To hat or to hat not? — that is the question

To hat or to hat not? — that is the question

Not sure if this is a sartorial question or one for a psychiatrist. Like many ageing hippies, I do not have as much hair as hitherto. My friends look at me going about hatless in the sun and mutter warnings about melanoma. So I need a hat. (Or should that be an hat, as in ‘an hotel’?) But what kind of hat? Not a baseball cap, surely, because that would be absurd for a father with young children who have baseball caps welded to their heads in the summer. They woiuld think I was trying to be ‘cool’, which in their eyes would be very Sad. [Note: ‘sad’ in this context is a technical term signifying behaviour too embarrassing and pathetic for words.]

Two years ago I bought a Tilley hat which is wonderful. It has brass ventilation holes and floats if it should fall off during white-water rafting and the brim can be snapped up to make one look like an Australian crocodile-hunter etc. But there are several problems with it from my point of view. (a) It’s a bit heavy in really hot weather; (b) I’m not the white-water rafting type; and (c) it’s not quite the thing to wear on days when one has to put on a suit and meet bankers and other men in suits (which, for my sins, I sometimes have to do).

So, in a fit of madness the other day, I went out and bought a Panama hat.

This is an echt-Panama too — the kind you can roll up and put in a tube while awaiting embarkation to some colonial outpost. It’s wonderfully light and comfortable, but…

The problem is that the Panama’s not really my kind of hat either. In fact, it’s the kind of headgear my grandfather would have worn in the summer if there had been any summers in Ireland. (Grandpa wore a homburg in the winter, as befitted a dominant male of his status.) So what to do? Hmmm… Perhaps I’ll seek the advice of my friend Quentin, who has almost as little hair as me. Perhaps he has a secret hat habit?

Afterthought: of course it could be that what’s really going on is that I am turning into my grandfather…. Deep waters, eh?