I’ve never really been a hat person.
I’ve worn a lot of hats, don’t get me wrong. The ozone layer was so thin over NZ, that growing up I had the choice between a hat or imminent cancer. I chose the hat. I wore caps, but they looked weird on my head. I used to curl the brims so tight that if I had two you’d have thought I was advertising for McDonalds. I mean, as a child I would’ve willingly advertised for McDonalds. What kid wouldn’t? Children can’t do shit about marketing. They’re not smart enough yet. I wasn’t, anyway. Smart enough or a hat person, that is. Yes, I wore them, but I never really embodied them. My head would sweat. Sometimes the plastic ribbing would stab my head. I never knew if I was supposed to tuck my ears in. I still don’t. Is there a rule?
I tried bucket hats. Or rather, I tried one bucket hat because it had an army pattern and as a kid I thought that was cool. Look, I told you I was a dumb kid. Or rather, a kid. I thought the army and guns and killing were cool. Consequently, I thought wearing an army bucket hat would make me cool, even though I knew bucket hats were fundamentally uncool. I was not a cool kid. The bucket hat did not last long.
At a concert once I borrowed my friend’s fedora. Yes, it was a literal fedora, not a trilby. I had a photo wearing it that I used as my OkCupid profile picture for several years. I also had literal neckbeard. I thought it made me look distinguished, rebellious and cool. I was none of those things. I also didn’t keep the hat, it was his. I wanted it, but never brought myself to get one of my own. I wanted to be a hat person. I was not a hat person.
A friend and I once went to Chicago for Lollapalooza. It was a big deal, going to a massive overseas concert. Summer in Chicago was awesome. We drank and feasted and melted our fucking faces off in the sun. So I got a hat. I had fond memories of that fedora photo, but I didn’t realise fedoras and trilbys were different things, so I ended up buying a trilby. It did not suit me like I thought it suited me. I still did not look cool. I still was not a hat person. I got too drunk and accidentally lost in a mosh pit. Really though, nothing of value was lost.
Does anyone remember those animal hat things that were in vogue for a while? They were kind of like winter hats, but with conjoined mittens. Wait, I have the internet. They looked like this. Anyway, I thought it was the height of comedy to wear the hat tilted forwards so it looked like its face was my face. Or rather, that I was some form of goddamn chimera with a fuzzy panda head but human jaw/body. I have multiple photos of this, each with diminishing returns. A hat still did not make me cool.
My girlfriend has a bunch of hats. Big floppy sun hats, the kind you’d wear to The Races. There’s one with blue and white concentric circles, and another that’s a bold yellow. I didn’t steal her hat per se, but I sure as hell wear her yellow hat a ton more than she does. I’ve worn her yellow hat enough that it’s become somewhat iconic as my hat, even though it’s very clearly hers. So in some sense I’ve stolen its essence, which as we all know is a big part of fashion. Being Key. It’s vampires all the way down. I “stole” her hat knowing full well that it wasn’t a cool hat, that it did not make me cool and that any of this was secondary to the mass sun protection it’s provided. In all of the kerfuffle and semiotic layers, the juxtaposition of this hat not suiting me whatsoever and the candour with which I wear it almost has made it suit me. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a hat person, but I’m still not a hat person.
But at least I’m smarter than a child now.