February 22, 2008

First Person:

Nice Hat, What, They Couldn’t Guess Your Weight?

By Al Carlos Hernandez

There are three primary reasons for guys over thirty to wear a hat; to block out the sun, to support a certain team or cause, in lieu of combing hair, or to conceal the lack of hair thereof.

Any man who wears a hat, unless you are a cop or a cowboy, to a semi formal occasion, is either hiding bad hair or the unfortunate emergence of a chrome dome. Most men view hair as a sign of virility, but physiologically and chemically the opposite is true as one gets older, as reported by middle age horse shoe headed Gringo doctors.

Don’t kid yourself a toupee, irrespective of how much it cost or how it is secured to your cabeza is a hair hat, and I ain’t mad at you.

The ancients seem to know this, that’s why some cultures have traditions of turbans and ornate head dresses. If you have always wore a head covering then the issue of hair was moot, or mute if you were wrapped too tightly and had the propensity to blow yourself up.

I am a mostly a weekend baseball hat wearer, in lieu of hair combing type guy during the week, and have learned to color match the cap with the T shirt/sweatshirt that I’m wearing that day. Ok maybe for a couple of days, I work mostly at home, I could be wearing a lime green Quinceañera dress and it wouldn’t affect the quality of my work, or the opinion of my employer. When I teach at the University, I, G up-cool for public scrutiny and or ridicule.

My sons and I only wear the fitted caps meaning they are an exact size, say 73/4 and don’t have to worry about that unsightly cheap plastic or Velcro strap that runs across the back, which for me often times has failed.

Unfortunately, because of the size of my dome, I have to put it on the last two dots, and sometimes the plastic strap splits up into a V shape squeezing the hat up to an unsightly point.

No one really knows when a man reaches the age where he cannot credibly wear his cap backwards. The older you get the more you realize that the bill in the back negates the sun vision protection which is the intent of the hat in the first place. This is only practical if you fear becoming a red neck.

If you habitually wear a cap backwards in the hot sun, you are either a motorcycle mechanic, MLB catcher or viewed by the play station 3 generation as a wankster or a scrub.

In an epiphany, it came to mind that the reason I often wear hats is because my hair is prematurely grey, Ok, strike the prematurely, but at least I have a full head of it. I’m not sure if by wearing a cap makes me feel younger, by wearing something black on my head that actually matches my eyebrows.

Nowadays white hair is an option for men, as it has been for women since hair color was invented. There are no more stigmas for men to get a color and cut, after all we live in a youth fueled society, it is much more circumspect to get a dye job, then to look for a new job.

My wife and Gay Joel once thought it best for me to explore life as a brunette again, they put a temporary rinse in my hair that was permanent, and I looked like a cross between Eddie Munster and Shemp from the Three Stooges without the talent. Hated it…The timing was poor I was working in a tire shop at the time.

What I didn’t know was that the roots grow out first, so with white underneath and dark brown on top, my head looked like a Mounds bar for weeks. Folks would look me in the forehead, to avert their eyes, fearing I was having a melt down midlife crisis, while wondering whatever happened to Moe and Larry.

I got a barber college buzz cut, mowing all of the darkness away and wore a cap to work for a while, I embraced my white hairedness. The bottom line being, it is what is in your head, not what’s on your head that defines who you really are.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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