Friday, October 25, 2013

Ask-A-Dude! Chapeau Edition!

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:

Q: My man wants to wear his favorite ratty-ass baseball cap to my niece's bat mitvah. I've tried to explain it's just not appropriate but he won't listen. How do I tell him that's not gonna fly with my family?

A: The same way you'd tell Winnie the Pooh about Colony Collapse Disorder, gently and with lots of lorazepam on standby. The thing is, your family is being unreasonable. Can't they loosen up? Do one of those themed bat mitzvahs, you know, where everyone comes as their favorite Gilmore Girls character?

Of course, then you run the risk of everyone showing up as Paris, so I guess I understand their hesitation.

If a Mad Hatter-themed bat mizvah isn't an option and your family won't brook any sort of non-traditional headgear except, maybe, a kippah with the Superman logo, then you're going to have to have a sit down with your man. I love that you call him "my man," by the way - what are you, Hasidic truckers?

Before your talk, though, I'd like to give you some background for your discussion that might keep both of you on the same page.

First, let's discuss the pejoratives in your question. I count 6 in the following sentence:

". . .wants to wear his favorite ratty-ass baseball cap. . ." 

In fact, the only word I don't have a beef with is "to."

Let's break it down:

Wants - he doesn't want to wear the cap, he has to wear the cap. It's his identity. It's not a head covering, it's a lens through which he interprets the world. Do people ask him about it? Do they judge him for it? Do they see the cap as an extension of the man or the other way around? Look at it this way, when Carrie Bradshaw steps out with her Fendi baguette clutch, does she have a choice? No. She doesn't.

Wear - he's not wearing it, he's inhabiting it. Does a bear "wear" its fur, a turtle its shell? Take off your man's hat and you might as well call PETA and tell them you're thinking of asking a seal not to "wear" its slimy coat because the posh event you're attending doesn't offer a wet coat-check (which is all the rage in New York circles, by the way).

His - in the same way the Lascaux Cave Paintings belong to all humanity, so too does his hat belong to all men, everywhere. You don't go to the Taj Mahal and say, "I'm sure Mughal emperor Shah Jahan thought it was nice." It's a Unesco World Heritage Site, for crying out loud. The Taj Majal, not his hat. Although don't think he hasn't submitted it for consideration. When people start queuing up and paying good money to walk around his head and snap pictures, won't you feel stupid?

Favorite - that's like saying my mom had a favorite son. I may be positive it was me because I always got the extra-meaty corner of the Mexican Pizza (tortilla base, then beans, then ground beef, then tomato sauce, then cheese, with a crushed tortilla chip and Lipitor topping), but I know she loved my other siblings just as much. Saying the hat he's wearing is his favorite is kind of an insult to the other headwear in his closet that didn't make the cut to attend what increasingly sounds like a real downer of a coming-of-age party.

Ratty-Ass - do you have any idea what it takes to get a brim cap to fit just right? I mean, the line between this

and this

is finer than the embroidery thread spelling out YOLO on your man's hat. You say ratty-ass, but I'm pretty sure the expression you were looking for is "bespoke fit."

Baseball Cap - riiiiiiiight, and the Titanic was just a ship, the Hindenburg was just a blimp and The Lone Ranger was just a flop. Why am I only choosing examples that ended in tragedy? Not sure. My point is, you're belittling a part of his very being. You might as well pants him and pull out a ruler. I mean, what kind of a monster are you?!

Until you understand what the hat means to him, on an existential level, any request that he remove it will fall on deaf, sunburn-protected ears. When he dons that cap, he's not putting on a hat, he's applying the sticky balm of emotional security to his soul.

That hat held his hair out of his face during his first hangover, it kept the sand out of his eyes at Burning Man the year he and his buddies went as A Post-Coital Gasp, it served as an impromptu nest that time he was trying to show his love interest that he could be sensitive and allowed a Yellow-headed Caracara to incubate five eggs in it until the chicks hatched, and it hid a thousand bad hair days because paying more than $8 for a haircut is just useless since no matter how much they try, SuperCuts is NEVER going to make him look like Channing Tatum, whose hair is more versatile than Meryl Streep.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? 

Explain to him that you understand how important that hat is to him, how important it is to all men. Let him know you understand how disconcerting it can be to go bare-headed after so many years. Assure him no one will judge his misshapen head, made slightly cone-shaped as a result of being constrained by the smaller-than-average size of the hat because he washed it on hot even though you warned him it might shrink.

You could meet him halfway, like suggest he wear it to the event, leave it in the car, and then put it back on immediately after. Take some pictures, from different angles, and show them on your phone between your niece's oration and the blessing. In extreme cases, you might hide the cap in the men's room and then tell your concerned family members that he has a bladder infection when he keeps excusing himself every few minutes.

If you genuinely like the shape of his head, let him know, it will make him feel a little less self-conscious. Be careful, however. If this is the first time you've ever seen his head, be prepared for the possibility that his hair, deprived of vital oxygen and sunlight, might look patchy, with uneven hair lengths and areas that don't color match the hair that falls outside the protective covering. To psyche yourself up for this, move your bed from a carpeted room. The slight discoloration on the carpet outlining where the bed was is similar to what you'll see on your man's head.

Finally, if you manage to get him to remove the hat, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES allow him to see anyone else wearing one. If your other party guests are following the same draconian rules your absurdist family laid down, then this shouldn't be a problem. But if he catches so much as a frayed brim worn by one of the caterers, it will cause a tear in space that could destroy the universe.

At best, it'll be like that scene in Somewhere in Time, where Richard finds a penny with a 1979 mint date, and it rips him away from 1912 and the horrified look on Elise's face as she extends a hand and screams, and we pull back to an infinite void before Richard wakes up in his bed, whimpering and heartbroken and too weak to move or eat, and all he has left is the ugliest cry face you ever saw and the mourning moans of a man who's lost the greatest love he's ever known.

Great. Now I'm crying.

No, no, I don't need a tissue to dry my sad man-tears.

I'll just use my hat.

Copil's hat is named Morpheus and has its own Twitter feed (@Copil).


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