Arguments I Cannot Win – Men's Hats Inside

December 17, 2012

Second installment of my Arguments I Cannot Win theme. Why is it rude TODAY for a man to wear a hat indoors?

There are a plethora of reasons why the sentiment originated, but all of the ones I can think of do not seem to apply today.

Things to consider:

  • Men do cover their heads in a Jewish synagogue to show respect.
  • Men remove their hats in a Christian church to show respect.
  • Everybody wears a hat on a construction site to avoid a concussion.
  • Men who have been wearing a cap have hat-head and their hair doesn't look its best.
  • People don't make a habit of throwing sewage out their window any more, nor do many men wear top-hats very often unless they're on Broadway.

So, why the rule? Honestly, It's rare that I hear anybody mention it any more, but periodically it will come up and nobody has been able to give me a good reason except to say that it's rude, and that in and of itself is the reason. It's rude to fart in public because it's offensive (olfactorily speaking), but a hat isn't hurting anybody.

My usual exhaustive research led me to threads in which people left their opinions – at about 50% for each side – and articles on etiquette, which don't bother with the why's, just being very specific about the rules. (In an elevator in an apartment building the hat comes off, in an elevator in a public building the hat stays on, unless a woman is present in which case it comes off until entering the hall because then you are 1) in a public space again and 2) walking.

I, for one, think it's silly and it needs to go away, and I don't even wear a hat that often. Of course, I have no hope or desire to enter any society that is above the ones just above those who sit on sofas on their front porch and wear house shoes to the grocery store.

Thank you and have a good day.