She Might Be Right

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hat In Hand

I stood there hat in hand, humbled by the lack of respect given to my fashion sense. That hat, incidentally, was the product of years of honing and updating. But not for a second does she realize the time I spend on style.

It could be that she doesn’t care as much about clothes as she lets on. It could be that she just disagrees with my style and thus disavows its existence. Or it could be that I haven’t said a word to her about fashion (never will for that matter) and she’s making the natural assumption that I haven’t given it the first thought.

I have. Given it a thought, that is. Too many thoughts for that matter.

Mind you, I rarely wear any shirt other than the first one that touches my hand when I reach into my closet each morning. I use the same method for selection pants, which is what I call matching tops and bottoms.

I still haven’t figured out whether I’m supposed to match the color of my socks to my pants, my shoes or the bedroom ceiling despite the fact that she leaves me daily voice mails with the correct answer to that conundrum.

And stating that I’m colorblind is one part self-suspicion and one part cover story.

But baseball hats … ladies, those hats that sit piled on the top shelf of the hall closet are the beginning and end of a man’s wardrobe.

The hat in my hand was a Washington Nationals’ blue chapeau with no padding (keeping the lines close to the form of my head) and a hint of red color outlining the white script ‘W’ on the front.

Color-wise, I have no idea what shirts of mine that this hat matches. But it does match everything that I stand for in sports wearables and that’s something that I’m going to have to lay out for her before our next discussion about my baseball hat.

Rule No. 1 is that you can’t wear the home team’s hat in your town. Anyone can wear a home team’s hat. You can’t tell the fan from the office co-worker who hasn’t gone to a game in the past five years, but suddenly considers himself the authority when the home team is in first place late in the season. Don’t ever put yourself in a position to be mistaken for a bandwagen jumper. It’s like wearing last year’s fashion.

You can’t wear two items from the same team at the same time. If you go out in public with a Mets hat and a Mets t-shirt, you look like you think you have a chance to make the team, that you’re just waiting for the call from management and you’re ready the instant it comes. It would be like wearing Prada shoes and a Prada t-shirt … like you happened to be in the right place when the Prada truck tipped over.

You also can’t wear two items from different teams at the same time. You look confused. If your hat endorses the Cowboys and your shirt endorses the Redskins, you shriek that you hate yourself. Pick a team for the day and move on.

You can’t wear the hat of a team that’s not local but is hopelessly popular nationally. This would be akin to showing up at a party wearing the same dress as every other woman. Every woman knows that you want to be up to date with style, but freshly unique. It’s the same tightrope walked by men shopping for hats. I love LeBron James, but I’d never be caught dead in a LeBron James jersey.

There are actually many, many more rules that I have to keep in mind whenever I pick out a hat. But I fear that her eyes will glaze over when I get to the second rule and by this point she’ll be throwing herself out of a moving vehicle.

So I realize that I won’t ever tell her about the detailed thought process that went into buying this Washington Nationals hat … the perfect hat for me: the team isn’t doing well so no one wears their stuff; I don’t have a Nationals shirt; I don’t live in the District of Columbia; and LeBron james doesn’t play for the team. That is a convergence of ideal fashion on one man’s skull.

I could tell that she didn’t realize any of those finer points when I asked her what she thought of my new hat.

“It’s kind of wild,” was her first comment. Her eyes locked on my forehead and I couldn’t remove them once I had asked her opinion. “That ‘W’ is all squiggly and all over the place.”

This is something that never crossed my mind in the hat store. When I saw the letter in question, I immediately locked in to the symbol of Washington baseball, not fearing that I was about to purchase something that looked like it was designed by a Satanic cult.

“Wild? Do you know what team the ‘W’ is for?” I asked.

“Team? ‘W’ … I thought it stood for something women’s … like a women’s league of some sort. I mean the script is swirly like a women’s handwriting, it could …”

At that point I took off my hat. I did not put it back on as I walked to the hall closet where I now stand.

The fashion statement that I bought last month took a good 15 minutes of in-store time to purchase. (Don’t laugh ladies, that’s 14 more minutes that I spent on that than any other article of clothing in my closet.) But it took her just a moment to make me feel silly wearing it.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to go back to the hat store. Shopping might sooth this man’s shattered nerves.


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