmodern literature.

I'm just saying all this because you all reminded me of it and I like hats and I have really fond memories of a lot of Guys With Hats.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 4:49 PM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


The argument from cool celebrity is a terrible argument for fedora wearing. Frank Sinatra looks cool in a fedora because he's fucking Frank Sinatra and he's cool. Same goes for Michael Jackson. You are not Frank Sinatra and you don't like nearly as cool as you think you do, if you're putting on a fedora and thinking you look like Sinatra.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:51 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


hundreds of comments in and no love for the ushanka?

I would LOVE an Ushanka. I just can't find a decent one.

I had one years ago, inherited from my grandfather. Loved it. Oh, god, it was awesome. He just said he 'brought it back from the War', which for him was World War One. (And he was German. The entirety of the story implied by those six words....)

My brother asked to borrow it one day in high school - winter track meet, some outdoor stuff on the track - and when he returned, he no longer had it.

"Where's my hat?"
"Uh... must have left it behind. Sorry."

I drove to where the meet was, an hour away, and searched in the February cold for it. It was gone.

Didn't talk to my brother for WEEKS, which was hard as we were living in the same house, working at the same McDonald's, and all that stuff. Damn near cried over that, because not only did I miss that ushanka, but it was the last thing I had of the man. It's still a point of contention between me and my brother.
posted by mephron at 4:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm curious as to what these behaviors would be, presuming that you're talking 70s/80s and not 50s/60s.

You'd be surprised. For example, I found myself watching Major League a while back, just to see if it held up. One thing that I *hadn't* remembered is how Tom Berenger's character basically stalks his female love interest, waiting for her outside of work, following her home, etc. At some point in history, people may have thought, "oh, it's just part of romantic comedy shenanigans", but I think anyone my age or younger (early 30s) would think "STALKER!"

But really, just watch any TV or movies from the 80s.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:59 PM on October 2, 2012


At the Fuck Yeah Fest Fest in LA, I counted no fewer than twelve people (men and women) wearing cutesy animal shaped ushankas in the 100 degree heat. Most were shaped like bears or buffalos, all of them looked goddamn sweltering.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on October 2, 2012


The canonical example of NO LONGER COOL, BRO is Cusack in Say Anything.
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


These days I think it's really all about "The Guy With The Hat And The Beard" which obviously signifies men who can identify really good beer and discuss the finer points of postmodern literature.

That is a perfect description of me. You just left out the part about listening to old blues singers.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:01 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


is this 'sartorialist' actually 'up' on fashion? Should one be looking there for advice, or is a "look at THIS blog", I cannot tell yet

The Sartorialist is a fashion blog as seen through the lens of a real honest-to-god fashion photographer. Most of the photos are taken in places like Paris and Milan. Many of them are shot outside fashion shows or fashion related events. So these are mostly pros we're dealing with -- you're looking at pictures of fashion designers, Savile Row tailors, and men who have corporate jobs with high end luxury brands. Or uber-wealthy jetsetter types.

Most of the men he shoots are sartorial ninjas. They tend to be older, and playing on a level most dudes don't even comprehend. It's exceedingly rare that he takes a photograph of just some random guy on the street who looks nice. And even when he does, it's never a guy who is "well dressed". It's a guy who is doing something really interesting with his clothes. Pulling off some insane look. Breaking all the rules.

Looking at this guy for basic menswear pointers is like trying to learn to draw from Picasso's high cubist period.

That said, the clothes are beautiful, and he's a great photographer. If you just want to look at the pretty pictures and be wowed, it's a great blog for that. If you want to dress yourself like an adult, I like Put This On and The Art Of Manliness.
posted by Sara C. at 5:03 PM on October 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


I hope the anti-fedora backlash doesn't extend itself to a general-purpose sartorial Jante law against wearing anything that could be construed as an assertion of the wearer being more interesting than the lowly worm he, like everybody else, is. Because I kind of like my shirt collection...
posted by acb at 5:03 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tangentially related: a piece about indie culture and beta-male misogyny.

Holy crap thank you for this. I love Peep Show, honestly, but whenever Mark gets romantically involved with someone, I find it positively infuriating for the very reason the author points out:
Despite his small-c conservatism in 'real' politics, Mark is borderline Maoist when it comes to the internecine rivalry of men, something that becomes particularly clear on the rare occasions that his clumsy romantic advances are reciprocated. Being in a relationship isn't, to him, its own reward, but an indication of a drastic redistribution of sexual capital which avenges him on those – especially Jeff, his alpha arch-enemy – he believes have 'oppressed' him. Women are treated as nothing more than symbols of advantage in a battle men fight between themselves.
Yes I do realize this is a fictional character and, in many ways, is not meant to be sympathized with 100%, but god damn if this isn't the epitome of being a living, breathing fedora.

While we're on the subject, can I be utterly unfair and point out that in my very unscientific observation, a lot of your run of the mill Nice Guys seem to love Chasing Amy? I realize I'm tangenting a bit here, but it's essentially the same dynamic at play. In fact, it's the ultimate Nice Guy fantasy: this Nice Guy doesn't win the girl away from some dudebro meathead, oh no - he wins her over from her own sexuality. That's just how awesome he is. And this is leaving aside the whole part about how we're left to sit screaming at our laptops in abject horror from that point on as the director attempts to make us sympathize with a guy who is jealous of his girlfriend's sexual history - that's another Nice Guy trait, I feel; that a girl with a sexual history even marginally kinkier than his own will eat him up inside as a conquest he missed out on, all the while couching this in "but I can't believe you let yourself be treated like that! You must have had pretty low self-esteem."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:05 PM on October 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


I've worn fedoras, not because of any cool factor, or anything like that, I just like how they look and how they look on me, but apparently now that's just proof of how evil I really am, according to this link and a considerable number of posts in this thread.

A fedora is fine. However. A fedora is a formal hat. If you're willing to step up your degree of everyday formality, you can continue to rock the fedora. Same would go for a trilby or a homburg. These are not jeans and t-shirt hats. A trilby is probably the most casual of all these hats -- you could maybe get away with a trilby with a collared shirt, good jeans, and grownup leather shoes (but not deck shoes).

If you want something more casual, a flat cap is a perfectly good option.

If the weather is chilly, a watch cap is perfect. If it's really cold, something with earflaps could be nice. Those red plaid hunters' caps are sort of cool.

If none of this makes sense to you, just go to REI and get yourself a rain jacket with a hood like all the other PNW-ers have.
posted by Sara C. at 5:09 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess what I'm trying to say is I needed a reason to fire a blunderbus of criticism at Nice Guys, and acb's article seems to have been the catalyst.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am interested in more talk about what it says when a woman is wearing a fedora

If it's a red fedora with a wide brim, and a black band, she's probably on the lam. Call interpol, stat!
posted by Sara C. at 5:12 PM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


Perhaps this explains Matt Drudge.
posted by Naberius at 5:14 PM on October 2, 2012


If none of this makes sense to you, just go to REI and get yourself a rain jacket with a hood like all the other PNW-ers have.

Also, I have this great canvas wide-brimmed hat (I'm not sure what it is, it's just a nice sturdy, wide-brimmed hat), that I got at REI. It's great. Works well as a causal hat, and as far as I can tell the only message it sends is "I like to do stuff outside, and keep the sun out of my eyes, or my head dry."

If you live in Seattle and don't go to REI, I honestly don't know how you stay dry.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:18 PM on October 2, 2012


Is my waxed cotton Tilley knockoff still okay? I used to get a lot of complements on the old outback but they've waned in the last few years. I have so few conversation starters left these days and I just want to be loved okay.
posted by mcrandello at 5:19 PM on October 2, 2012


This being the East Coast, a male in a crew cut, a fedora or cowboy hat, a black leather vest, and cowboy boots on the subway (Washington, DC)

(a) in Halloween costume
(b) a transplant from Texas
(c) a hipster/jackass (continuum)
(d) works for ATF, or says he does
(e) works for a security-related dot.com, or says he does
posted by bad grammar at 5:21 PM on October 2, 2012


I personally think Tilley hats are too utilitarian for everyday wear as a fashion statement, but I dunno, maybe that's a thing and I just don't know about it because I live in a big city where people tend not to mix fashion and rugged utility.

That said, if you are looking for a rain hat, yeah, that would probably be perfect.
posted by Sara C. at 5:24 PM on October 2, 2012


showbiz_liz: "It's like if a woman went around wearing washing-up clothes and a sparkly tiara, or something."


I have been known to wear a tiara to the grocery store. Because...I have one.
posted by dejah420 at 5:25 PM on October 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


i'm wearing a plate of beans on my head

feel free to discuss
posted by pyramid termite at 5:26 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


FWIW, here in Japan, in Tokyo, the fedora and trilby are by now pretty standard fashion accessories. As far as I can tell, men and women wear them equally, though if I were to guess, I'd say they're more common on women. They're especially popular with the 20 something crowd. But they are not at all unusual on 30-and 40 somethings as well.
posted by zardoz at 5:29 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have so few conversation starters left these days and I just want to be loved okay.

Have you tried a novelty T-shirt? Like with "if you can read this you're too fucking close" written in very small type on the front, or maybe an ironic concert tee of Krokus or W.A.S.P.

Barring that, non-jokingly, pins. And by that I don't mean a dozen or so ironic pins covering one of the lapels of your black trench. I mean a solitary, understated pin bearing something meaningful to you, preferably without text on it. To me - and I could be just clueless here - a single low-key pin is playful without being juggler-and-mime levels of Peter Pan syndrome, can coordinate nicely if it's small enough and matches what you're wearing, and can be a neat take on what's normally been seen as a tacky accessory worn by people who are literally announcing something about their identity. Done right, I think it can work.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:31 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gygesringtone: "If you live in Seattle and don't go to REI, I honestly don't know how you stay dry."

I grew up on the east side of the the state, I didn't move here to stay dry.

I used to frequently wear a cowboy hat but that was mostly for practical reason while on horseback. Never really felt comfortable wearing hats.
posted by the_artificer at 5:40 PM on October 2, 2012


1) I'm a man.

2) I consider myself a nerd.

3) I wear fedoras only on casual outings. I never wear hats to formal occasions.

4) The primary advantage of fedoras for me is to block skin-damaging UV rays.

5) I don't consider myself immune to misogyny, but as far as warning signs for it go, Wears Fedora => Nerd Misogyny fails to reach the par by a distance approaching that between Eats Organic => Foodie Classism.
posted by fatehunter at 5:47 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I live in a big city where people tend not to mix fashion and rugged utility.

While I live in Seattle, where people wear jeans, hiking boots, and Polarfleece to the opera.
posted by KathrynT at 5:52 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what I'm saying is, Tilley hat knockoff? A-OK.
posted by KathrynT at 5:53 PM on October 2, 2012


KathrynT: "Well, what better term do you have for those guys who do, in fact, treat women like vending machines that you put kindness into until sex falls out?"

Some men see women as puzzle boxes.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Y'know, it would be nice if hats did come back into fashion. Regular outside hats that is, not fashion statement accessory inside hats. Fedoras, top hats, derbies, newsboy caps... Anything but fezes and boaters, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Hey, I look really cute in a boater.

And everyone knows that fezzes are cool.
posted by jb at 5:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you know that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk banned the fez in Turkey in 1925?

From what I understand Turks are still sort of touchy about the whole fez thing, and you don't really see them there. I'm not sure if they're still illegal.
posted by Sara C. at 6:16 PM on October 2, 2012


If you wear a fez, don't you also need to wear a red satin smoker's jacket and ascot?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:27 PM on October 2, 2012


is this even about hats because what
posted by ninjew at 6:29 PM on October 2, 2012


what every single metafilter thread basically boils down to is: bitches be trippin
posted by elizardbits at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everybody please try tricornes.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:34 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, what you're saying is that you should be allowed to wear the hat you like and find functional without being associated with a specific negative stereotype, because... you associate all other hats with negative stereotypes?

I'm saying that people should wear whatever damn hat they wanna wear. I think most of the hats available for men are just assy, and a lot of them do carry some unfortunate associations. But cowboy hats, for example, can look good on certain people and in certain situations, and I'm not going to start up a damn blog ragging on pictures of strangers because I disapprove of their hats.

So, you should be aware of what kind of impression your hat choice is gonna give to people, but rock the headgear that makes you happy. Even if I think your propeller beany makes you look like the Doofus King, if it makes you happy, then spin that little propeller, baby. (Although the fact that fedoras are under attack while the baseball cap is the Standard Male Hat says some really horrifying things about us as a culture. A baseball cap never, ever looks good... Not even on people playing baseball.)

Fedoras just look better than a lot of the other hats out there. It's early days yet for the "only douchebags wear fedoras" stereotype, and I say we strike it down before it sets.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:38 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh shit I just realized there's a photo on my fb where I'm wearing a fedora. the fact that the wearing of said hat lasted 20 seconds and was done ironically and also the hat was returned to its female owner won't matter. brb deleting
posted by ninjew at 6:40 PM on October 2, 2012


Hats are like sunglasses. If you wear them for their actual purpose, nobody really cares. If you wear them for non-utilitarian reasons and make a big deal about them and say in your dating profile that you're known for your awesome fedora, congratulations for making yourself The Guy With The Hat.

Otherwise, you're just a guy in a hat. Take it off when you come inside, just like you do with your sunglasses, and don't make a big deal about it if you don't want other people to make a big deal about it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What are you feelings on hipsters wearing keffiyehs?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2012


Bowlers and top hats can also look great, but in 2012 they read as very, very art school kid. I hope they come back around, but if you wear one in public these days you're basically asking for people wearing baseball caps to harass you at the bus stop.

And even the Doctor couldn't make fezzes cool.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2012


I am sad that you neglected to use the word ASSCANDLE again in that comment.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everybody please try tricornes.

Nuts to that. Buh-buh-buh-buckle hats! We be kickin it large, Pilgrim Style!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Sidhedevil said.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:44 PM on October 2, 2012


For what it's worth, while I am about as anti Unfortunate Hat as it gets, and while I would personally like to apply for a job with the Fashion Police, I think those blogs are really unfair.

For example, I'm in favor of a moratorium on snarking on unfortunately-hatted folks under the age of ~19-ish. Your teen years are for making mistakes so that you can move on from them and get a better handle on yourself. And, hell, better to take pictures of yourself mugging in an ugly trilby at a fast food restaurant than a lot of other horrible things teenagers do which might have real world consequences.

I, for one, wore all kinds of terrible things as a teenager, up to and including an ostentatious fake fur coat, pink hair pinned back with plastic barrettes, and an old Muppets lunch box in lieu of a purse. I looked like a kinderpimp. So I'm prepared to cut some of these kids some slack. A fedora would have been an improvement, for me.
posted by Sara C. at 6:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Data point: I have been known to wear a hat that looks sort of like this, except mine's black, old and battered. I only wear it outdoors, and only when the weather gets cold. Yes, I wear it backwards because I think it looks better that way, but I am by no means a hipster, just a middle-aged bald guy trying to keep my head warm.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 6:45 PM on October 2, 2012


oh shit I just realized there's a photo on my fb where I'm wearing a fedora

I have one, too. I bought it in a market in Peru at the request of a friend of mine who wanted a hat "like the little old campesina ladies wear". And so of course I had to take a selfie in the bathroom of the youth hostel mugging in said hat. I also had to wear it on the plane, because it didn't fit in my luggage. Cringe.

I hope I don't show up on one of those blogs.
posted by Sara C. at 6:47 PM on October 2, 2012


What are you feelings on hipsters wearing keffiyehs?

Two thousand and late.
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


an ostentatious fake fur coat, pink hair pinned back with plastic barrettes, and an old Muppets lunch box in lieu of a purse.

I'm not seeing the problem here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:49 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


lol ravers
posted by elizardbits at 6:51 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What can I say, I'm a sucker for that look, and I wasn't even in that scene. Old habits die hard. But I still don't want to play with the invisible ball.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Apocryphon, I am Team Bicorne 4 life.

Also hennins.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:56 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Take it off when you come inside, just like you do with your sunglasses

Where can I find a place to put my fedora when I'm inside a mall? A bookstore? A crowded library where I don't want to take a coveted seat since I just want to browse and others may need a seat more?

Taking off sunglasses inside is more of an established etiquette rule because it's easy to put sunglasses in one's pocket or bag.
posted by fatehunter at 6:56 PM on October 2, 2012


If you wear a fedora, take it off and carry it indoors. If you're going somewhere that you'll be inside for hours (mall, theater, library, restaurant where you don't know if there's a coat check or rack or what), don't wear a hat that day.

Or leave it in your car, if you live in a driving place.
posted by Sara C. at 7:00 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


an ostentatious fake fur coat, pink hair pinned back with plastic barrettes, and an old Muppets lunch box in lieu of a purse.

Oh, the 90s.

( the audio equivalent of this outfit is Esquivel's Mucho Muchaha)
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I forgot that I'd talked about Straw Hat Riots in that cape thread on the Green.

Well, then. Internet mockery doesn't seem quite so bad, now? You tell 'em, whalebone, you've been around the ladies. Hot cha cha!
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:08 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Taking your hat off indoors has been an established etiquette rule since before sunglasses existed in the Western world (the Inuit were way out in front on sunglasses, but).

You carry it in your hand, is what you do. To North American people born before 1930 or so, men wearing hats indoors (except for religious reasons) is unbelievably rude. Rude like picking your nose in public rude.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:10 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's hard to drive in a hennin, though. Unless you have a sunroof.
posted by catlet at 7:14 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't drive. When I go out on a free day, I always spend hours inside a mall/bookstore/library and hours outdoors, because walking and reading are by far my favorite pastimes.

I won't wear a hat in a theater since it might block the view of people behind me. How do I negatively impact people with my hat in a mall? Seriously, I would like to know. What am I doing that makes people enjoy their lives less? I'll change my behavior (sunscreen works better at blocking UV rays anyway. I just hate the greasy feel and "re-apply every two hours") if it interferes with others.

To North American people born before 1930 or so, men wearing hats indoors (except for religious reasons) is unbelievably rude.

I don't want to derail the thread, but the list of etiquette rules applied to people born before 1930 but no longer relevant... And unless I'm mistaken, one of the objections to fedoras raised in this thread is perceived nostalgia for a less enlightened society of yore.
posted by fatehunter at 7:15 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those of you insisting that fedoras are "formal", I'd point out that I have family photos from the 1930-40s of family members wearing fedoras both with their Sunday best AND others where they're wearing them while wearing bib overalls and preparing to butcher chickens.

Nearly all of the family photos I have from that era show the men wearing hats in all variety of outdoor settings. Many of the photos taken in the farm fields show straw hats in fedora shapes, other styles of straw hats, etc. Some clearly wore driving caps as their "nice" hats, but it's abundantly clear to me that, at least for my family in the 30s-40s, they had "nice" fedoras and fedoras they wore while in the fields.

In many of the photos, they not wearing suit coats, sport coats or any sort of jacket. They're in button-down shirts with their sleeves rolled up, etc.
posted by jwynia at 7:17 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


To North American people born before 1930 or so, men wearing hats indoors (except for religious reasons) is unbelievably rude.

They'll be more concerned about the mismatched skin color of my GF and I, so I don't sweat it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:18 PM on October 2, 2012


Then on your free days when you're headed to the mall or the library or whatnot, don't wear a hat.

You take your hat off indoors because it's what civilized humans do. Not because you're specifically inconveniencing others.

I could make a slight exception for a mall, because malls are fairly uncouth places in general. But so fucking help me god, if I see you in a fedora at a table in a food-consuming place, I will smack it off your head and swig the last of your poncey signature cocktail. I mean, have a little self-respect.

BTW, this is all part of why hats are not 101 level fashion items, and why they're not a great match for West Coast sysadmin signature individualism. Hats have history and etiquette, and a whole culture that is decades, if not centuries, older than you. Hats don't care about your individual needs. Hats spit on your Barnes & Noble browsing experience. If you can't handle that, the correct response is not to wear a hat.

If you want to be a lone sartorial wolf outside the bounds of the social contract, wear a leather jacket or something.
posted by Sara C. at 7:22 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


fatehunter, wear your hat in the mall if it feels like too much of a hassle to carry it. You will be annoying some old people with what they will parse as disrespect, but it'll give them something to complain about, I guess. (My dad would always be enraged when we were in a restaurant and guys were wearing hats, and would fulminate grandly about it.)

What I think is annoying is when you go to a party and everyone takes off their coats, gloves, and other outerwear, but some guy keeps on his jaunty fedora because it's his fashion statement. That's not a marginal case like wearing a hat in a mall (which is kind of liminal outdoors/indoors space).
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:23 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


AND others where they're wearing them while wearing bib overalls and preparing to butcher chickens

Those aren't fedoras. This is why hats are not entry-level dude fashion. There's just too much confusion about what is what and what the proper context is and how it should work.

Also, you don't emulate your overall-wearing chicken slaughtering Depression-era relatives in anything else, so why do you want to emulate their approach to hat wearing. Seriously, you're talking about people who may not have owned shoes. Their fashion rules are not your fashion rules.

Also, I bet they took those hats off indoors.
posted by Sara C. at 7:24 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really can't catch up. So I'll try to post in good faith and ignore the children.

Prejudice demeans the bigot. Hats or dicks or vans or what people say.

I've said at least one thing that reveals my bias: If you say, "sense of entitlement", I'll pretty much ignore the rest of what you have to say. I'll cop to the same thing if you say, "You people." These things debase me but they don't diminsh the dignity of the people I dismiss.

Racism, sexism, hatism, prejudice, they're all the same to me: bigotry. If you think the "nice guy" thing is gender-related, you're debasing yourself. Somebody snarkily thanked me upstairs for taking the part of the poor downtrodden. I'm not trying to help the downtrodden. Their dignity is intact. I'm trying to help "you people." The bigots. Like me.

Please don't debase yourself over the color of somebody's van or what their gender or skin color might be. Please don't debase yourself over their hat. There are "nice guys" of every race, gender and hat style.

The rampant sexism I see in mefi debases the bigots who espouse it.
posted by stubby phillips at 7:24 PM on October 2, 2012


ChurchHatesTucker, the set of "people born before 1930" includes interracial couples, so I'm not getting your point? One of the octogenarians I know who is most pissed off about indoor hats is a black lady whose late husband was Mohawk, actually.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2012


hatism

Does not exist.
posted by Sara C. at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2012


You take your hat off indoors because it's what civilized humans do.

Oh.

If you want to be a lone sartorial wolf outside the bounds of the social contract, wear a leather jacket or something.

We clearly live in different societies, then.
posted by fatehunter at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2012


" I don't consider myself immune to misogyny, but as far as warning signs for it go, Wears Fedora => Nerd Misogyny fails to reach the par by a distance approaching that between Eats Organic => Foodie Classism."

Actually, that's an excellent analogy. Nobody minds if you eat organic food, really. But as soon as you become That Organic Guy, people are gonna make fun of your bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


"hatism Does not exist."

"You take your hat off indoors because it's what civilized humans do."

ok. I probably should not have responded to this....
posted by stubby phillips at 7:30 PM on October 2, 2012


stubby phillips, you're pretending that the term "Nice Guys" refers to guys who are nice. The capital letters should signal to you that it is a term of art, with a particular meaning (sometimes people write "Nice Guys TM" to make it even clearer they're using the words in a particular idiomatic sense somewhat removed from their ordinary significance).

"Nice Guys" refers to guys who passive-aggressively complain about how women owe them sex in return for kindness, as opposed to nice guys, who don't do that.

"Golddiggers" is often used of women who chase rich men, not of women who prospect for precious metals. Similarly, a "Dutch oven" is a style of pan, and a "porkpie" is a kind of hat, not an actual pork pie.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:31 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


there are those days in high school when you hear everyone carrying on about what so-and-so is wearing or what music such-and-such listens to and you think "man, won't it be great to be grown up and be able to live in a world where no one is so ridiculously small-minded as to judge people on the basis of such ridiculously trivial things?"
If anything this comparison is unfair to the high school cliques. They at least have the innocence to believe that choices of fashion and hobby are intrinsically meritorious or contemptible things, and so their judgement stops there. They don't have to rationalize it by simultaneously constructing precarious arguments about how horrible your beliefs and how immoral your behaviors must be.

Disclaimer: although I've never regularly worn a hat, a recent sunburn-through-my-hair may have convinced me to change that soon.
posted by roystgnr at 7:31 PM on October 2, 2012


not an actual pork pie.

boy is MY face red.
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Full disclosure: I own no hats.
posted by stubby phillips at 7:32 PM on October 2, 2012


I know we've been down this road before on MetaFilter, and I don't want to argue, but I remain a hard line "no hats indoors" partisan.

Especially not while you're eating.

Especially if it's a fedora or similar brimmed hat.

I don't really understand why people take such umbrage at this, or why "but what will I do when I go inside a place?" is even a question.
posted by Sara C. at 7:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"you're pretending that the term "Nice Guys" refers to guys who are nice"

No, I'm not. I'm explaining that women do the same thing sometimes.
posted by stubby phillips at 7:33 PM on October 2, 2012


interesting that this post is right after this one, about how you shouldn't judge people by one arbitrary characteristic.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:33 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Especially not while you're eating.

Especially if it's a fedora or similar brimmed hat.


If you're in an informal eating establishment, such as pushcart pickle vendor, a quick grilled cheese at the bar, a bromo egg-cream at the counter, or a sauerkraut sausage stand, then it's probably okay to leave your hat on.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


stubby phillips, can you find three examples of women complaining angrily that their male friends owe them sex on the Internet?

Also, talking about how other people are "debasing" themselves is mad condescending.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:37 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the internet? No. I have three scars that prove this. Is that enough?
posted by stubby phillips at 7:38 PM on October 2, 2012


I'm actually fine with putting down my hat in a restaurant/whenever I'm seated. It's simply impractical when I'm on foot.
posted by fatehunter at 7:39 PM on October 2, 2012


If it's outdoors (sausage stand), sure.

If it's McDonald's and a ball cap and you're taking your order to go, who am I to question you?

If you're going into a sit down restaurant for the purposes of eating food on the premises, just take your hat off, jeez.
posted by Sara C. at 7:40 PM on October 2, 2012


On the trilby-fedora confusion:

A trilby is, indeed, a kind of fedora, inasmuch as a fedora is a felt hat with a crease in the top. However, there are many people (like the author of the article and the OKC Tumblr) who always use "fedora" to mean "trilby" unless they're talking about Frank Sinatra. This doesn't seem to be from a desire to use a broad term so much as from a lack of understanding the distinction (or just not knowing what a trilby is), which becomes confusing.

I will say a trilby is pretty much the only fashion accessory I find offensive, though sure when the association developed. It also completely doesn't register as offensive if it goes with a suit, preferably with vest.

Full Disclosure: I'm "the guy in a hat". It's a Panama or cap, depending on season, though my Panama wore out and I've passed this summer bareheaded, for the first time in six years.

Never again.

posted by 23 at 7:40 PM on October 2, 2012


Hats have history and etiquette, and a whole culture that is decades, if not centuries, older than you. Hats don't care about your individual needs. Hats spit on your Barnes & Noble browsing experience.

For goodness' sake, this is really making too big of a deal about hats. I usually don't take my hat off indoors because I get wicked hat hair. Besides, half the time I'm wearing a hat, it's just because I didn't wanna wash my hair. I don't think I'm shocking anybody when I wear a hat at the bookstore. If wearing a hat indoors was once a major faux pas, it just isn't anymore. I don't think anybody gives a poop.

And if you live someplace cold, I think you're entitled to wear any kind of hat that will keep your head warm. A deerstalker, a furry Russian Cossack hat, whatever will keep you from getting frostbitten earlobes.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:41 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


the set of "people born before 1930" includes interracial couples, so I'm not getting your point?

Fair enough. I just don't think "because old people..." is a valid answer to anything but questions about old people. (And I'm getting up there myself.)

NOT OCTOGENERIANRIST!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:41 PM on October 2, 2012


Besides, half the time I'm wearing a hat, it's just because I didn't wanna wash my hair.

No.
posted by Sara C. at 7:42 PM on October 2, 2012




stubby, "Nice Guys" is an Internet term of art used to describe an Internet phenomenon of which I could easily find you three thousand examples. Probably three hundred thousand examples, if I had the time.

I am sorry three (or more) women pretended to be your friend so that they could fuck you, while not really valuing your friendship at all. That sucks that that happened to you, really.

That doesn't at all diminish the reality of "Nice Guys" as an Internet phenomenon. There are support forums for men to grouse about how bitches be trippin' and how they all owe sex and how it's just not FAIR that they used all the cheat codes and didn't get into the vagina castle.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:43 PM on October 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


This thread has been pretty interesting--led me to having a good conversation about clothes with my husband. He's not interested in fashion except to seem disinterested in fashion. Honestly, his sartorial choices stopped evolving sometime in high school--he still wears too-big t-shirts and cargo shorts and baseball caps. he sees these as unmarked choices; I see them as very emblematic of a time. For example, I recently asked him to bring a nice shirt on a trip for our anniversary dinner and he reached for a "nice soft button-up" as he put it, a very worn-out, baggy flannel that he's had since high school, in the back of his closet. Anyway, I do most of the clothes buying for him, and I ended up sharing nerdboyfriend with him and talking about classic menswear and he said he's open to wearing some more classic men's styles if I get them for him. But I still think I might have a bit of an uphill climb; he's convinced that "cool old man clothing" (which we both like lots) is now the purview of "pretentious hipsters."

And he says he would never wear a non-baseball cap hat. Which is too bad. He'd look nice in a driving cap.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 PM on October 2, 2012


Oh, and the reason "Nice Guys" is used to describe Internet dudes who complain passive-aggressively about how they're not getting the sex they're rightfully owed by the shallow bitches who've friendzoned them? It's because that's how they describe themselves, almost every time.

It's an outrage to actual guys who actually are nice. And kind. And generous.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


the great thing about cool man clothing is that it's still good looking after everyone else has tottered off to another trend.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. There is a thing called Nice Guy Syndrome where guys who are generally nerdy seem to believe, either because of exposure to the PUA community or otherwise, that they merit sex or other favors from specific women because they're better than other dudes. This is not cool.

2. Guys in #1 wear fedoras a lot, probably because it's a pretty easy way to peacock.

3. There are lots of other reasons to wear a hat, like you want to keep your head protected from the rain / sun, or it was your grandfather's, or your SO bought it for you, or you think it looks nice.

4. You should respect the tradition and etiquette of the hat by wearing a hat appropriate to the rest of your attire, removing it when indoors and ensuring it's appropriately sized. All of these rules are in the spirit of the reasons in #3.

5. People will violate the etiquette of the hat, and that's rude. But being rude is not nearly as bad as being a creeper (see #1). Even if creepers followed every rule of the hat, they'd still be creepers. Even if creepers didn't wear hats, they'd still be creepers.

6. People shouldn't be creepers. People also shouldn't finish their blog posts on creepers, no matter how well intentioned, by suggesting that it's wrong or weird for a man to wear something originally made for women, because that's got links to some not-so-nice links to sexism and homophobia too.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:50 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anybody here going to 'fess up to having a beret?
I'll see your beret and raise you a Balmoral bonnet, which I made so I'd have an appropriate hat to wear with my kilt.
posted by usonian at 7:52 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Remember when Berets where symbols of Rural France?

Me neither.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re Bamoral Bonnet - I thought that was a tam?

What's the difference between a tam, a beret, and something like the Balmoral Bonnet?

(As a knitter, there are subtle differences in the patterns and styling of berets vs. tams, but knitters have their own crazy rules that often do not mirror that of the rest of society.)
posted by Sara C. at 7:59 PM on October 2, 2012


You know, one of the hallmarks of genuinely nice men is this: when women talk about recurring misogyny and how much it sucks - even if those women are angry! even if those women do not qualify their every sentence! even if those women do not prioritize the feelings of men who may be reading! - a genuinely nice dude will say to himself "this is about misogyny, a big giant thing which causes tremendous material and emotional suffering for virtually all women and which does not injure me at all, so I will just step back in this conversation; as a nice man, I know that if it's not about me, I don't need to make it about me".

Nice Guys, in my experience, hear a conversation in which women don't fall all over themselves to qualify their talk about men and do not center the feelings of male observers....and those Nice Guys flip out. "But I don't do that! You're insulting me! And men like me! Who are sterling people! And it's demeaning that you women are so sexist against men! Don't you understand that you're just hurting yourselves? It's so sad what the internet will permit."

Perversely, the very act of insulting women for daring to insinuate that there are Nice Guys in these here waters is a pretty good sign that you're a Nice Guy yourself.
posted by Frowner at 7:59 PM on October 2, 2012 [28 favorites]


[stubby, take a break from this thread at this point, for real.]
posted by cortex at 8:03 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


People also shouldn't finish their blog posts on creepers, no matter how well intentioned, by suggesting that it's wrong or weird for a man to wear something originally made for women, because that's got links to some not-so-nice links to sexism and homophobia too.

As a gay man, I'm glad that someone mentioned this. Though I think the etiquette aspect of the fedora debate has more legs than links to -isms and -phobias.

Too bad that etiquette debates don't seem to go anywhere. Where I live (Vancouver), plenty of people keep their hats on in malls/bookstores and no one bats an eye. Is this because of the "West Coast individualism" thing? I knew there was a reason why I ditched Toronto for Vancouver.
posted by fatehunter at 8:11 PM on October 2, 2012


I won't wear a hat in a theater since it might block the view of people behind me. How do I negatively impact people with my hat in a mall?

I think in the mall situation you could get away with wearing a hat until you actually walked into a store. Then you really have to take it off. It's outerwear like gloves and sunglasses. I fail to see why this is difficult to understand.

My uncle wore a fedora, but he could get away with it because he was born in 1942 and was a priest.

I could possibly wear a fedora, but it will only happen when I am at least 45 years old and wearing a suit and tie with an overcoat on a slightly rainy day and need to walk to some sufficiently formal or dour event.
posted by deanc at 8:11 PM on October 2, 2012


k
posted by stubby phillips at 8:13 PM on October 2, 2012


What's the difference between a tam, a beret, and something like the Balmoral Bonnet?
What I take away from this discussion is that Tam O'Shanters have a wider top that's often worn fairly flat, while Balmorals are a little smaller and more military/beret-like in appearance and shaping. Balmorals and tams both differ from berets in that there's a little bit of a crown (often diced) before the top expands outward; a beret expands straight out from the band.
posted by usonian at 8:13 PM on October 2, 2012


It's outerwear like gloves and sunglasses. I fail to see why this is difficult to understand.

Coats are also outerwear. I don't take off my coat and carry it in bookstores because it hinders me from holding a book in one hand and flipping pages with the other. A fedora is somewhat more manageable, but still a bother.
posted by fatehunter at 8:19 PM on October 2, 2012


The day BoingBoing has a say in my fashion choices is the day everyone gets a hall pass to shoot me in the face.
posted by jscott at 8:27 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


If a hat is a bother, then simply don't wear one.

This isn't 1962.
posted by Sara C. at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2012


I personally don't get the nice guys are the real bad guys thing. Most people want to have sex, what are they supposed to do, be mean? Indifferent? Just flat out say "I want to have sex with you"?

You know who also complains about not getting laid enough, everyone else.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:31 PM on October 2, 2012


If a hat is a bother, then simply don't wear one.

It's only a bother when people demand me to take it off and carry it, which only online people have ever done, and never with reasons beyond "this is the way it is and should be."

It's not the way it is where I live or where I came from.
posted by fatehunter at 8:37 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are fedoras and other brimmed hats common where you live?

No?

I thought not.

When you decide to wear that sort of hat, the onus is on you to do it correctly.
posted by Sara C. at 8:42 PM on October 2, 2012


It's just common courtesy. Many acts of common courtesy, if ignored, do not directly hurt anyone and no one will generally say anything to your face about it, either. You do these acts of common courtesy as a part of the maintenance of societal harmony and to show people around you that you bear a modicum of respect for others. Keeping your jaunty fedora on when indoors isn't like sneezing in someone's coffee, but neither is carrying your hat any great affront to your person.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:42 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


My thoughts on hats:

(a) I like the fedora. I think it looks like a guy is trying to have style. And I deeply appreciate it that a fedora-wearing guy is TRYING. Now, I say this as someone who hasn't run into the fedora creepers in person, I might be biased if I had.

You know what's not sexy? Baseball caps. Endless, perennial, constantly-on-the-head baseball caps. Dirty, semi-bent, worn every single minute without fail baseball caps. As Cher from Clueless would point out ("I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair - ew - and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so."), I have yet to hear of a woman swooning over yet another dude in a baseball cap unless he is an actual baseball player. He blends in with the crowd of jocks. He isn't trying to look nice or impress anyone. Feh on baseball caps. I know they're practical if you're at a sports game, but they aren't a style.

You know what my "guy in the hat" is? The skeevy dudes that go for me are over 40, wearing glasses and a beard, and a baseball cap. Every time I see one of these dudes anywhere and they see me, they buzz over like I'm catnip and creep all over me. (And for the record, I apparently pass for 16 years old as of this weekend, so I can't help but think they're looking for underage or barely legal girls when they are decades past that age.) I haven't had a fedora dude come after me EVER. But maybe that's my end of California and our fedora dudes are okay guys.

(b) Regarding ladies wearing fedoras: I have one friend who wears them frequently. I own an Indiana Jones hat, thought it doesn't get out too often (see below). And you know a lady who rocked the fedora? LAURA FUCKING HOLT, THAT'S WHO. And I love her.

(c) I love hat wearing, but the whole "you can't wear hats indoors" thing just sucks because I have to spend 95% of every damn day indoors, so I can't ever wear a hat. It's like, what's the point of having a nice cute hat if I can't ever wear it except for going in and out of work because I spend all day at work? Gah. I want to wear it indoors just so I can WEAR IT SOMETIME, or ANY TIME.

No, I don't actually do it because I got yelled at a lot during my Blossom hat phase, but I want to. Grrr.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:45 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why I only wear my hat on outside days.

I would like to wear a hat more. I really would. Except I am an inside lady, so.

I'm fairly sure that the true downfall of the hat was the onset of indoor sedentary culture (house to car to office to car to house), and also malls. I bet you could graph the rise of the mall and the downfall of the hat, and they'd be in perfect inverse ratio.
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 PM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love hat wearing, but the whole "you can't wear hats indoors" thing just sucks because I have to spend 95% of every damn day indoors, so I can't ever wear a hat.

Except that women are allowed, and even expected, to wear a hat indoors. So go crazy.

The exception is when she is in her own home, such that at a dinner party, the women guests would be ok wearing hats, but the hostess would not be.
posted by deanc at 8:52 PM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, supposedly the downfall of the hat came along with JFK not wearing a hat (or so the rumor goes), but otherwise I think I agree that the onset of indoor sedentary culture ruined hats.

I've been yelled at for the hat rule enough times to think that women do not get a pass for that any more. Well, maybe they do in England where the hats could eat several people's heads, but not in America.

Thing is, even if I by chance do get to spend a day outside, it doesn't even occur to me to get a hat (unless someone says to me to get a hat, like the annual work picnics). Because I am so used to not getting to wear them that it doesn't even occur to me any more that hey, it's a Saturday in summer, and I COULD now without someone yelling at me. Sad but true.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:55 PM on October 2, 2012


Are fedoras and other brimmed hats common where you live?

Brimmed hats are quite common (I'm kind of fuzzy on the distinction between fedoras and other brimmed hats). As I said above, I don't see most people taking their hats (brimmed or not) off and carry them in malls/bookstores when they're on foot either.

Most people I see daily are practical. Taking the hat off when one sits down to eat or read is practical. Holding the hat in hand while walking or browsing for hours is not.
posted by fatehunter at 8:56 PM on October 2, 2012


When you decide to wear that sort of hat, the onus is on you to do it correctly.

Wow. This is a thing someone actually said. In all seriousness.
posted by yoink at 8:57 PM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hesitated to post this, but here goes.

This is my hat. That hat could be classified as a fedora. Due to a medical condition, I'm more or less stuck wearing this hat or something with a reasonably broad brim when outdoors or in bright lights indoors, so as to minimize the frequency with which I undergo a somewhat gruesome and expensive procedure, unless I would like to go around looking more unappealing than is strictly necessary as the skin on my face degrades. I have grown my hair out to cover a part of my face I haven't gotten treated yet, but I would, yes, like to have a hat on to cover it.

I have grown inured to the random comments — some jokey, some not — about my appearance if I have to go out in public. Elwood Blues on a good day. Them's the breaks.

Here, though? Here, where we have a nice thread down the hall about not judging people based on their appearances and another recently about the garments of a woman who partially selected her clothing to hide her injuries? Really, folks?

For a site where the emphasis is often on not judging people based on their appearance or their garb, I'm hearing quite a bit where members are giving themselves a pass on that behavior because of a tenuous connection.

You don't know why people are wearing what they wear.
posted by adipocere at 8:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


I've been yelled at for the hat rule enough times to think that women do not get a pass for that any more.

I'm fuzzy on this, too. Most of the non-winter hats I wear are masculine in style, so I usually don't wear a hat if I think I'll be inside a lot.

If I were at an English wedding, I guess that would be different.
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 PM on October 2, 2012


You don't know why people are wearing what they wear.

Oh, definitely, for the most part. But from what I'm seeing in this thread, people are taking the fedora in context of other factors rather than a straight-up equivalency of fedora = NG.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:03 PM on October 2, 2012


Watch any movie more than a couple decades old, and you'll see the male protagonists displaying behaviors that we now think of as outdated or offensive.

I'm curious as to what these behaviors would be, presuming that you're talking 70s/80s and not 50s/60s.


Watching Empire Strikes Back with my daughters for the first time, we all thought the way Han tries to push himself on Leia super-creepy and douche-baggy.
posted by straight at 9:26 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Emily Post sez:
Men – Hats can be left on…
  • Outdoors
  • At athletic events (indoors or out)
  • On public transportation
  • In public buildings such as post offices, airports, and hotel or office lobbies
  • On elevators
Men – Take hats off, including baseball caps …
  • In someone's home
  • At mealtimes, at the table
  • While being introduced, indoors or out (unless it's frigid!)
  • a house of worship, unless a hat or head covering is required
  • Indoors at work, especially in an office (unless required for the job)
  • In public buildings such as a school, library, courthouse, or town hall
  • In restaurants and coffee shops
  • At a movie or any indoor performance
  • When the national anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes by, as in a parade
The mall is sort of a judgment call, but my sense would be that it's closer to a post office or hotel lobby than a courthouse.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:36 PM on October 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sara C: No.

Yes. My head, my rules. It's one thing if you're obviously covering up greasy hair. But if it looks okay, what's the difference?

All this stuff about exactly where you can and can't wear a hat makes me feel like I've stumbled into the Victorian age. For heaven's sake, if somebody gets sniffy about you wearing a hat at the mall, it's their problem.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:54 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Real Men wear Stetson Open Road.
posted by Twang at 9:59 PM on October 2, 2012


I've also been guilty of lumping together all of The Guys with the Hats, which is why on first read of this "analysis" of the phenomenon, I was all, "Ah-ha! Now I understand why we all justifiably hate The Guy with the Hat!" But then I read it again and realized what a big muddy mess of WTF it is, bizarrely conflating sartorial affectations with actual real problematic behavior. The author also seems to be missing a huge point, which is that most of the people making fun of the guys in fedoras are doing so from that sad, small, awful place of needing to belittle someone they see as being "pretentious" or "trying too hard."

I will say that the few men in my life who wear fedoras and other hats without it coming off as an affectation share a few significant traits: confidence, a fully-developed sense of fashion (regarding what works for them, not necessarily what is currently stylish or traditionally correct), and an identity entirely separate from their headwear.

The rest of them, though? Maybe it does come off as an affectation, or look just plain silly, but who cares? As someone else so succinctly said above, nearly all clothing is an affectation. At this point in my life I honestly can't be arsed to care much what someone else chooses to wear, as I'm too busy not caring what other people think about my own clothing--and as a fat girl who doesn't think I need to make an effort hide my fatness from the world, people sure do like to tell me what they think of what I'm wearing a lot.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2012


Ad hominem, you can read about the difference between nice guys and Nice GuysTM earlier in the thread. It's been discussed to death already. The tl;dr version is: Nice Guys tell everyone they're nice guys, but behave like jerks; actual nice guys don't go on about how nice they are, they simply behave like nice people. The former are trying to camoflague themselves as the latter so we'd all like to know how to identify them more quickly, but it seems a hat-based system has too many exceptions to be a good rule.

I try not to make long-term judgements of people based on their appearance, but visual data is how we assess every single thing in the world until we can get further information via other methods. So first impressions count.

I've met enough douchebags in fedoras to be prepared in case any particular fedora-wearing fellow is also a douchebag. But it's not the only visual clue I'm using: sunscreen + fedora indicates someone concerned about skin cancer; scarf + fedora hints that the person is cold; pocket handkerchief + fedora might mean he's wandered off the set of Mad Men or is a time-traveller.

But I find ties with comedy characters on them far more of a warning sign. In the same way that sensible people know that a fedora alone will not make you suave, they know that bearing the totem of a funny thing does not give you a good sense of humour.
posted by harriet vane at 10:20 PM on October 2, 2012


Gygesringtone: "If you live in Seattle and don't go to REI, I honestly don't know how you stay dry."

because I'm a FAT GUY and they don't sell stuff that FITS ME.

Now you know why. Happy?
posted by mephron at 10:20 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


" how they all owe sex and how it's just not FAIR that they used all the cheat codes and didn't get into the vagina castle."

up up down down b a b a select clitoris
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 PM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Adipocere: I don't think you're who people are talking about with the Hat Guy or whatevs.

I will note that leather fedoras are really hard to pull off unless you have a bullwhip.
posted by klangklangston at 11:06 PM on October 2, 2012


you're pretending that the term "Nice Guys" refers to guys who are nice. The capital letters should signal to you that it is a term of art

I don't know. The capitals imply "ideal Platonic form" to me rather than "sarcastic jargon." Consistently used scare quotes would be a little better, but the term still sucks as anything other than in-group jargon. Having multiple contradictory definitions will just confuse and piss people off.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:08 PM on October 2, 2012


500 Comments in, it has to be said that some hat wearers are demonstrably capable of talking interestingly about their hats. Even if it's a 'thing', it's working for them.
posted by Ripper Minnieton at 12:02 AM on October 3, 2012


"The day BoingBoing has a say in my fashion choices is the day everyone gets a hall pass to shoot me in the face."

@jscott, on the contrary, you may consider your hats officially Boing Boing-approved.
posted by beschizza at 12:26 AM on October 3, 2012


At least the flat cap has no such connotations.

Are you an elderly man in a decaying, grim post-industrial northern hellhole going to put a pony on the whippet races?

No?

Then don't wear flat caps.

(Everybody under sixty whom I've seen wearing one just looked douchy, especially when what they're wearing is some $600 dollar monstrosity of what was once a working men's clothing item. And I hate that these now are bro wear, as my grandfather and other family members of his generation, stout yeoman farmers all, used to rock them something fierce and I used to think about trying them as well, but it's all been ruined.)

My theory about the rise of the fedora is that it took place around the same time that "nerd glasses" became popular in the mainstream.

Hate that. If you wear glasses for fashion reasons, go back to your contacts and leave the glasses wearing to those who actually need them.

I got one hat myself, which I got a few years ago as a Christmas present from my wife and it's perfect even if it can be mistaken for a fedora. Great for when it rains.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:23 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the fascinator has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled females whose social wiliness and manipulativeness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs. They aren't bad people – they simply need a place from which to draw a sense of femininity, if not from men.

Sound kind of sexist.
posted by facetious at 1:44 AM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am a hat wearer. I live in England, where it is usually
a) raining
b) cold
c) cold and raining so goddamn much

I am also balding (thanks genetics!) Ergo, I wear a hat when outside when it's cold and/or raining. Woolly bobble hats are ok, but fairly useless when it's raining, i.e. most of the time.

My goto hat casually is a Jacaru bush hat; the style is not uncommon in Dorset, being a bit of a farming community - I have a couple of them.

I also have a few others; a lovely panama for the odd summer sunny day or holiday in warmer climes so I don't end up lobster red up top; a floppy straw hat for the beach (vaguely cowboy hattish). I do sometimes wear a baseball cap, but very rarely - I end up looking like a yank tourist, which is not good.

I also have a brown felt fedora that I wear with my work suit when I need one; it's more formal looking than a bush hat or god forbid, a bobble hat. And when it's goddamn snowing and you've no hair you want a goddamn hat, even if you're in a suit.

Do I look good in a hat? Eh. Not particularly, but then I'm no adonis without a hat either.

I mostly take it off indoors; I may carry on wearing it in a cold supermarket or shopping mall, but then I don't take off and carry my outer jacket either - hat and coat tend to go together in pairs, I'm wearing both or neither.

I should also point out I'm happily married, and my wife likes, or at least tolerates, my hats, even if she does look far better wearing my hats than I do.

Yes, they're somewhat anachronistic, but then most people seem to be happy to get cold and/or wet heads. Bugger that for a game of soldiers, and if that makes me an anachronism, well frankly, why the hell should I care?
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:55 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is that the fascinator has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled females whose social wiliness and manipulativeness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs. They aren't bad people – they simply need a place from which to draw a sense of femininity, if not from men.

Sound kind of sexist.

posted by facetious


Now I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure that this is as eponysterical as hell.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:00 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh for the love of..

the article is rambling at best, but let's run with it.

PUA culture enforces "peacocking" i.e traits/objects that make you stand out, so if we're to single out Fedoras, let's just go ahead and outlaw, feather earrings, tattoos, awkward clothing in general, etc.

OR, stop generalising and realise everyone is their own person, there's no need to ascribe traits to people because of their fashion choice, I mean what would you say about my stretched lobes, my knitted hat, my use of white shoelaces in my army boots, skinny jeans and huge tee's? yeah there's a lot to pick on. But I am neither of the prejudice you hold to any of my choice of clothing.
Neither are most of the guys that got singled out in the article as stereotypes.

Also, we call Golddiggers, golddiggers. Not "Nice Women" so how about we call those type of guys "Douchebags" or "waste of air" instead of Nice Guys, the term isn't yours to throw around flippantly.
I know several really good, shy, nice.. guys, who have a hard time with women, that for lack of a better word, get put in the friend zone. It's because they don't know how to display their emotions, not because they lack them but because society enforces certain behaviours.
They are not passive agressive towards the women they are affectionate towards, they do not use derogatory words to describe the hurt they've sometimes felt. But they aren't either the guys that girls think of, they're the ones that always help out, that answer their phone in the middle of the night when the girl calls them to have a shoulder to cry on because someone treated them bad.
They do not feel entitled, and they'll do whatever it takes to remain one of the good guys. What y'all are discussing is a subculture who you're playing right into the hands of.

So, furthermore, entitlement also goes both ways, should we also start to write rambling articles on effendi-wearing women?

Bah I say, Bah!
posted by xcasex at 4:18 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hate that. If you wear glasses for fashion reasons,

I wear glasses because I can barely see a thing without them, just like I will wear a coat when I am cold without one. In both cases, I will wear something that looks very good on me.

And of course, the true "nerd glasses", for anyone who has met actual nerds, are not chunky plastic frames, but wire frames that are 2 times too big for your face, which should be clear from the fashion choices of 50-something engineering professors.
posted by deanc at 4:58 AM on October 3, 2012


I have a terrible crush on a 50-something engineering professor but its not worth an Ask.
posted by infini at 5:01 AM on October 3, 2012



you're pretending that the term "Nice Guys" refers to guys who are nice. The capital letters should signal to you that it is a term of art


so, by the same logic, i can use the term "Bitch", or maybe "High Maintenance", because the capital letters should signal to you that it is a term of art, right?

or, maybe we should stop using labels that are hurtful.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:04 AM on October 3, 2012


But these Nice Guys are the ones who go around telling everyone what nice guys they are. It's a self-applied term. You don't need to stand up for them, unless you also stand up for the guys who get mocked because they came up with their own nickname.
posted by harriet vane at 5:24 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You think you are a guy with a hat, but more than likely you are That Guy With The Hat. You don't want to be That Guy With The Hat.
posted by Legomancer at 5:26 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


up up down down b a b a select clitoris

Don't be ridiculous, none of those jackasses know what that is.
posted by elizardbits at 5:35 AM on October 3, 2012


Also, we call Golddiggers, golddiggers. Not "Nice Women" so how about we call those type of guys "Douchebags" or "waste of air" instead of Nice Guys, the term isn't yours to throw around flippantly.

I think you're misunderstanding Nice Guys. The whole crux of the thing they do is they act nice for the purposes of depositing enough nice points in a woman to unlock the Sex Level, and then pout about being friendzoned when this does not happen. Their complaint to anyone who will listen is that girls don't want "nice guys" like them.

And for the record, it's up up down down a b a b clitoris, tyvm.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:38 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, another feminist term which it turns out is not okay for us to use. Another term which naturally emerged over time, like any other term, and which nobody specifically chose to introduce into their vocabulary. However, it makes some men uncomfortable, so it should be nixed.

I remember when "blog" was a new term and had a lot of pushback. It's a pretty dumb word, really. Yet, like it or not, it's the accepted term for... well, I can only say "for a blog". That's language.

I don't think it's usually intentional, but when people consistently deny women the language they've developed to discuss aspects of their oppression, it sounds very much like they're trying to deny the ideas themselves. It's hard or impossible to productively discuss ideas without short terms or words which label them. And those terms or words will necessarily be less precise than if we always used a fully-qualified paragraph.

These days, I generally hear this argument as, "Please, when you talk negatively about a group of men, make sure to heavily qualify your language and equivocate as much as possible so that I won't have my feelings hurt by wondering if you're talking about me or my friends. It needs to be super clear that you're talking about abstract, bad men, and not anybody anyone actually knows or can imagine as anything other than the bogeyman."
posted by gilrain at 6:11 AM on October 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


the purposes of depositing enough nice points in a woman to unlock the Sex Level, and then pout about being friendzoned when this does not happen.

Nice Guyism is a subset of puzzle box mentality.
posted by zamboni at 6:13 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, another feminist term which it turns out is not okay for us to use. Another term which naturally emerged over time, like any other term, and which nobody specifically chose to introduce into their vocabulary. However, it makes some men uncomfortable, so it should be nixed.

Its use in the non-feminist sense also naturally emerged over time, and not even as a distinct phrase, but just due to the generative power of grammar.

I remember when "blog" was a new term and had a lot of pushback. It's a pretty dumb word, really. Yet, like it or not, it's the accepted term for... well, I can only say "for a blog". That's language.

This really doesn't help your case, though, because before "blog" was used for its current meaning... it wasn't used at all. No one, with the normal act of putting an adjective before a noun, accidentally said "blog" (they said "web log").

I don't think it's usually intentional, but when people consistently deny women the language they've developed to discuss aspects of their oppression, it sounds very much like they're trying to deny the ideas themselves.

Totally agreed, and I think that plays a role here.

It's hard or impossible to productively discuss ideas without short terms or words which label them. And those terms or words will necessarily be less precise than if we always used a fully-qualified paragraph.

No (sane) mathematician wanders into a room of lay people and starts insisting that everybody use the word "group" in the mathematical sense. "Group" had a meaning before math took it. But "Frobenius norm" did not have a meaning before math took it, so mathematicians rightly expect that if you use that term, you know how mathematicians use it.

If you want to be able to converse with lay people about a specialized term, you are going to have to define your specialized term no matter what. If you use "group", then you'll define it after a long conversation where some people thought you were using the word in a different sense and others got huffy because you were insisting on your specialized meaning for a pre-existing word. If you use "Frobenius norm", you'll define it right away when someone goes "uh, what do you mean by that?".

For better or for worse, "Nice Guy" is feminism's "group". As a practical matter, feminists will experience the friction and endless explanations that come with that until someone comes up with a "Frobenius Norm", OR they recognize that lay people don't know what they're talking about and define it right away anyway.

This is frustrating. Feminism and lay people have A LOT more to talk about with each other than mathematicians and lay people. If everyone suddenly grasped what a "group" was in the mathematical sense, it wouldn't reduce oppression or anything (I think). But that only makes it more critical that feminism find successful ways of communicating with lay people.
posted by Jpfed at 7:09 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, furthermore, entitlement also goes both ways, should we also start to write rambling articles on effendi-wearing women?

Can you explain what you mean by "effendi-wearing" here? I googled and can only come up with effendi as a Ottoman title of respect, but that doesn't make any sense in this context. Unless there are women dressing like Ottoman pashas in which case I say, bring on the rambling articles.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 AM on October 3, 2012


OR, stop generalising and realise everyone is their own person, there's no need to ascribe traits to people because of their fashion choice, I mean what would you say about my stretched lobes, my knitted hat, my use of white shoelaces in my army boots, skinny jeans and huge tee's? yeah there's a lot to pick on. But I am neither of the prejudice you hold to any of my choice of clothing.

You clearly know that your clothing choices are unusual. So what message are you trying to send with your stretched lobes, your knitted hat, white shoelaces with army boots, skinny jeans and huge T-shirts? You seem to also think that people are prejudiced against your choice of clothing -- so what message do you think people take from your clothes, even if you think they shouldn't?

My point isn't that people should judge you based on the clothes that you wear, because they shouldn't. But they do. And clothes are an easy thing to change. The problem is really if you think you are saying "The way I present myself makes me look suave, sophisticated, and dashing" and everybody else disagrees. If you genuinely don't care, that's great. But if you care, you can't argue somebody into thinking that you are well-dressed, suave, and good looking.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:14 AM on October 3, 2012


OR, stop generalising and realise everyone is their own person, there's no need to ascribe traits to people because of their fashion choice, I mean what would you say about my stretched lobes, my knitted hat, my use of white shoelaces in my army boots, skinny jeans and huge tee's?

That you are inharmoniously mixing punk/goth styles with crafty/esty fashions and 90s-era baggy clothing. Though maybe it works for you (but baggy tshirt + skinny jeans sounds like an aesthetic clash, to me, honestly).

My thoughts on the term "Nice Guy™" are colored by the fact that one of the early adopters of the term was a blogger who actually did have a dislike and lack of respect for shy introverts and nerds, so the subtext of her "Nice Guy™" posts ostensibly about entitlement and misogyny were always, "tee hee, I can mock unaggressive men and get away with it!" Possibly if I were reading other blogs in the mid-2000s when the term came into vogue I would have a different opinion, but I've come to believe that the term is played out.
posted by deanc at 7:41 AM on October 3, 2012


Emily Post sez:

There doesn't seem to be any guidance about retail stores in that list, which is what we were wondering about.

I loooove my sunglasses. Love them. Possibly wear them a bit too much. They're prescription, so taking them off requires me to do a switch from one pair of frames to another. But the absolute line I draw regarding when to take them off is universally when I am actually at the point of conversing with someone indoors. Like I might push the boundaries further than I should by leaving them on when I come into a store from off the street, but the instant I interact with a salesperson or clerk, the sunglasses come off. This is the very least that can be expected of a man in a hat.
posted by deanc at 7:49 AM on October 3, 2012


That you are inharmoniously mixing punk/goth styles with crafty/esty fashions and 90s-era baggy clothing. Though maybe it works for you (but baggy tshirt + skinny jeans sounds like an aesthetic clash, to me, honestly).

It's a combination seen on Shoreditch fashion victim types surprisingly often. Especially if the T-shirts have stretched neckholes to show some chest (mostly for the guys, that is).

I suspect that a lot of hipster fashion is the sartorial equivalent of trolling.
posted by acb at 7:50 AM on October 3, 2012


my use of white shoelaces in my army boots

Some people might read that one as a little skinhead-y. Not me, probably, unless you also had the bomber jacket and braces and shit, but then I'm kinda oblivious to fashion.
posted by box at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My takeaway from this thread is that Sara C. has some opinions about hats.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]




@Comrade Robot, My clothing choice is an example of how I express myself, It is a very conscious choice, as a sephardi jew i reclaim the white laces for SHARP reasons.
And the point isn't to come off as well dressed, but thanks for trying to reason about something entirely off the hook with me. Although, my ego is by and far on epic levels, I simply wear what I find enticing, some days I also sport harem pants, a huge surplus belgian army jacket and converse shoes. why do I play dressup in this manner, much in the same way that OSS coders create apps, it's to scratch an itch, and gosh darnit, I like fashion (also I have a pair of pretty princess black Doc's with eyesore-pink shoelaces :D :D :D)

@deanc, i've seen the term used even in the mid-nineties to the same effect, a douchebag is just a douchebag no matter the "tactic" used.

@acb, right you are Sar!

@box, see my reply to comrade robot.

@Bulgaroktonos sorry, I seem to have mistyped, fendi is a fashionhouse known for extravagances, its a play on how a hat defines a "nice guy complex".

@Marisa stole the precious thing, let me guess its not your mission to educate them why that behaviour is wrong either? I swear, if people just communicated with eachother instead of finding new ways of manipulating one another.
posted by xcasex at 8:33 AM on October 3, 2012


On hats as "outerwear" only and on the notion that it is only in an age when hats are relatively unfamiliar that this cardinal rule has been lost: here's a link to a blog entry on McSorley's tavern in NYC showing photos and etchings of the interior in the early C20th and up to the 1940s (including a cool photo of Woody Guthrie performing in the bar). You'll see many men sitting at tables and standing at the bar happily wearing their hats, tragically unaware of Sara C's looming early C21st contempt.
posted by yoink at 8:42 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


On hats as "outerwear" only

Except that most of the guys (granted, not all) in the photos are still wearing their overcoats (ie, for whatever reason, they are still wearing their outwear, and the hat is a part of that).

Have you ever been told, while wearing your overcoat, "Take off your coat and stay a while"? I got told this frequently when I was young. Now, eventually I learned it was because it is a bit gauche to keep your outwear on when you are inside. If I indignantly argued with this invitation to take off my coat and insisted that it was acceptable to leave it on, I'd have come across as someone with poor manners. That's how "wear my hat inside" dudes come across.
posted by deanc at 8:54 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


let me guess its not your mission to educate them why that behaviour is wrong either? I swear, if people just communicated with eachother instead of finding new ways of manipulating one another.

You'd be guessing wrong, and I don't know why you would assume the worst about me. But it is pretty rich that, for someone so concerned about communication and treating everyone on a case by case basis, you'd pull a bad-faith stunt like this that clearly stems from a broad generalization you're holding onto.

But to give you the benefit of the doubt, I'll tell you where I'm coming from. You are wrong. In my own small way, I do try and educate.

I'm a janitor for a website that caters to fans of a particular obscure Japanese shmup, and there are loads others on this site who are into anime, rhythm games, text adventures, and other assorted geekery. The site is predominantly male, with most falling in the 14-24 age group. Quite a lot of them have girlfriends and spouses, but there are a fair number who are not only single; they've never had a girlfriend, and there are a few who are virgins in their 20s.

One common thread in the off-topic LiveJournal-ish board of this forum is "what is wrong with girls, anyway?". These threads are invariably young men complaining that they were crushing on some girl, were too shy to say or do anything about it, and so proceeded to affect Nice actions and Nice words toward said girl, and then became bitterly disappointed when the girl in question invariably hooked up with a guy who had the self-confidence to act.

Some of these guys are genuinely clueless with little dating experience. So some of the more experienced dudes will exhort the guy to "man up" next time - just ask her out, dude, what's the worst that could happen? She says no? Big whoop. This advice is usually taken to heart.

However, on occasion, you will see a post from a Nice Guy. He is not willing to be honest about his feelings to a girl. He expresses hugely generalizing attitudes about women and How They Work. He speaks with the self-confidence of the woefully ignorant and incurious - he's got girls allllll figured out, and most of them are just shallow and can't appreciate a Nice Guy like him. "I did X and Y and Z for her, and when I walked her home, what do I get? A handshake! Can you believe it?!"

This is the Nice Guy, my friend. And we put a name on this because we put names on patterns of behavior as a kind of shorthand to express a set of behaviors with a single term. This is a thing people do, from the mind sciences to daily life. This is such a common practice that I'm really, really surprised anyone takes issue with it.

Anyways, when one of these Nice Guys posts their litany on the site, I will explain what the Nice Guy behavior is. I will try to convey without condescension (as hard as that may be to believe) that doing nice things for someone you care about is no guarantee that they will divine your unspoken desires and respond to them as you wish, nor does it obligate them to do so; that by doing something nice for a girl you care about, your motivation should be to simply make her happy. And to ask her out already.

So for any of you guys feeling defensive and het up that somehow, somewhere, there are women giggling behind your backs and in front of their monitors at you, stop assuming no one is talking to anyone else or "trying to educate", though I might add the onus is rather on men to learn how to treat women with a modicum of respect rather than have their hands held and be explained to why Nice tokens don't eventually add up to unlocking Sex. But hey, we gotta live together, and talking to one another helps make it easier.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:56 AM on October 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Ah, another feminist term which it turns out is not okay for us to use. Another term which naturally emerged over time, like any other term, and which nobody specifically chose to introduce into their vocabulary. However, it makes some men uncomfortable, so it should be nixed...

Yes, exactly. Terms like "salesmen" are often replaced by equivalents like "salesperson" for exactly the same reason, in this case to accommodate the sensitivities of feminists. This has happened even though "salesmen" naturally emerged over time and nobody specifically chose to introduce into their vocabulary. From experience, feminists should know better than to use terms like "nice guy," like many do.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:06 AM on October 3, 2012


@Marisa, Sorry for equating you with the amount of hyperbolic activists on tumblr. I should know better. :)
posted by xcasex at 9:06 AM on October 3, 2012


to accommodate the sensitivities of feminists

Are you not a feminist?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:11 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


xcasex: Please don't do the @ thing. This isn't twitter; it's ugly and no one likes being talked at.
posted by klangklangston at 9:26 AM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Did you know that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk banned the fez in Turkey in 1925?

All the more reason to wear one.
posted by jb at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2012


On hats as "outerwear" only and on the notion...

I'd also venture that a bar is a liminal inside/outside space--just as you would justifiably wear your coat and hat at the post office, lobby, or in a train station. It's physically indoors, but enough of a thoroughfare that you don't take off your outer garments (or your undergarments--hey quit it, buddy).

When talking about hats (or other sartorial questions)--especially on a site like Metafilter, where I think there are a lot of smart people, many of whom deal with intricate rulesets (programming, law, etc.)--there's a tendency to get focused on little intricate scenarios. "You say I need to take off my hat indoors, but what about when I'm in my tent camping?!? You say I can wear my hat outdoors, but then you said I take it off to talk to a lady--what if the lady is a pre-op transgendered person, and we're in an undersea base? What then?! Your rulez are dumb."

Sure, they're rules, not laws. You don't need anyone's permission to wear a fez and a cape, and sport them all through dinner. Eat your soup with a straw! Gargle at the table! Break out in song! Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law! Ewige blumenkraft! Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!

But most people don't. The rules do have some hold. Someone who might wear a hat to dinner might draw the line at eating soup with a straw. But not wearing a hat indoors is a thing. It's an easy way to be polite, nice even. It's not just some other way for The Man to oppress you with some more of his Damn Rules, it's a way for you to show you care, that you want to be respectful of others. It's like holding the door open for someone (of either sex), or holding the elevator or whatever. It's a little gift you can give someone that costs nothing more than a second of your time and a couple of calories.

Anyway, some people are talking hats, some people are talking nerds, it's a jumble. I don't know what we're doing anymore. Sara C., I like your style though.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:27 AM on October 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also - re hat etiquette:

If we're being traditional, men doff their hats indoors (and especially in Churches), but women do not (they have to have covered heads in church). BUT a mall is not an "indoor" place, because it is a public place -- Victorians didn't have malls, but they did have covered arcades and a man would wear a hat in an arcade. Basically, it's not a indoor/outdoor distinction, it's a private/public distinction -- and if you demand that people remove their hats indoors/in a private place, make sure that your butler is there to take their hat (and gloves, too) for them.
posted by jb at 9:30 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Yes, exactly. Terms like "salesmen" are often replaced by equivalents like "salesperson" for exactly the same reason, in this case to accommodate the sensitivities of feminists. This has happened even though "salesmen" naturally emerged over time and nobody specifically chose to introduce into their vocabulary. From experience, feminists should know better than to use terms like "nice guy," like many do."

I think you missed some irony in what you quoted, and that it seems like you're complaining about salesperson.

Also, I am sorry that the movement of slang is uncomfortable for you, but I really don't get why this is such a burr in your saddle.
posted by klangklangston at 9:31 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


and anyone who puts a hat on a bed can be legally shot.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


and anyone who puts a hat on a bed can be legally shot.

I think causing Heather Graham to overdose on your stolen meds is punishment enough.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:33 AM on October 3, 2012


but you can leave your hat on, right?
posted by Zed at 9:33 AM on October 3, 2012


and anyone who puts a hat on a bed can be legally shot.
posted by The Whelk at 12:31 PM on October 3 [+] [!]


Shot with LOVE-BEAMS, you mean. Hats are cool and sexy. Especially flatcaps that match your SO's eyes.
posted by jb at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2012


oh - you said - ON a bed, I thought you mean "put a hat on [while in] a bed". Hats on beds are okay, but in danger: I'll probably sit on them.
posted by jb at 9:36 AM on October 3, 2012


I genuinely don't understand the people saying "shame on you for judging people based on their clothing." Every single one of us assesses character traits the best way we know how until we spend some time with a person: by intuiting from looks, clothing, past experiences and memories, demeanor, and whatever actions/words/hearsay we get access to. I promise you, you intuit character traits based on clothing, unless you are a divine being who has achieved nirvana and just sees pure energy flowing outwards from everyone. I'm not talking about looking at the color of someone's skin or such (that's a bad but hard habit for people to shake), I'm saying that the way you CHOOSE to dress (and it's almost always a choice) says a lot about you, advertently or inadvertently.

This seems to be a sticking point when a subset of nerds try to grasp fashion and aesthetics. They are outraged that people will judge them for what they wear - maybe because they put very little thought into how they appear, preferring to focus on the life of the mind, and so feel like it doesn't reflect who they are on the inside. We can all sympathize that our clothes don't reflect our three-dimensional complex snowflake selves, but this doesn't change the fact that people use the limited information they have about you to assess you. It's human, and necessary to survive in this world with a minimal amount of grief.

I have a great radar for telling when someone is going to be insufferable. It's borne out time and time again. There are clothing markers that aren't 100% reliable, but at least help with making this determination. I refuse to apologize for this, as it's probably helped me out countless times with living a peaceful and sane life.
posted by naju at 9:38 AM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


it is a bit gauche to keep your outwear on when you are inside.

It's true; I totally do this.
posted by gauche at 9:55 AM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


The delicious irony of the hat etiquette discussion in this thread is that, in 2012, doffing your hat as a lady passes is absolutely something a Nice Guy would do.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:03 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here? Close. You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don’t like it, leave. I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifteen thousand dollars. Tonight. In two hours. Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise. A-I-D-A. Get mad. You sons of bitches. Get mad. You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate. Go and do likewise, gents.
posted by grobstein at 10:10 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


No (sane) mathematician wanders into a room of lay people and starts insisting that everybody use the word "group" in the mathematical sense.

You've got that completely backwards. No sane mathematician stops using the word "group" in the mathematical sense because it's also got another meaning in other contexts.

I don't see any feminists wandering into a room and insisting that everybody not to use the phrase "nice guy" to describe a guy who is nice. I see people telling feminists they shouldn't use the term "Nice Guy" for guys who think girls owe them romance or sex as a reward for being nice.
posted by straight at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


This seems to be a sticking point when a subset of nerds try to grasp fashion and aesthetics. They are outraged that people will judge them for what they wear - maybe because they put very little thought into how they appear, preferring to focus on the life of the mind, and so feel like it doesn't reflect who they are on the inside.

Except that it is very, very easy to dress in a nondescript manner that does not attract much thought or judgment. It's called "gapathy."

I think part of it is an inability to understand context. Wearing an oxford shirt and a blazer as an undergraduate on a college campus looks strange, bordering on try-hard. Wearing jeans and a tshirt to an upscale restaurant looks slovenly and impolite. The inability to switch contexts when it comes to clothes goes along with carrying around an leatherman, glasses with Transitions lenses, or having a calculator watch-- it's the desire for a "universal tool" that solves all problems. Explaining that a fedora isn't a universal fashion tool and is possibly the wrong tool in a lot of situations is hard for people to understand.
posted by deanc at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


How completely hopeless it is to say, "You shouldn't judge me by my clothing!"

You should be grateful when people come out and explicitly tell you what messages you're sending, what stereotypes you're tapping into, when you wear certain clothes.

If you don't care what first impressions people get from your clothes, awesome. You can wear whatever you like. If you're married and your wife likes your hat, it doesn't matter what the internet thinks of it. But if you're out there trying to meet people, hoping to date someone? Knowing what signals you're sending with your clothes is precious gold.
posted by straight at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2012


I don't see any feminists wandering into a room and insisting that everybody not to use the phrase "nice guy" to describe a guy who is nice. I see people telling feminists they shouldn't use the term "Nice Guy" for guys who think girls owe them romance or sex as a reward for being nice.

I see what you're saying. I guess it depends on what you perceive the default "language" or culture of the conversational space to be (e.g. if this were mathoverflow, I would expect people to interpret "group" in its mathematical sense). If we consider feminism to be the cultural default on Metafilter, I would completely agree with what you're saying.
posted by Jpfed at 10:42 AM on October 3, 2012


If a mathematician is talking about math, it's fair game for her to use "group" in the mathematical sense, no matter the setting.
posted by straight at 10:48 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You should be grateful when people come out and explicitly tell you what messages you're sending,

Hear that, nerd?? Grateful!
*knocks fedora off of nerd in school hallway*
posted by mattbucher at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2012 [7 favorites]



If you don't care what first impressions people get from your clothes, awesome. You can wear whatever you like. If you're married and your wife likes your hat, it doesn't matter what the internet thinks of it. But if you're out there trying to meet people, hoping to date someone? Knowing what signals you're sending with your clothes is precious gold.
posted by straight at 10:32 AM on October 3 [+] [!]


It turns out that "dress for the job you want, not for the job you have," only works out for the truly unimaginative. With that in mind, I vowed to let my girlfriend dress me. Now I dress for the sex-life she wants, not the sex-life she has. I'm not sure that's much better, but both plans seem to point me towards the same kind of career path. Last I checked the Village People aren't hiring, but I hear there are these "dance clubs..."
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:01 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If a mathematician is talking about math, it's fair game for her to use "group" in the mathematical sense, no matter the setting.

The trick on the internet is figuring out they're talking math before you go into a tirade defending your dinner party.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:34 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand the people saying "shame on you for judging people based on their clothing."

If you see me walking down the street in a fedora and you think I look like a dork, I have no problem with that. I don't even mind (much) if you tell me that, but of course I'm not going to take any one person's opinion (positive or negative) as gospel.

If you form a negative opinion of my personality just by looking at me in a fedora that you wouldn't have if you'd happened to catch me on a ball-cap or hatless day, then, well, it's your business, but personally I prefer to make my judgments of people (1) only when necessary and (2) on meaningful information.

If you meet me and talk to me and my hat choice (or favorite band, or weight, etc.) still plays a prominent role in your opinion of me, then I think you should really considering updating your priorities.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The high school cliche this appears to originate from is the girl who complains to her guy friend that the guy she just dated is a jerk/asshole, and that what she wants is a “nice guy” (both her terms). Ok, says the friend. Off she goes and gets involved with someone else, only to return to complain that that guy, too, was an asshole. “I just want a nice guy” she repeats, and goes off to date another person she returns to identify was an asshole. “Where are all the nice guys?” she complains. Friend: *speechless*.

There’s a subset of guys who self-described as “nice” (but ignored) whose bitterness stemmed from being told again and again that that’s what was being looked for. It was part and parcel of the “nice guys finish last” meme that seemed to peak in the 80’s for some reason, probably media depiction of/pandering to the lovable loser. So it’s not, I think, a label that guys originally chose, and certainly not without reason. Nobody got the idea that nice = sex in a vacuum (ouch). There was context. Though that makes it harder to dismiss these guys as never actually being nice in the first place because now they have “expectations”.

Note a few years later all the guys who self-described as “laid-back”. Where did that come from? From women constantly telling guys that that was what they were looking for (I think in response to a certain kind of male-oriented fastidiousness). It’s like parroting words you find in a job description. I suspect internet dating has exacerbated this by making such trends obvious to even the oblivious.

So no, “asshole” wasn’t used as synonymous with “men who are not them”. It was the guy the girl comes back to complain about as being an asshole. At least, that was the origin I can readily identify in the high school cliché. I don’t know what’s sadder: that some people operate as if they’re still in high school, or move in social circles where that is effectively true.

Wear whatever hats you want, so long as you relent on the continuous and completely undeserved vitriol toward tie clips.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:51 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


deanc: "There doesn't seem to be any guidance about retail stores in that list, which is what we were wondering about."

My Dad (born in the 20s) and his generation of guys always wore their hats inside the mall. When we got to the restaurant he'd take his hat off before sitting down at the table and put it on again after standing up. (Actually, the sequence was hat, coat, sit. Stand up, coat, hat. The hat was always last.) And after reading this thread yesterday, I went to the mall and noticed two older gentlemen wearing hats, so it still goes on.

The exception is for really heavy winter hats, which you take off in the mall because you'd roast your head otherwise.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:54 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I did X and Y and Z for her, and when I walked her home, what do I get? A handshake! Can you believe it?!"

Oh god, this. There is a subset of geeks that think that women are Sex Vending Machines. That if you put enough Nice tokens in, sex will eventually result. Smaller amounts will result in kisses, sexy hugs, or at least the acknowledgement of potential future sexytimes.

If a suitable large Nice token is inserted (comforting being dumped by scumbag boyfriend; fixing their computer; staying up all night watching a chick flick) then they get very frustrated that they get 'nothing' back.

They get really frustrated, that no matter how many Nice tokens they insert, they don't appear to be getting close to payout. Even worse, some scumbag who isn't Nice and doesn't run around doing errands for the object of his affection seems to know some kind of secret payout switch so the smallest thing gets him sex.

It's totally not fair, and women are such bitches for not paying up to nice guys!

Of course, the actual problem is women aren't goddamn Sex Vending Machines and treating them like they are is in fact a great indication that you're not actually a nice guy, despite many protestations to the contrary. You're a "Nice Guy"; aka a creep who thinks of and treats women like a goddamn vending machine instead of a real person with her own feelings, thoughts, desires and wants.

Women are real ordinary people, not things. It appears to be a depressingly tough concept for many to grasp.

Though as above, wearing a fedora does not automatically make one a Nice Guy. It may just be cold out. That said, the guys in the original article are all wearing trilbies, the narrow-brimmed huckster of a hat. Fuck those guys. {/}
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:01 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]



I think you missed some irony in what you quoted, and that it seems like you're complaining about salesperson.

Also, I am sorry that the movement of slang is uncomfortable for you, but I really don't get why this is such a burr in your saddle.


Probably, that happens.

I was meaning to make the point that it's not unprecedented that people alter their word choices to accommodate others, and that's generally a good thing to do (or, putting it another way, nice). I find this usage of "nice guy" irritating in sort of the same way as I find the use of "liberal" as a slur irritating: twisting a phrase I use to identify myself into a negative. Since it's been established that the set of nice guys is pretty much mutually exclusive with the set of "nice guys," they ought to be distinguished (maybe with a neologism akin to frenemy). That would be nice, and people (everyone, not a term of art) ought to be nice to each other.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2012


The high school cliche this appears to originate from is the girl who complains to her guy friend that the guy she just dated is a jerk/asshole, and that what she wants is a “nice guy” (both her terms). Ok, says the friend. Off she goes and gets involved with someone else, only to return to complain that that guy, too, was an asshole. “I just want a nice guy” she repeats, and goes off to date another person she returns to identify was an asshole. “Where are all the nice guys?” she complains. Friend: *speechless*.

"Friend: *speechless*." Yes, that is exactly the problem, that is why women resent men who see themselves in this cliche. Because the idea here is that you can just hang around and be a good friend and then girls will magically decide to date you, with no overt interest on your part whatsoever. And if those girls don't pick up on your non-signals, they are using you for your friendship, the bitches! No. Women hate this cliche, and the men who identify with it, for a very good reason.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:03 PM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


No. Women hate this cliche, and the men who identify with it, for a very good reason.

For sure. It sucks, and along with "nice" you could put "meek" and (eventually) passive-aggressive, and a few other things. I'm just pointing out the context in which the terms originally arose (leading to claims like "asshole = any other guy").
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2012


Also, as I said, the problem is being emotionally arrested at the high school level. It’s a cliché because it was experienced by lots of guys in that environment. It’s also because those girls didn’t have the maturity and confidence to say “No, no. Guys X, Y, and Z were confident, handsome, and took risks – they just weren’t nice. I don’t want the missing thing, I want all those things” which would have made the poor meek nerd feel just awful. And then deal with it.

EDIT! That is to say, "identify" is probably a bit strong, as lots of guys would have experienced this way back when. If they're still living it, that's a problem.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Friend: *speechless*." Yes, that is exactly the problem, that is why women resent men who see themselves in this cliche. Because the idea here is that you can just hang around and be a good friend and then girls will magically decide to date you, with no overt interest on your part whatsoever. And if those girls don't pick up on your non-signals, they are using you for your friendship, the bitches! No. Women hate this cliche, and the men who identify with it, for a very good reason.

As a quiet, nice, shy guy, I hate this cliche because I bought into it so whole heartedly in high school. I even had the girl whose homework I did because I had such a huge crush on her. I never really resented her or thought she was using me (although god knows what more than four years of that mindset would have done to me), although I did find myself judging her romantic relationships more than I might have for other friends. I never told her (obviously) and I never thought about finding other romantic outlets.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure I did this because it's what people complaining about what happens to "nice guys" told me I was supposed to do. I was nice, I was shy, my cultural narrative is "loves girl from afar, never does anything about it, dies lonely." It wasn't women telling me to do this, it was other "nice guys." The internet (and other media for nerds) is full of things that indoctrinate young nerds into this relationship death cult, and it's bad for everyone.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Bulgaroktonos, it's pretty important to remember that the narrative can be destructive to men as well as to women. The idea that men can either be nice or be sexually active, but never both, is a massive burden for them to carry around. This whole "friend-zone" cliche that's been floating around lately is full of it, and it's an amazingly toxic concept.

Inevitably, feminism really is in everyone's interest.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Yes, that is exactly the problem, that is why women resent men who see themselves in this cliche. Because the idea here is that you can just hang around and be a good friend and then girls will magically decide to date you, with no overt interest on your part whatsoever. And if those girls don't pick up on your non-signals, they are using you for your friendship, the bitches! No. Women hate this cliche, and the men who identify with it, for a very good reason."

Yeah, it's also a staple of rom-com bullshit, so there're powerful media narratives positing this dynamic as normative.

I think one of the compounding narratives is that of a tease, where women exploit this nice guy/"Nice Guy" because they know he likes them and yet can't bring himself to broach it. (And honestly, a fair number of friendships do end over the "I don't see you that way" from either side.) That narrative is also unfair, even though there are some women who undoubtably benefit from it, at least in the short term. (I think some guys do parlay being nice and supportive into being boyfriends too, whether or not that was the goal from the start.)

I can also say that when I was younger I bought into a lot more of this stuff, just as behavior patterns, and that changed for me after high school, when I made a more determined effort to just tell girls that I wanted to actually date them. But I can remember talking to a girl who I'd been friends with and had a huge crush on and supported through her terrible relationship with one of my friends, and finding out that she'd had a huge crush on me at the time was kind of one of those "Oh, man, if only I'd used the powers of communication, we coulda hooked up!?" moments.

So part of why I'm willing to castigate the manipulative "Nice Guy" thing is because I've been that douchebag, at least in minor ways, and I can say, "Wow, I now realize that a lot of that was a) unfair to the women around me, and b) totally unproductive."

I can also say that throughout my life, there have been women who I've been friends with and would have totally enjoyed hooking up with if circumstances had been different, but I've gotten pretty good at not making that part of the relationship because it's often inappropriate. But I think that every adult, male or female, has had inappropriate crushes and that's just kind of part of life.
posted by klangklangston at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think one of the compounding narratives is that of a tease, where women exploit this nice guy/"Nice Guy" because they know he likes them and yet can't bring himself to broach it.

Oh hey, in high school, there were those people. I remember a certain thousand-candle smile attached to various classwork-related requests and the squint-through-the-glare thought “this seems vaguely manipulative” (that was junior high). Every kind of bad behaviour was on display back then. I know a few people from then that haven’t changed a bit. If they’re your present social circle, I can’t really blame you for expecting the worst of people. Most people have moved on, however, and sometimes you gotta take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if it’s time you did, too.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2012


The idea that men can either be nice or be sexually active, but never both, is a massive burden for them to carry around.

So, wait, sometimes guys turn the Madonna/Whore complex back on themselves?

Man, we complicate things for ourselves so damn much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have a hat complaint too.

I demand that white people stop wearing coolie hats.

I occasionally see people wearing them in the New York subway. It involuntarily makes me want to punch them in the mouth, hard.
posted by subtle-t at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The inability to switch contexts when it comes to clothes goes along with carrying around an leatherman, glasses with Transitions lenses, or having a calculator watch-- it's the desire for a "universal tool" that solves all problems.

Oh, don't bring transitions lenses into this. I live in LA and transition lenses are the only thing that allow me to (a) see, (b) not carry around multiple pairs of glass which I have to awkwardly change, store and clean all the time, and (c) protect my eyes. If anyone is judging me anything but smart for using them and lucky for living in a time where such a great technology exists, I don't want to know about it.
posted by bswinburn at 1:33 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The idea that men can either be nice or be sexually active, but never both, is a massive burden for them to carry around."

And even worse, it's entirely bullshit. You can be both! You can be respectful, supportive and also clear! You just might not get to be sexually active with everyone you want to be, which is going to be a tremendous disappointment for Scarlett Johanson once she meets me and finds out I already have a girlfriend.
posted by klangklangston at 1:36 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I demand that white people stop wearing coolie hats.

I occasionally see people wearing them in the New York subway. It involuntarily makes me want to punch them in the mouth, hard.


Context is important. I agree that these may be out of place on the New York subway, but I think they're quite appropriate in Vietnam, even if you're a white person.
posted by grobstein at 1:37 PM on October 3, 2012


I demand that other people stop demanding other people stop doing things.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:45 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I demand that white people stop wearing coolie hats.

Those seem like perhaps the most purely functional hats I can think of; a simple cone, providing shade and sunlight. I'll allow it.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


In any context, the combination is fraught with messages you probably don't want to send.
posted by subtle-t at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2012


A coolie hat saved my life when I used to work on a strawberry farm some years ago. All those high school kids wearing bandanas on their heads, dousing them repeatedly with precious water, while I was sittin' pretty, rain or shine. Coolie hats rock.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:55 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I wear my Native American headdress for purely practical reasons." -Some white guy somewhere
posted by naju at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I can't wait for all the drunken brawls with headdress-wearing hipsters I will have to be pulled away from on Halloween. Again.
posted by elizardbits at 2:01 PM on October 3, 2012


In any context, the combination is fraught with messages you probably don't want to send.

I want to send the message that I respect my East Asian heritage.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2012


"I wear my Native American headdress for purely practical reasons." -Some white guy somewhere

I really don't think coolie hats and Native American headdresses are comparable, apart from not being originally worn by Europeans. The headdress has all kinds of spiritual connotations that the coolie hat does not. But regardless, I really, truly did wear the coolie hat for practical reasons. My roommate had one, farm work is gruelling rain or shine, the hat worked. But I promise I have never worn it on a subway nor at a Halloween party, nor will I ever.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I demand that white people stop wearing coolie hats.

On the one hand, you may have a point, on the other: great for gardening.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2012


This comment is regarding the "nice guy" conversation that seems to be taking place on parallel with the hat dialogue. I have a story to share.

When I was much younger (and sexually frustrated, as many young men are), I used to harbor a certain amount of resentment towards women, in a similar manner to some of these "nice guys" you've described. Since I'm a very logical person (I seldom resent somebody without a reason) and I have an extremely good memory, sometimes almost perfect recall, I've been thinking back to why I felt this way.

In my recollection, back in my teen days, whether you were dating or friends was a very nebulous area. Nobody ever went out on official "dates" - instead you would just "hang out" with each other until you "hooked up", and after enough "hooking up" you eventually discussed "going steady." This resulted in an unhealthy dynamic where the guy would spend time with an attractive girl ostensibly as friends while simultaneously exhibiting courtship behavior. Eventually he would psyche himself up to make a move on her, at which point he would either be successful and proceed to a romantic status, or get turned down with the "I like you, but let's just be friends" response.

I had a pretty mature outlook, even back then, so rejection never bothered me. However, what bothered me substantially was that a lot of these women who rejected me - who still hung out with me regularly and were ostensibly friends with me - never actually acted like genuine friends. I was still the one always inviting them to fun events, but they seldom extended similar consideration towards me, and thus the relationship never shifted towards a more egalitarian balance. It felt to me like even though the woman had rejected my advances, she still wanted the relationship to continue in "courtship mode" - which was grossly unfair.

What changed for me and caused me to develop a much healthier attitude towards women was when I decided to become more assertive about what I wanted and what behavior wasn't acceptable. Nowadays, when a woman says that she's not romantically interested in me but wants to be friends, I say "I guess I'm fine with that, but let's discuss terms and conditions first. Up till now I've put a lot more effort into showing you a fun time than you do for me - largely because I had a romantic interest in you - but if you're sincere about turning this into a genuine friendship then you seriously need to start pulling your weight."

One would think that this statement would be a red flag, but oddly enough, when I expressed this to a woman, generally after the initial shock wore off she seemed to respect my sentiment and treated me very well indeed. In fact, some of the friends I've made in this way became so thoughtful in how they treat me that I sometimes worry I'm the one not pulling my weight in the friendship. Another thing that also happened ever since this shift in my behavior is that I get turned down romantically a lot less (and in fact, some women who rejected me initially have gradually developed crushes on me), although I'm not sure if this is causal or corrolative.

Anyway, that's my story. I'm not trying to defend "Nice Guys" in any way, nor am I trying to shift blame onto women for their behavior, but I thought it might be an interesting piece of anecdata to mull over.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


This seems to be a sticking point when a subset of nerds try to grasp fashion and aesthetics. They are outraged that people will judge them for what they wear - maybe because they put very little thought into how they appear, preferring to focus on the life of the mind, and so feel like it doesn't reflect who they are on the inside. We can all sympathize that our clothes don't reflect our three-dimensional complex snowflake selves, but this doesn't change the fact that people use the limited information they have about you to assess you. It's human, and necessary to survive in this world with a minimal amount of grief.

Well, I think it's kind of funny. I've been dressing some iteration of weird/punkish since I was sixteen, but the hat thing, and the defensiveness attached, reminds me of my attitude in middle school. I tried my hardest to dress normal (which I've never been good at), except I started wearing this cowboy hat everywhere and got really, really defensive about it when people would comment. It wasn't until I decided to just say "to hell with it" and dress in a more consciously counterculture way that I got (more) comfortable with getting flak from people, even though I was getting more flak. If you dress kinda funky, people will comment. It's easier if you make this all part of your identity and admit it's okay to try a little, and in turn, I became more comfortable with criticism. Owning intention is a lot of it, I guess. It's okay to care and it's okay to express yourself through clothing. People will judge but that's what people do and if you have a good grasp on what you're doing, who really cares, you know?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:09 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I demand that other people stop demanding other people stop doing things.

How dare you?! I demand that you stop demanding that other people stop demanding other people stop doing things!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:19 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I demand that white people stop wearing coolie hats.

Is it okay if I keep wearing my 16th century Dutch harvesting hat (as worn by two women on the lower right)?

I actually understand uncomfortableness - it's not dissimilar from my similar uncomfortableness with wearing a pith helmet. But when I first saw this painting, I realized that this is such a basic hat design that it has existed in many places at many times, independent of other cultural influences. (Yes, I know Chinese designs came into fashion in the 18th, 19th centuries in Europe, but not in the 16th century and not for farm labourers).
posted by jb at 2:21 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]



How dare you?! I demand that you stop demanding that other people stop demanding other people stop doing things!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:19 PM on October 3 [+] [!]


God damn it Hitler.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:27 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I wear my Native American headdress for purely practical reasons." -Some white guy somewhere

A Native American headdress is a ceremonial garment. A sedge hat is a practical garment. There are issues with appropriation with each of them, but there are definitely circumstances where a sedge hat is the best choice to handle the elements in comfort. That's never true of a giant feather headdress.
posted by KathrynT at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


It looks like the Dutch hat has a much wider cone, and is likely made of different material (check the different colors - they're probably fabric instead of the typical straw or bamboo for the Asian ones).

All of which is probably besides the point. The people I linked to definitely did not pick up a 16th century Dutch harvesting hat from Canal street.
posted by subtle-t at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


i think the dichotomy between "nice tokens" and .. i don't know what you'd want to call the alternative, courtship? real human adult relationship? whatever you want to call it, it's a distinction without a difference. it's just a way to explain away why you never liked someone in the first place. it all boils down to a rationalization of this reaction.
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2012


My headdress comment was about 75% joke, which obviously didn't go the right way - apologies! I do think it's hard to divorce the coolie hat from its implications, though, since it's been so ubiquitous as an offensive visual shorthand for Chinese for decades. Maybe it's disappeared a bit in recent times, but the painful context is still there for a lot of people.
posted by naju at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2012


My point isn't that people should judge you based on the clothes that you wear, because they shouldn't. But they do. And clothes are an easy thing to change. The problem is really if you think you are saying "The way I present myself makes me look suave, sophisticated, and dashing" and everybody else disagrees. If you genuinely don't care, that's great. But if you care, you can't argue somebody into thinking that you are well-dressed, suave, and good looking.

-------------

I have a great radar for telling when someone is going to be insufferable. It's borne out time and time again. There are clothing markers that aren't 100% reliable, but at least help with making this determination. I refuse to apologize for this, as it's probably helped me out countless times with living a peaceful and sane life.

-------------

It is one thing to judge people based on their attires as a heuristic that mostly works for you.

It is another to express that judgement on a public forum.

It is yet another to position your public judgement of people as an expression of feminism, by associating their attire choices with misogynist behaviors.

It gets to another level when you dismiss people's counterarguments by equating the defense of their attire choice with defending misogyny, when the main counterargument is that one has nothing to do with the other.

The author of the original article did all four.

No one in this long thread has tried to argue anyone into thinking that they are suave. Not one person in hundreds of comments. Some have objected to fashion policing, particularly in the context of geekdom. But the primary objection is to Fedora => Nice Guy/PUA/entitled geeks/rape jokes.

I'm fine with the fashion police finding me insufferable based on my clothing and fashion etiquette, as I also find that type of judgmental people insufferable, and it would do all of us good if we could avoid each other. What I'm not fine with is the public stigmatizing of a piece of attire based on generalizations from anecdotes, and positioning the effort within the fight against misogyny.

We don't like each other because we have incompatible personalities and attitudes. Peachy. Can we at least try not to go out of our ways to be asses to each other and hijack an important cause for excuse?
posted by fatehunter at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]



i think the dichotomy between "nice tokens" and .. i don't know what you'd want to call the alternative, courtship? real human adult relationship? whatever you want to call it, it's a distinction without a difference. it's just a way to explain away why you never liked someone in the first place. it all boils down to a rationalization of this reaction.
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:40 PM on October 3 [+] [!]


Oh I get it. There are ugly men that are unfairly stigmatized by women, and there are handsome men that women want to have sex with. Womens' reactions are based entirely on which category the man belongs to, (objectively!) and have nothing to do with the man's behavior. Men are either lucky or victims, and women are fickle, shallow jerks who jealously guard the strategic reserves of sex.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


i think the dichotomy between "nice tokens" and .. i don't know what you'd want to call the alternative, courtship? real human adult relationship? whatever you want to call it, it's a distinction without a difference. it's just a way to explain away why you never liked someone in the first place. it all boils down to a rationalization of this reaction.

If you honestly cannot see the distinction between "I will do X, Y and Z, which by my calculations BETTER result in sex" and "Wow, she's so fascinating, I want to get to know her better, and make her happy", then I honestly don't know what to tell you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:56 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with the fashion police finding me insufferable based on my clothing and fashion etiquette, as I also find that type of judgmental people insufferable, and it would do all of us good if we could avoid each other

I've long had a not-very-secret desire to get the hosts of "What not to Wear" and find out what is wrong with them. They have the worst fashion taste, and yet have their own show? And what's with the high heels fetish? I've seen them put people in the most horrific of heels, and that's only in the 2-3 shows I've seen.
posted by jb at 3:13 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to bring up my trannyhood yet again, but for once it will actually turn out to be relevant to the discussion. I hope.

I have been the lonesome, ugly, desperate, can't-get-laid guy, and I have been the cute girl pursued by gross, horny dudes. (It's been a weird life.) As a teenager and young adult, I built up a lot of R. Crumb-ian resentment toward women. I was never the I-bought-you-dinner-so-now-you-owe-me-a-poke guy, but it felt like women had all the freaking power in the dating world and I hated it.

Then, in my mid-twenties, I finally admitted to myself that I was transgender after a lifetime of painful repression. I started dolling up and going out to clubs, and I ended up making a surprisingly cute girl given the (very) raw material I started with.

Getting hit on by dudes was a revelation. Their fumbling, desperate attempts were sometimes endearing, sometimes pitiful and sometimes just plain scary. (Some of these creeps would get very very grabby.) I would occasionally find myself feeling flattered, grossed out and scared all at once, and there was some weird, bitchy part of me that sometimes actually enjoyed turning guys down. I was never heartless, but it was nice to feel unattainable.

Obviously I can't claim I got the full female experience, but it really shook up my view of the world. All of a sudden, so much of the craziness and misery that happens between men and women made so much more sense. On the one hand, you've got guys who are so lonely and desperate they can't think straight, and on the other hand you've got girls dealing with men who stand too close and say creepy things and look at them the way Hannibal Lecter looks at Clarice Starling.

Male and female social interaction is profoundly Fucked Up, and when I become Empress I will instigate a program where 19-year-old guys have to spend a year in drag. (If nothing else, guys definitely won't make so many jokes about fat chicks after they've spent 12 months struggling to fit into their pantyhose.) I really wish there was some way for women to try out life as an ugly, sexually desperate guy too, but I'm not sure how that would be possible short of shooting them up with some much testosterone their glands exploded.

Hats are the least of our problems. There is a massive gap between how straight men and straight women see the world... And obviously the only solution is my forced crossdressing program. I plan to make it a central part of my 2016 Empress campaign. That, and everybody gets a monkey.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:17 PM on October 3, 2012 [23 favorites]


Steering this ship back to fedoras for a moment, I do think they're hard to pull off, and the suggestions that they are mostly to be used with suits, not worn indoors, and not in sunny weather (that's what straw / paper hats are for!) are good ones.

I am currently lusting after a fedora from Paul's Hat Works in San Francisco. The hats are ... extremely expensive. And beautiful. Their story is kind of interesting too.
posted by feckless at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


they're both about getting what you want out of a relationship, so there's no difference. the distinction is how you characterize it after the fact, and different people can see the same thing differently.

presumably X, Y, and Z will make her happy, and I doubt any guy would object to that. in fact, he thinks, hopes, that X, Y, and Z will make her so happy that she'll want to get to know him better, including enjoying sex together.

she wouldn't even be a candidate if she wasn't at least somewhat fascinating. the one's who don't seem fascinating are selected out before any "I will do X, Y, and Z" actions are considered.

it's more like "Wow, she's so fascinating, i want to get to know her better, and make her happy. I will do X, Y and Z, which will make her so happy that she'll want to make me happy, including having sex. This seems like a good plan so I expect it to work."
posted by cupcake1337 at 3:20 PM on October 3, 2012


Expecting sex is the problem.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:22 PM on October 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Steering this ship back to fedoras for a moment, I do think they're hard to pull off, and the suggestions that they are mostly to be used with suits, not worn indoors, and not in sunny weather (that's what straw / paper hats are for!) are good ones.

Fedoras are often made out of straw or paper. (See the "types of hats" page from your own Paul's Hat Works link.)

And yes, my paper fedora looks and feels a lot better on a sunny day than my felt one.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 3:29 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops! You're right. I meant the felt kind we're mostly talking about here. And I was even wearing a paper one yesterday ...
posted by feckless at 3:32 PM on October 3, 2012


"i think the dichotomy between "nice tokens" and .. i don't know what you'd want to call the alternative, courtship? real human adult relationship? whatever you want to call it, it's a distinction without a difference. it's just a way to explain away why you never liked someone in the first place. it all boils down to a rationalization of this reaction."

Bullshit. That you can't understand the difference doesn't mean there isn't one, and falling back on the tired trope of blaming women for ineptitude does no one any favors.

"they're both about getting what you want out of a relationship, so there's no difference. the distinction is how you characterize it after the fact, and different people can see the same thing differently."

Well, no. One of them is about getting what you want without much regard for the other person; the other is about getting what you both want in a fun, consensual and respectful way. Courtship isn't about manipulation. If you think it is, you maybe should stay away from dating until you have a better handle on consent. (But then, you're the guy complaining about the unfair pillorying of creepshots.)

"presumably X, Y, and Z will make her happy, and I doubt any guy would object to that. in fact, he thinks, hopes, that X, Y, and Z will make her so happy that she'll want to get to know him better, including enjoying sex together."

But the whole Nice Guy trope includes both not telling her that, and attempting to manipulate her into it. It's fundamentally dishonest.

"it's more like "Wow, she's so fascinating, i want to get to know her better, and make her happy. I will do X, Y and Z, which will make her so happy that she'll want to make me happy, including having sex. This seems like a good plan so I expect it to work.""

That's a terrible fucking plan based on terrible fucking assumptions and will not lead generally to much fucking.
posted by klangklangston at 3:33 PM on October 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


they're both about getting what you want out of a relationship, so there's no difference.

Well, there's the difference between "I want this person to be happy" and "I want to have sex."
It's the difference between seeing someone as a human being and seeing them as a way to get what you want. It's the difference between being a nice guy (although I think it really says something about how men view women that all it takes to be a nice guy is to think of them as the people they actually are) and being a Nice Guy.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:45 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ursula - thank you for your comment; you have such great perspective on issues like this.

that said - I was thinking that there are lots of women who are also "ugly [or not terribly attractive], sexually desperate" - and who have been the female friend of guys who complain about "never having a girlfriend" but who also weren't - as I put it - 'on the list' of eligible women.

Women do react differently to this - I don't know if its cultural or biological. Women can be just as desperate for a relationship, but we do have different sex drives. From a very small sample size, I've noticed that when some women go a long time without sex, their sex drive can go down, while men seem to feel it very badly.

But we're also socialized differently - to be more passive about waiting for a relationship, rather than seeking. I'm not saying that's a good thing (aside from making us passive, it puts way too much pressure on straight men), but it means that lonely women tend to do more sitting around than strategizing (which I can't spell and apparently neither can the spellcheck).
posted by jb at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just have to say that there's nothing wrong with "I want to have sex."

Best to make those intentions clear early on, but culture can make that damn difficult...
posted by LordSludge at 4:00 PM on October 3, 2012



Just have to say that there's nothing wrong with "I want to have sex."


i tried that strategy more or less one time in a non-work environment. i was accused of sexual harassment as a result.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:05 PM on October 3, 2012


I've long had a not-very-secret desire to get the hosts of "What not to Wear" and find out what is wrong with them. They have the worst fashion taste, and yet have their own show?

I cut fashion show hosts some slack for performance sass, even when I disagree with their tastes. That kind of sass is a lot harder to take when it's not asked for and not from someone who has to draw eyeballs for a living. Even then, I recognize that verbal ~flair is common when discussing fashion, so I try no to take seriously the "civilized humans do this with their attire" decrees - we live in different worlds and that's that.

If fashion show hosts stop random people on the streets, offer unsolicited harsh criticisms, and film the exchanges for public amusement, though... I'd think the hosts nasty tools no matter how hard they try to pass off as sassy.
posted by fatehunter at 4:12 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Just have to say that there's nothing wrong with "I want to have sex."

Best to make those intentions clear early on, but culture can make that damn difficult...
"

There's not if that's clearly communicated and you take no for an answer.

"i tried that strategy more or less one time in a non-work environment. i was accused of sexual harassment as a result."

I've tried that strategy multiple times and it's worked, so the problem may be you. Especially since you think it's a distinction without difference between having an adult relationship and seeing women as machines you put nice tokens into in order to get sex.
posted by klangklangston at 4:29 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I cut fashion show hosts some slack for performance sass, even when I disagree with their tastes. That kind of sass is a lot harder to take when it's not asked for and not from someone who has to draw eyeballs for a living.

To me, saying "you shouldn't wear a fedora unless you can rock it like Sinatra" is as misguided as saying "you shouldn't bring your guitar to the campfire unless you can play like Leo Kottke" or "you shouldn't play on the company softball team unless you can hit like Barry Bonds."
posted by doubtfulpalace at 4:29 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Just have to say that there's nothing wrong with "I want to have sex."

I'm off the market these days but good on you lot if this is indeed the case. I somewhat doubt it though.
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Just have to say that there's nothing wrong with "I want to have sex."

I have to correct/clarify myself: There's nothing wrong with the desire to have sex, with the mental statement or goal of "I want to have sex." In today's culture, however, you generally can't come out and say "Hiya, pleased to meet you, let's have sex!" with positive results. (Sorry, I thought this was clear given the context.)

You have to, instead, go through this mating dance of body language, reading subtle emotional response, etc. and many people aren't good at this, leading to hurt feelings and negative emotions on both sides.... all because we can't come out and say it.

It is my sincere hope that at some point we can move past this, to straightforward, clear communication of sexual desire. Maybe this is what a post-feminist society looks like.
posted by LordSludge at 4:52 PM on October 3, 2012


Thanks jb! After I post on Metafilter, I often worry that I just sound like a blowhard... So it's nice to know that somebody thinks I've got something worthwhile to say.

A woman, even a homely woman, can just put on a miniskirt, walk into a bar and take home almost any random guy. All she has to do is offer. Most women would never, ever do that, and the fact that men actually envy them for being able to do that says a lot about the differences between the male and female sex drive. Few women reach the point where they're ready to just grab a stranger and holler DO ME, but a lot of guys start their days like that and it's downhill from there.

As for What Not to Wear and shows like that, they can be fun and sometimes they do offer good fashion advice, but I hate it when they get their mitts on a cute goth or a woman over 35 who dares to wear a miniskirt and then they shame them into dressing like office drones. I prefer a show like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where the focus was on helping people achieve a style based on their actual personalities, and helping them look as cool and interesting as they could within their professional context. WNTW seems to be more about eliminating anything individual or eye-catching and making people look better, but in a very mainstream way.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Male and female social interaction is profoundly Fucked Up, and when I become Empress I will instigate a program where 19-year-old guys have to spend a year in drag.

I'm a heterosexual guy and I'd vote for your programme. It would reduce the total amount of inter-gender fucked-upness to some extent, at least in the long run.
posted by acb at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2012


Expecting sex is the problem.

Or love. Or, indeed, anything above the baseline level of politeness for one's society.
posted by acb at 5:32 PM on October 3, 2012


And yes, my paper fedora looks and feels a lot better on a sunny day than my felt one.

I have a paper straw hat I picked up for $5 at Dangerfield a few visits to Australia ago. It still looks pretty good (albeit in a casual, not too peacockish way). It replaced a straw-straw hat I found in a shop in Paris and lost on a train in London, and I think actually looks a bit better.
posted by acb at 5:42 PM on October 3, 2012


A woman, even a homely woman, can just put on a miniskirt, walk into a bar and take home almost any random guy. All she has to do is offer.

This is oft-repeated, widely believe horse shit. A homely woman cannot snag "almost any random guy" for the night. She can possibly get a random guy who doesn't have better options - probably not the cream of the crop. It'll probably be a guy she's only moderately attracted to, and will likely regret hooking up with the next day.

Guys can easily do this too, btw, but it's the same deal: you're probably not going home with the most attractive woman there. Lower your standards, and it's easy to hook up.

But don't lower your standards, men or women. It's not worth it. And porn is pretty good nowadays...
posted by LordSludge at 6:47 PM on October 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


What was life before "hookup culture"? The frigid '50s?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:28 PM on October 3, 2012


This is oft-repeated, widely believe horse shit.

I call horseshit on your horseshit, sir. If a woman isn't hideous or frightening in some way, she can walk into a crowded bar and basically take home almost any guy she sees, so long as she makes it clear she's offering a night of uncomplicated, consequence-free sex. Even if a guy isn't that attracted to her, he's probably not going to let an opportunity like that pass him by.

Guys can easily do this too, btw, but it's the same deal

No they can't, and it's not. Yes, if a guy hits on random women relentlessly, he'll eventually find one willing to take him home. But unless a guy is absolutely gorgeous, if he just walks into a bar and bluntly offers sex to a random woman, he's probably going to be turned down (and maybe slapped in the face.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:33 PM on October 3, 2012


Re: woman can get all the sex they can, men can't, they have actually studied casual offers of sex and how gender relates to it. Interestingly, while women were very unlikely to accept offers of sex from an attractive stranger ("women’s mean was 1.37 out of 7, with a standard deviation of .97 – generally not a chance with a smattering of not likely") men's wasn't 7.0 with no standard deviation as hypothesized above, it was "3.74 with an SD of 2.16, so in the middle and all over the range."

You might want to rethink your hypothesis, given the data.

More details:

"the paper really did conclude what the press report says it does: that most of the gender difference in women’s and men’s propensity to agree to a broad-daylight, out-of-nowhere proposition for casual sex is driven by women’s perception that their risks are higher, and their likely enjoyment is lower from the proposer."

"[314.] On the key question of likelihood of accepting the offer, women’s mean was 1.37 out of 7, with a standard deviation of .97 – generally not a chance with a smattering of not likely. Men were at 3.74 with an SD of 2.16, so in the middle and all over the range. Everyone’s interest went up for the short fling, women to 2.43 (deviation 1.18), men to 4.03 (2.16), but the gap remained large.

As for why, here’s the first headline: women rated sexual competence at 2.82 (1.25) and men at 3.83 (1.14). Men thought the proposer — knowing nothing about her — would be a middle-of-the-pack sex partner, while women thought the male proposers would be mediocre. Here’s the second headline: women rated danger at 4.19 (1.62) against 2.75 (1.52) for men. Women rated danger in the top half of the scale, men in much lower, when all they knew about the proposer was the gender and that they had made the offer described. There are differences on other scales, some statistically significant at some levels but none with a gulf like these."

(Ironically, men could increase their chances of getting better sex by convincing other men to 1) take women's safety concerns seriously and make rape unacceptable socially and 2) take women's pleasure seriously and turn sex/dating from homo-social competitiveness for the most attractive female to something about mutual pleasure on a widely social level - since those are the two main reasons women don't accept offers of sex from attractive strangers.)
posted by Deoridhe at 7:50 PM on October 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Also ironically, I love men in fedoras and older-style fashion. A man who can rock a 3 piece suit will completely bliss me out. If you can tie a complicated cravat, lets talk. Proper carrying and use of a cane makes me weak in the knees. I have gasped and stared at men wearing ruffles, then seriously considered hitting on them (didn't; way too shy/self-disliking; still kinda regret it). And I own a tiara which I wear while doing chores.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:54 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ursula, I've pretty much tried to do just what you've claimed is possible for women and gone home alone.

It IS horseshit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 PM on October 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Deoridhe and EmpressCallipygos, thank you for your answers. They're a lot politer than what I wanted to say, and didn't because I figured a mod would kick my ass.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2012


my thoughts on hats:

i am a girl. i am trying to bring bonnets back into style. i have a bonnet. you should get one!

also, hipsters: BUY YOUR BLOSSOM HAT NOW. it is the fashion of the future.

fedoras, shmedoras. i'm more concerned about The Guy With The Waxed Mustache.

re: hats inside. what about Hat Head? once i put a hat on, it is ON. crumpled rumpled creased bangs smashed down on my head? no thank you.
posted by apostrophe at 8:16 PM on October 3, 2012


I'm not into bonnets, but I'll defend to the death loud complaint your right to wear bonnets.

But that 15th(?) century hat linked above looked pretty good.
posted by jb at 9:12 PM on October 3, 2012


As to the study, I didn't delve into it too deeply, but it looks like they presented college students with a list of questions about how they would respond if somebody randomly approached them on campus and offered them sex. A list of questions, about how they would respond to an offer made on campus, in broad daylight. Do I have to point out how far this scenario is from being hit upon by a flesh and blood human, after dark, in a bar? It's really not so surprising that many guys would answer no, with a questionnaire set up like that. Has anybody set up hidden cameras in a bar, and tried this for real? I would take those results a lot more seriously.

Maybe I'm wrong, and most guys would turn down a woman in a scenario like that. But I can tell you for sure that in casual conversation, most of the men I've ever met would say they'd be all over a woman who offered casual sex, even if she wasn't Angelina Jolie. Maybe that's all just talk. In any case, I was obviously speaking more from opinion that from piles of carefully collected data.

EmpressCallipygos, I'm sorry you suffered through what must have been a very grim evening. I don't really believe that any woman can get any man in any bar. For whatever reason, you did not go home with a man that night. But I still believe that most women could do it, provided they had all their limbs and teeth intact and they weren't putting out the crazy vibes. (And I am not saying that was your problem. Again, I don't know what your problem was that night.)

They're a lot politer than what I wanted to say, and didn't because I figured a mod would kick my ass.

Well, for Pete's sake. I'm curious as to what the heck I said that was so horribly offensive... But then again, life's too short and I've already spent way too long sounding off in a thread that was supposed to be about freaking hats.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:51 PM on October 3, 2012


I'm reminded of the story I was once told at an undergrad party. My (very attractive) classmate was recounting to a mixed crowd of guys and girls the tale of how she set about asking every man at a particular social event one night for strings-free sex with her, and they ALL said yes. All of them. This illustrated both, how undeniably desirable she was, and what filthy pigs all men are, see? It was a double whammy. Incredible story. Unbelievable, really. Let's consider, in fact, the odds she had to defeat. No gay men. Pointedly, no attached and faithful men. And (of course) no uninterested men.

I'm not saying it wasn't possible. Just very unlikely. I believe my only reaction was to take a sip of my drink, say "That's surprising", and depart for better company.

Ursula, I've pretty much tried to do just what you've claimed is possible for women and gone home alone.

That's surprising.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:54 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If a woman isn't hideous or frightening in some way, she can walk into a crowded bar and basically take home almost any guy she sees, so long as she makes it clear she's offering a night of uncomplicated, consequence-free sex. Even if a guy isn't that attracted to her, he's probably not going to let an opportunity like that pass him by.

I understand that you think this to be true, but it's simply false. But it's so commonly believed that I don't want to beat up on you. I personally turn down easy hookup sex w somebody I'm unattracted to fairly commonly, and I'm a total dork. (Because, ew, why would you put your dick in somebody you don't find attractive??) I've seen many other male friends do the same. And sometimes women get very upset about this. A lot of women feel entitled to sex, just as a lot of men do. (Also, rejection hurts, so try not to be a dick about it. "Sorry I have a girlfriend" is preferable to "Sorry I don't find you attractive.")

Where I'd agree with your premise is with desperate, low social value, loser guys -- "unattractive" for whatever reason, but not necessarily in the physical sense. Sex is such a rare prize with them, they're more apt to take whatever they can get. The sad irony is that the desperation is a big part of what's driving most women away. It feeds-back into itself. If this describes your peer group, you should probably look into upgrading your friends, for your own sake.

No they can't, and it's not. Yes, if a guy hits on random women relentlessly, he'll eventually find one willing to take him home. But unless a guy is absolutely gorgeous, if he just walks into a bar and bluntly offers sex to a random woman, he's probably going to be turned down (and maybe slapped in the face.)

Yes, you can. I used to do it in my, um, less picky days. Find a desperate, lonely woman at the bar, one that you find mildly attractive at best, chat her up, take her home, and show her a good time. Nothing wrong with that as long as you're not lying about your intentions, using drugs/alcohol to influence their judgement, using protection, etc. You can really make her day if she's just dying to get laid. (I've been straight up thanked for sex - this was less of an ego boost and more an indication that I needed to raise my bar a little...)

True, you don't say "hey there good to meet you, wanna fuck?" Be a wee bit more subtle, take her from the bar to Waffle House or wherever your late night happy place is, chatty-chat for a while to make sure she's mostly sane (she'll be evaluating you too...), then if all is still going well take her to your place to check out your 1970s Disney stamp collection. Or very often she's the one trying to run things and get you alone. If you're into it, just go along with it. Hurray sexy times.

Men and women aren't all that different. We both want to be with somebody that makes our heart beat faster. Your best tool in understanding women, I think, is empathy.
posted by LordSludge at 12:16 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ursula Hitler: I have been the lonesome, ugly, desperate, can't-get-laid guy, and I have been the cute girl pursued by gross, horny dudes...

This (and the rest of the linked comment) is pretty much what I dropped by to say. Looks like a simple 'me too' will suffice instead.
posted by Dysk at 3:07 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm wrong, and most guys would turn down a woman in a scenario like that. But I can tell you for sure that in casual conversation, most of the men I've ever met would say they'd be all over a woman who offered casual sex, even if she wasn't Angelina Jolie. Maybe that's all just talk. In any case, I was obviously speaking more from opinion that from piles of carefully collected data.

I think that might be a data point about what men say in casual conversation, FWIW, rather than how relatively easy it is to get sex.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:28 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Men and women aren't all that different. We both want to be with somebody that makes our heart beat faster. Your best tool in understanding women, I think, is empathy.

I'd agree. I said that men and women tend to see the world very differently, but I don't think that's because they're such different creatures at heart. There are biological differences that can affect our personalities in some ways, but I think it's mostly a lot of cultural bullshit that clogs everything up. We grow up being taught all this stuff about gender and romance that's just not true, and even if you're lucky enough to someday figure out that its bullshit, it's really hard to totally divest yourself of all the prejudices and silliness. I'm still working on it, and probably always will be.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:55 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I'm sorry you suffered through what must have been a very grim evening. I don't really believe that any woman can get any man in any bar. For whatever reason, you did not go home with a man that night. But I still believe that most women could do it, provided they had all their limbs and teeth intact and they weren't putting out the crazy vibes. (And I am not saying that was your problem. Again, I don't know what your problem was that night.)

Have you considered the possibility that my "problem" was that your theory is incorrect?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:42 AM on October 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


And no need to console me for having "a grim evening" - it wasn't grim, it was just the breaks. Because sometimes it just happens that way.

Because women can't just walk into a bar and get any guy just like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 AM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I'm sorry you suffered through what must have been a very grim evening. I don't really believe that any woman can get any man in any bar. For whatever reason, you did not go home with a man that night. But I still believe that most women could do it, provided they had all their limbs and teeth intact and they weren't putting out the crazy vibes. (And I am not saying that was your problem. Again, I don't know what your problem was that night.)

It's pretty fun how scores of women have shown up here to tell you "hey, your ideas about what it's like to be a woman are wrong, which I know because I AM A WOMAN," and you persist in being all "lolnope, the TV told me chicks can get laid whenever so it MUST BE TRUE"
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:50 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not necessarily going to defend or agree with her theory, but I'm pretty sure Ursula Hitler did mention that she's a woman too...
posted by Dysk at 5:57 AM on October 4, 2012


Ursula is a woman now, yes.

And I do not doubt that some women can pull that off. I'm only challenging the assertion that every woman can.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 AM on October 4, 2012


Ursula is a woman now, yes.

And I do not doubt that some women can pull that off. I'm only challenging the assertion that every woman can.


For what it's worth, I fully agree with this statement (edit: though perhaps without the temporal qualifier). I was largely addressing the tone of showbiz_liz's comment.
posted by Dysk at 6:04 AM on October 4, 2012


I included the temporal qualifier to explain why there was perhaps confusion about gender. But yeah, it does sound uninentionally snarky; my bad. No ill intent was intended.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:10 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm an aspiring woman, let's put it that way. I don't feel like I've really paid the dues to be a full member of the club. I'm certainly not a boy. I don't know what the hell I am really, but that's fine.

And no need to console me for having "a grim evening"

I was trying to be nice. It sounded grim as hell to me, but perhaps you're made of sterner stuff.

you persist in being all "lolnope, the TV told me chicks can get laid whenever so it MUST BE TRUE"

Now it's my turn to bite my tongue. I'll just say that this little scenario you describe, where I'm lolnop-ing and refusing to listen to what scores of "real" women say because of something I saw on TV(?), misrepresents the situation in nearly every particular. It also gives me the cold pricklies.

I feel like I've clumsily stirred up some trouble about something I frankly wasn't all that invested in. The study seems a little iffy to me, for reasons I've already gone into... But people have their anecdotal evidence, and I've never gone into a bar as a man or a woman and tried to pick up a stranger. (I was never really the bar type, and the idea of just bluntly offering sex to a stranger sounds like no fun at all.) So, what the heck do I know about it, really?

But baseball caps really are totally assy. I refuse to budge one inch on that one, because I am right.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:36 AM on October 4, 2012


But people have their anecdotal evidence, and I've never gone into a bar as a man or a woman and tried to pick up a stranger. (I was never really the bar type, and the idea of just bluntly offering sex to a stranger sounds like no fun at all.) So, what the heck do I know about it, really?

Wait, I'm confused. If you haven't ever done this, then...why did you make the claim it was possible?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you have to have done something yourself, to believe it's possible?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:08 AM on October 4, 2012


Do you have to have done something yourself, to believe it's possible?

POSSIBLE, no. UNIVERSALLY possible, yes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ursula: maybe you're just more attractive than many women.

But also, if you lived your adolescent years as male, then you may be perceiving something as a male experience which is really a more universal experience for men and women -- one shared by many cis-women. For many people, the adolescent years are both some of the loneliest but also can set your feelings about relationships well into your adult years. I know a very attractive woman who had a "dry spell" through most of high school, and I think this has affected her perception of herself for years later. (Seriously, she's like a part-time model, though she probably would have to keep her day job.)

I realized that I don't know any men who could be classified as "Nice Guys"(TM) -- I do know many honestly nice men who have had long (and involuntary) periods of singledom, just as I know a similar number of nice women who are also involuntarily single. But neither the men I know nor the women are interested in casual sex - they are interested in a relationship, preferably a long-term one. And for both men and women, meeting someone with whom you have that magic combination of sexual and mental compatibility seems to be quite difficult. Going home with a stranger from a bar when you are looking for a partner is kind of like getting a dinner mint when you are looking for a square meal -- and if you're unlucky, it turns out to be aniseed flavoured, yuck.

Anyways, this has nothing to do with hats. What I would say is that of my massive sample size of 3-4 male fedora-wearers (two are ecumenical hat-enthusiasts), all are well-adjusted, quite feminist and in long-term relationships (and one is now married to a woman who probably likes to wear fedoras, too).
posted by jb at 8:45 AM on October 4, 2012


Baseball caps aren't bad. It's just that they don't look good on everyone, and also the idea that they "are the only acceptable hat" is just wrong and extremely narrow-minded. It would be like someone telling women that all shoes have to have 3-inch heels (you know, like the What Not to Wear people seem to). Some women look good in and like to wear 3-inch heels - power to them; other women wear flats or unisex shoes or big clonking combat boots, and power to them too.

Most hat enthusiasts I know are very ecumenical - they want to defend the right of all people to wear the hats of their choice and promote hat (or hatless) acceptance. We all need to be Free to Be Hatted or Not Hatted in the hats of our choice.
posted by jb at 8:53 AM on October 4, 2012


Baseball caps aren't bad. It's just that they don't look good on everyone, and also the idea that they "are the only acceptable hat" is just wrong and extremely narrow-minded.

I started wearing more interesting hats precisely because I couldn't stand the way baseball caps looked on me. Interestingly, after I lost a lot of weight, that changed*. But I still don't want to wear them all the time!

*Not a statement about weight and baseball caps in general.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 9:13 AM on October 4, 2012


So...on the "trilby" vs. "fedora" thing, I took a little trip down the internet rabbit hole trying to get a definitive read on the original forms of these hats and came up blank. Yes, the "trilby" got its name from the play based on Du Maurier's famous novel and the "fedora" got its name from the play starring Sarah Bernhardt: but I can't find any material showing what these hats actually looked like. There are quite a few cast photos from the original production of Trilby, and none of them show anyone in anything remotely like a trilby hat.

It's not clear that there was ever, originally, a distinction between the "trilby" and the "fedora": in fact it seems quite likely that the "trilby hat" was just what the English took to calling the fedora, which was a hat worn by artsy types like those in the milieu in which Trilby is set. Certainly it seems to be the case that in the 1920s, 30s and 40s the hat that Americans were calling a "fedora" was called a "trilby" in the UK (i.e., not that there were two different forms of hat, but that the same hat had one name in the UK and another in the US).

It would be interesting to know at what point Americans decided that a particular form of the fedora (the short-brimmed fedora, basically) should be called the "trilby."

If anyone happens to know of late C19th pictorial material depicting a "Trilby hat" I'd be really interested to see it.
posted by yoink at 9:31 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can't believe this has generated 600+ comments. It is more talked about than the presidential debate, but my contribution to this is that some people treat hats as costume props and this annoys the vanishingly small group of us that still wear sensible hats. I often get genuine compliments on my fedora from people of all ages. I would love to see a resurgence but those who treat them as costumes aren't helping.
posted by dgran at 10:36 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I first saw this post's title, I thought it was a joke...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:55 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


With Vancouver's rainy season approaching, a fedora would be a great accessory for keeping off the drizzle. But now I'm scared.
posted by LordSludge at 12:11 PM on October 4, 2012


I would love to see a resurgence but those who treat them as costumes aren't helping.
I've been trying to put into words the difference between "That Tedious Guy With the Hat" and "That Guy Who Can Pull Off the Hat," and dgran comes close. This is what I think:

Both of them say "I'm going to damn well wear this hat because I like it and nobody's going to tell me what I can or can't wear."

That Tedious Guy With the Hat knows that it is anachronistic and sees that as a primary feature, resulting in the dreaded "Look at me! I'm the guy with the hat!" vibe.

That Guy Who Can Pull Off the Hat knows that it is anachronistic, but also understands its past relevant context and is able to adapt it to the present with enough confidence and fashion sense that it works despite being anachronistic.
posted by usonian at 12:19 PM on October 4, 2012


That Tedious Guy With the Hat knows that it is anachronistic and sees that as a primary feature, resulting in the dreaded "Look at me! I'm the guy with the hat!" vibe.

And there are all types of That Tedious Guy out there. The whole Nice Guy™, PUA, etc. association with the fedora is, to my mind, extremely unfair because the fedora is a symptom of being unable to "read a room" or doesn't have good social skills, and the misogynistic Nice Guy™ is simply a (small) subset of people like that. But when I see "fedora guy" I don't think "misogynistic douche" as the author does. He could be "charmingly socially inept" or "tedious and uninteresting" or "misogynistic douche." It runs a wide gamut.

(yes, except for you, special snowflake reader, who wears your fedora well. I wasn't talking about you)
posted by deanc at 1:09 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


jbickers writes "I am so sick and damned tired of worrying about whether I'm allowed to wear a certain thing. Fashion police can go jump off a goddamned cliff. Fedoras are cool."

Besides the wisdom not to get into arguments with no end with fervent adherents of either side (abortion, circumcision, over or under the toilet paper roll) the only advantage of getting old I'm gaining is a healthy dose of not giving a fuck what other people think of what I'm wearing/what I'm driving/where I'm living.

robocop is bleeding writes "I admit it. I'm in my mid thirties and I have no idea how to wear a hat. Half the time, my interaction with hats is watching them sail down the street in the wind. The other half is me clutching them to my enormous noggin. How people can wear basecaps is beyond me. I've been trying and trying, but they just pop up off my head at the slightest breeze - and people can run in these things?"

I've got a big noggin too; not only around but top to bottom too and their in lies the problem I have wearing hats. They just aren't deep enough in a lot of cases to come down far enough to get the band around the vertical park of my skull rather than the tapered section higher up. Looking for a taller hat helps with this problem.

Sara C. writes "If a hat is a bother, then simply don't wear one. This isn't 1962."

Did they stop having weather where you live since 1962? Not wearing a hat here in the summer is inviting the hair to just burst into flame if you're in the sun for more than a few minutes and I don't even want to think about going hatless in the winter.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on October 4, 2012


Did they stop having weather where you live since 1962?

No, but what people seem to be getting verklempt about is hats for style.

If it's cold out, wear a knitted hat (such as a watch cap) and put it in your coat pocket when you tire of it.

If it's sunny out, wear a baseball cap, flat cap, or other small, collapsible, unobtrusive hat you can take off easily and stow away when you go inside.

9 times out of 10, people wearing fedoras aren't doing it for combatting the elements. They're doing it as a fashion statement. If you want to do that, you need to abide by all the conventions of the hat as fashion statement. You can't use it in lieu of bathing. You can't wear it with any old thing regardless of whether it goes or not. You can't wear it at the dinner table. If any of that sounds complicated to you, simply do not wear a fedora, and everything will be fine.
posted by Sara C. at 8:32 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wearing hats - or head scarves - in lieu of bathing is the traditional convention of hat wearing (think medieval caps). Also, as linked above, hats were worn when eating/drinking in a public place like a restaurant or bar.

As for a baseball cap against the sun: it doesn't have a brim all the way around, and doesn't look as nice on many people.

Why do you want to impose your ahistorical hat etiquette and late 20th century hat fashions on everyone else? They aren't forcing a fedora onto your head.
posted by jb at 6:03 AM on October 5, 2012


more 16th century goodness: The Peasant Wedding by Bruegel, showing people all wearing hats, while eating (or serving food) - even the little kid at the front.

Not wearing hats for most of the day (or at night as well) is an extremely recent phenomenon. We can probably thank frequent bathing as well as fashion for giving us a choice about whether we wish to wear hats, but that doesn't mean that anyone should impose their preferred hatlessness on anyone else.
posted by jb at 6:08 AM on October 5, 2012


Wearing hats - or head scarves - in lieu of bathing is the traditional convention of hat wearing (think medieval caps).

Is there anything else people still do that was conventional in medieval times? Seriously, though, wearing a hat because you don't feel like washing your dirty hair is not an excuse for anything. Sorry you are dirty. You still have to take your hat off.

Also, as linked above, hats were worn when eating/drinking in a public place like a restaurant or bar.

No. Have you ever seen Mad Men? Have you ever worn a hat at table in the presence of someone who was alive when people customarily wore hats? No hat while eating is pretty much the first rule of hats.
posted by Sara C. at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2012


more 16th century goodness: The Peasant Wedding by Bruegel, showing people all wearing hats, while eating (or serving food) - even the little kid at the front.

Are you actually arguing that we still live in the 16th century, in terms of style, manners, etc?

I dare you to go to work barefoot on Monday.

I dare you to sit down in a (good) restaurant and start eating with your hands.

I dare you to try to burn your neighbor at the stake.
posted by Sara C. at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2012


Sara C., you haven't responded to the various people above who offered evidence that particular rules of hat etiquette were never as universal as you are portraying them. Here are some other examples.

That said, I think that it's worth obeying these rules of etiquette even if they are not universally known or followed. Since removing a hat is something that many people see as a sign of respect in certain situations, not removing it in those situations could be seen as a gesture of disrespect. And I think most people do understand this in principle, even if they disagree over how broadly to apply it; look at the crowd at a baseball game during the singing of the national anthem, for example.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:26 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dare you to go to work barefoot on Monday.

I dare you to sit down in a (good) restaurant and start eating with your hands.

I dare you to try to burn your neighbor at the stake.


16th century peasants wore shoes, at least the prosperous ones (did you even look at the painting?). I do eat with my hands in good restaurants - do you cut up your bread roll with a knife and fork? And as the best restaurants I've ever been to have been Indian or Ethiopian, of course I ate with my hands for most of the dishes. I'll leave the burning, since you're just trying to be a troll.

You claim "convention" and "tradition" but you don't seem to know much about the history of hats. And you're citing a TV show over an actual photograph and a historic painting. As for the "first rule of hats", I don't believe that we have any historical or archeological sources on hat etiquette in the paleolithic (which is when the first rules about hats would have been made), so I don't think that we need to fossilize those rules at an arbitrary date portrayed in fiction by a tv show you like.

Fine, you don't like people wearing hats at your dinner table. When you have someone to dinner, you should ask them - politely - to remove their hat while eating with you. I'm sure they will oblige, especially if you provide them with somewhere to place their hat.

Whether it is polite to wear a hat when at a dinner party or in a restaurant is not an ironclad rule, but a fashion that changes depending on the time and place. From a quick googling, here is a 1911 image of a French dinner party - no hats - but this Japanese image of a group of westerners (Dutch) dining shows one man with his hat one, others without. 19th century Chinese gentlemen apparently dined with hats on, as did some gentlemen in the court of King James I/VI, but in this image of a sixteenth century family dinner, the women are wearing hats, but not the men (perhaps because they were praying).

As for whether someone is "dirty" or not -- well, that's also culturally dependent. If it's not imposing on you (eg with smell), then you really don't have a right to tell anyone how often they should wash their hair.
posted by jb at 8:31 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. Have you ever seen Mad Men?

Are you actually arguing that we still live in the 16th century, in terms of style, manners, etc?


I dare you to go to work and drink a fifth of Scotch and try to get one of your former secretaries to sleep with the prospective client in order to land an account.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:32 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


mbrubeck - nice examples.

I was googling some other mid-20th century restaurant/dining images, and it seems like doffing hats was more likely, especially when it was more formal dining, but sometimes left on for a quick lunch at a lunch counter -- much like how today people will wear baseball caps in a fast food place but take them off in a restaurant (except where it's cultural to leave them on).

But my point is: this is cultural, and in the spirit of tolerance, civilized people accept minor cultural differences that don't impact on themselves.
posted by jb at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2012


Also: where can I get a blue plate special? I'm terrible at packing lunches, but I really should eat better than I am (I need some proper vegs).
posted by jb at 8:39 AM on October 5, 2012


I dare you to try to burn your neighbor at the stake.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. keep an eye on your local news for updates.
posted by elizardbits at 8:58 AM on October 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think that it's worth obeying these rules of etiquette even if they are not universally known or followed

I think bathing regularly and wearing clothes that match are universally known and (mostly) followed, in the affluent developed west.

Re the McSorley's link:

I hereby give you permission to wear your fedora in disgusting old dive bars with sawdust on the floor, to your heart's content. Notice that the men are also wearing their coats. McSorely's wasn't a classy joint to sit and linger over a pint and a nice lunch, it's almost literally a watering hole. Those photos depict the 40's version of McDonald's. But the combo meals are all liquor. (Probably spelled likker.) They famously didn't serve women until the late 70's, because they didn't want to be associated with prostitution.

The Shorpy's photo is a military installation. If you are in the military, please do whatever your CO tells you to do re hats. Though I'll note that the only thing that got my brother to finally stop wearing his baseball cap at the dinner table was joining the marines.

Seriously, y'all. Bathe regularly. Keep your hair clean. Choose accessories that match your clothes (including hats). Don't wear a hat at the dinner table.
posted by Sara C. at 9:29 AM on October 5, 2012


I will admit to the fact that hat etiquette is definitely class related, though.

However, I think it's best that we remember that in all this conversation about hats and The Dapper Sysadmin, we're not talking about blue collar laborers who may not have a place to put their hats, or may not be able to afford different hats for different functions. We're talking about pickup artists and programmers, people who worry about what to do with their hat while browsing at a bookstore or eating brunch.

If you sit at a desk, you should err on the side of good hat etiquette.

If you work indoors, you should err on the side of good hat etiquette.

If you eat regularly at "Fast Casual" dining establishments, you should err on the side of good hat etiquette.

If you drive an SUV, you should err on the side of good hat etiquette.

If you are expected to bathe daily, you should not use your ownership of a hat as an excuse to defer doing so.

This is not to say that working class people or poorer people should "be rude" or whatever, but that examples that cite agricultural labor, dirty old hole in the wall taverns, or anything that anyone did prior to the Industrial Revolution are not really relevant here.

When you become a longshoreman and start hanging out in grog shops down by the water, sure, do whatever with your hat, I guess. In the meantime, please continue to bathe regularly and dress appropriately.
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're coming on kind of strong here.
posted by cortex at 9:53 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Point taken.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 AM on October 5, 2012


I dare you to go to work barefoot on Monday.

Not my thing, but I just walked into work right along with a barefoot dude.

So not a problem.

I'm in favor of removing hats indoors (mostly), and of bathing (entirely). But the idea that fedora conventions are the same in 2012 as in 1962 is just wrong. In 2012, at least where I live, mix and match is the convention, and someone wearing a fedora with a three piece suit is breaking the convention by indulging in retro cosplay.

Which is awesome! But not conventional.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 10:01 AM on October 5, 2012


I don't really want to see a return to Victorian levels of etiquette (the mind boggles at how many things there were to tut-tut over) but as a grown-up I have come to wish that we as a society could be bothered to display any etiquette at all. Maybe asking people to remove their fedoras while eating is too ambitious... let's start with encouraging people not to wear pajama pants to the grocery store.
posted by usonian at 10:05 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


SUGGESTION REJECTED

You can peel my polarfleece fedora that says "LOVE PINK" + matching pajama-pants out of my COLD DEAD HANDS
posted by Greg Nog at 10:06 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well if it's in your cold dead hands then you must have taken it off indoors so there's no problem
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


No I just constantly keep my fingers locked tightly around the brim, quivering nervously, in case someone tries to forcibly remove it

If someone asks why I won't take my hands off my hat I just tell 'em I'm "peacocking" in a new cool way then try to "neg" them by saying something like "I know you want to steal my hat you fucker, I know it, YOU WON'T HAVE IT"

yeah you could say I get kissed a lot
posted by Greg Nog at 10:37 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something something Vlad Tepes nailing hats to the heads of Ottoman delegates for refusing to take them off in his presence.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:39 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah you could say I get kissed a lot

IT'S WORKING
posted by shakespeherian at 10:56 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


let's start with encouraging people not to wear pajama pants to the grocery store.

JUST BE HAPPY I AM WEARING PANTS AT ALL!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:56 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole POINT of the interwebs is that you can't see the pajama pants.
posted by infini at 11:48 AM on October 5, 2012


I will admit to the fact that hat etiquette is definitely class related, though...

When you become a longshoreman and start hanging out in grog shops down by the water, sure, do whatever with your hat, I guess. In the meantime, please continue to bathe regularly and dress appropriately.


I come from a pretty solidly middle class background. For a couple of generations even. We live decently well, but that's mainly through careful budgeting and a very generous gift from my wife's grandmother. You seem like a nice person, and I doubt you realize how you're coming across to those of us who might not be your usual audience, but you're probably raising a few hackles by who you categorize as whose behavior counts when it comes to what the etiquette in the past and present.

Anyway, I never heard word one about hat etiquette growing up. On the other hand my parents emphasized being considerate of other people, which is something I've tried to pass on my kids, by example. This Monday for instance, my wife got off of work early because we had to go pick up a check at our insurance office (our car was totaled recently when I hit the a deer that had to see what was on the other side of the interstate). Anyway, I thanked the claims adjuster, held the door for a guy with his hands full, you know general decent behavior. On the other hand there was a guy in the office at the same time as us who spent the whole time yelling into his cell phone.

Then we went to a bookstore with a little coffee shop. Same drill, nothing that I view as note worthy on my end, just a realization that other people deserve the same amount of consideration that I do. While my wife fed our 1 year old daughter, we were treated to the show of an older man decided that it was his business that somebody's daughter didn't know how to figure out what something marked 30% off would cost. The woman handled the rant well (she cut him off shortly and said, "they're working on that at school" and walked off).

Then we went out to dinner (which is a once every two or three weeks treat), no place super fancy, but not fast food by any stretch. The whole time this blow hard in the table next to us was trying to impress his date with his great business idea. The entire time we were there, she got maybe four sentences in. It was painful to listen to.

So, I only bring this up, because I didn't take my cap off in any of those situations. Nor, do I think that anyone saw me as being rude. I don't think anyone would have if even if there weren't those inconsiderate people along side with me. Those other people though, EVERYONE in the room knew that they were being rude, because they weren't considering how their actions effect others. I think that that illustrates a fundamental divide between rules that show class and social status (which may very well have grown out of practical considerations) and those that exist to make society function better.

I guess what I'm saying is that, while it's great you have this set of rules that helps you decide who's civilized, I really hope you consider that just like MY upbringing and life experiences didn't prepare me for the proper etiquette of every social situation, maybe yours didn't either. Some things that might be important in some situations aren't so much in others. By proclaiming yours as the only right and polite way of behavior, you're dismissing whole groups of people who are just as concerned with others as yourself, but who come from slightly different places in time and culture than yourself.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Your parents never told you to take off your baseball cap at the dinner table?

Um. OK.
posted by Sara C. at 1:02 PM on October 5, 2012


Your parents never told you to take off your baseball cap at the dinner table? Um. Ok.

Um, it's starting to look like your parents never told you not to imply someone else's parents were crap parents because of one little thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not. I think the Hats Whenever folks are overstating the case. Especially with all this "I am a 14th century peasant, so I can do whatevs" stuff. It's completely disingenuous. I can't be the only boring middle class American Heartland kid whose elders were constantly stressing the "no hats at the dinner table" thing.

People know that there's a time and a place for hats. This is not controversial. I don't really understand why people are so het up in the opposite direction.
posted by Sara C. at 2:45 PM on October 5, 2012


[Sara C., I recognize that for whatever reason hats are a subject you dearly love fighting about. However, please do try moderate your impulses, because you're coming on awfully strong here. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 2:47 PM on October 5, 2012


Sara C, are you aware that in the USA there are households where people always take off their shoes indoors and households where people never take off their shoes unless they are bathing, changing, or going to bed? The country is too big and too diverse for any rule of etiquette to be universal.
posted by straight at 4:00 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't be the only boring middle class American Heartland kid whose elders were constantly stressing the "no hats at the dinner table" thing.

Ah, but Metafilter is not entirely comprised of boring middle class american heartland people.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really enjoy threads where random mefites suddenly reveal deep-seated and long-standing issues with things about which I was previously unaware someone would even have deep-seated and long-standing issues. It is awesome research for my "mimicking human behavior" modules.
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


YOU REMOVE EGGS FROM THE CARTON IN SUCH A WAY AS TO KEEP THE CARTON EVENLY BALANCED WERE YOU RAISED BY WILD BOARS GOD
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Whelk, I have been having this argument with my husband for 17 years.

He also grouses at me when I leave the eggshells in the sink, which I would have more sympathy with if he didn't PUT THEM BACK IN THE CONTAINER AND THEN INTO THE FRIDGE.
posted by KathrynT at 5:10 PM on October 5, 2012


That is a heinous crime and you should feel free to tell him I said so.
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait he-- wait what? Why would-- what?!
posted by shakespeherian at 5:52 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's what I say every time he does it!
posted by KathrynT at 5:53 PM on October 5, 2012


You people live with monsters.
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it so you can throw out all the eggshells in one go, packaged for the garbage? Because I can understand that, shells have razor-sharp edges that can rip through plastic bags with ease.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:56 PM on October 5, 2012


Marisa, you either have weaker trash bags, sharper egg shells, or duller razor blades than I do. Egg shells in the garbage can are a complete non-issue for me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:12 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was kidding, but anecdotally I did cut myself cracking an egg once. Something like that happens, it sets the tone for the whole day.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:32 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did you start a war?
posted by jb at 7:40 PM on October 5, 2012


Ah, but Metafilter is not entirely comprised of boring middle class american heartland people.

I've been through this before, but that is definitely one of my stereotypes of MeFites. I mean, like generally I stereotype MeFites as being raised middle class American heartland before running off to the city.

Anyway, baseball caps are definitely one of those things I associate with being one of those "hey, bra, look at me, even though I'm going to get a job in finance eventually, I can get away with wearing a baseball cap" things, accessorized in high school with a lacrosse stick, which is to say that it is the sort of casual clothing you're wearing on sufferance until you actually have to deal with real human beings and that your parents would never, ever allow you to wear during an outing to the local family restaurant. And if during one of the regular brunch outings I have with friends, someone invited a guy who sat through the whole thing wearing his trilby, I'd wonder who the heck invited this douche.

I dunno, "the heartland" used to be one of those places where everyone was very meticulous and particular about making sure to look right and do the right thing, but now I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that people are going to be sitting down at dinner still wearing their coats and a cap and possibly carrying their stuff around in a fanny pack when they're not walking around outside with their cargo shorts and sandles with black socks and cripes I give up and can't take it anymore.
posted by deanc at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2012


After two days I have finally finished the fedora thread . has anyone else had at least one epiphany while reading it ?  

I have just realized, that there are many, many, women who, if they tried to go out one night and find a reasonable male one-night-stand partner from a bar, could not count on getting any takers.

Not getting sex for a long time, I hate it. And there are more folks in the boat than I had thought. This human condition is barely bearable sometimes. We _should_ never have come down from the trees.

Thank goodness there are sunny days, and we aren't always out working in the fields during them.  And today was a sweet goodbye kiss from Summer up here in th Northeast.

Maybe this winter I'll finally take that cape out of my closet, or wear my Fedora, but _definitely_ not at the same time.
posted by pickles_have_souls at 9:18 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


People know that there's a time and a place for hats. This is not controversial. I don't really understand why people are so het up in the opposite direction.

Well, apparently it is more controversial than you thought.

Sara C, I think you're going to have to accept that the hat etiquette you grew up with is no longer practiced in these barbarous times, and our nation has fallen into total hat anarchy.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:38 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never owned a fedora in my life, but this thread has shown me that wearing one is a great way to lower your chances of having to talk to insufferably judgmental and self-satisfied people, so I think I'm going to have to look into buying one.
posted by yoink at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We should never have come down from the trees.
posted by LordSludge at 4:02 PM on October 6, 2012


this thread has shown me that wearing one is a great way to lower your chances of having to talk to insufferably judgmental and self-satisfied people

Uh oh, I think you're in for a rude awakening...
posted by stoneandstar at 11:22 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


regarding why a person might try to be friends first, rather that ask to date right off the bat: it's not that uncommon for people to have the same attraction style as described in this AskMe question. basically, attraction can't develop until they've been friends with the other person and gotten to know them.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:29 PM on October 7, 2012


Just got back from being dragged to a ren fair by Mrs.Husk.
Even though there weren't many people wearing fedoras, I couldn't help but think of this thread. Not in reference to the fully dressed up folk but more... I don't know how to describe it. There's a certain fedora-guy vibe that comes off of various sorta-garbed people of high school age at ren fairs. It is the same attempt at affectation without going all out and usually involves a weapon. This recognition comes from being such a person myself way back in the day.
posted by charred husk at 6:11 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


diet coke fedora
posted by The Devil Tesla at 11:05 AM on October 8, 2012


Correction: Diet Coke Fedora Hat.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:14 AM on October 8, 2012


relevant
posted by elizardbits at 11:49 AM on October 8, 2012


It is the same attempt at affectation without going all out and usually involves a weapon.
Dearest asketh-me: Sh'lds't I taketh t' a trend t' wears't a Sword, covered to the hilt (for hon'r's sake) upon mine Knight's Belt? Woulds't, perchance, a sweep of throwing-knife-stars in mine sash bound leather pouch form a further fitting fashion?

Hopeth me!
posted by infinite intimation at 12:59 PM on October 8, 2012


I don't know how to describe it. There's a certain fedora-guy vibe that comes off of various sorta-garbed people of high school age at ren fairs. It is the same attempt at affectation without going all out and usually involves a weapon.
I think some people latch onto not-quite-compatible costumed events as an opportunity to let their freak flags fly. At the other extreme of what you describe, I saw a guy at one ren-faire in full prosthetic fantasy lizard-man makeup/costume, skulking around in character. It was a well-executed costume but not even arguably "Renaissance." I once saw a guy at a Civil War reenactment wearing a kilt and every imaginable Scottish Highland dress accoutrement... it was a fine outfit but a little bit over the top as daywear and completely out of place on a Civil War battlefield. (It was not a 79th New York uniform.)
posted by usonian at 3:57 PM on October 9, 2012


At the last RenFaire my friend and I made up the following mead drinking game, where you drink when you spot:
  • Gothed out goth girls
  • Steampunks
  • Anime cosplayers
  • Doctor Who cosplayers
  • Sneakered dudes with maces
  • Middle aged women in hippie dresses
  • Tiny little girls dressed as tiny little fairies
  • Bondage gear dudes
  • Ladies on leashes
  • Furries
We got good and drunk, but then again, that's nothing new.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:28 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think some people latch onto not-quite-compatible costumed events as an opportunity to let their freak flags fly.

Or hilariously appropriate costumes, like the folks who go to RenFaire dressed as a SG unit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:32 PM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


> Ski cap beanies make you look like Mike Nesmith.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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