Here in Texas it seems a lot of the men and many women like to wear hats or caps, but for some reason I am not a big fan of headgear, although, on a sunny day, something on the head is definitely good. Maybe it’s a rebellion against my years of military service when I had to wear a hat or cap anytime I was in uniform and outdoors.
The most popular headgear in Texas seems to be the ball cap, usually with some sort of logo. We Vietnam veterans like to wear ours, often proudly proclaiming our service. And—of course—there’s the cowboy or cowgirl hat. A Stetson or a straw, depending on how fancy one wants. It’s a Texas thing, but you also see them in many other western states, including New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and other places.
Caps can be a status symbol. After all, if you wear a “John Deere” cap that means you have a big green tractor double-parked somewhere, doesn’t it? Or an NRA cap means you have a firearm— if not on your person at least close by. (Bang!! Don’t mess with Texas!)
I have a couple of desert tan “boonie hats” that I like. They shade my neck and my face and head. What’s nice about the boonie hat is you can wad it up and stick it in a pocket when you aren’t wearing it. This floppy hat may have originated earlier, but I remember them in Vietnam—service green or olive drab to match our jungle fatigues.
One problem with headgear is what do you do with your hat or cap when you go indoors? Some guys never take theirs off. Not my style. If I go indoors I have to go bareheaded. Again, I suppose that’s the military influence. If I sit down to eat, the hat or cap has to come off.
My late father-in-law wore a hat–one of those narrow-brimmed styles, very chic. It used to be just about every man wore a hat. At some point that fashion went away. I guess that helps me with my choice. If you don’t mind, I’ll just go bare headed when I can. It may not be a Texas thing, but it’s my thing.
WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.