(hopefully a harmless distraction from the more serious stuff – so if you are always serious don’t read any further)
I had a student who wore a baseball cap to all my classes. At first I had an emotional response – who does this guy think he is wearing a baseball cap in my class. Then I got used to it and realized – it does not matter if he wears a cap or not. As long as he does the work and acts civilly in class - who cares?
Next thing you know I was a convert. So much so that I wore a hat and got tossed out of a dinner party. My experience is that most people ignore you when you do not remove your hat at a hockey game when the national anthem is being played. But, a few get downright venomous.
Is there some evolutionary advantage of requiring a hat to be removed at certain times or in some venues?
After visiting Hair Club for Men a few years ago and realizing it was way too expensive to buy a new wig every few months and getting locked into an expensive styling plan even more frequently, I decided to go with the immensely cheaper option of wearing stylish hats for my bald spot.
Nobody expects someone to remove their wig when the national anthem is being played – so why should they have to remove their hat which is being used for the same purpose. Removal of a hat for the anthem can be done by the most morally depraved person who has no respect at all for his countries laws. What is wrong with me substituting hat removal with my hand over my heart instead?
What is wrong with me wearing my hat at dinner?
I suspect the majority of people get enraged with people not removing their hat. I am curious as to what a group of freethinkers will say.
No, I don't get enraged, angry, or upset. However, like you did at first, I do have an emotional response to a hat being worn indoors. I wonder why it's not taken off.
I realize that my response has just been conditioned into me by society and I don't see any good reason that a hat should be taken off, so I'm not going to bug anyone about it.
I don't care whether a person takes his hat off or not when a flag goes by or the national anthem is played. I'm not hung-up on symbols. I don't even care whether they put their hand on their heart. What am I, the hat & heart police?
Personally, I will take my hat off anytime I remember society wants me to, just so I don't get into a confrontation with someone. It's just not worth the hassle. Taking my hat off is no big deal to me.
Sunglasses bother me more though. I get uncomfortable talking to someone wearing sunglasses indoors because he can see my eyes and I cant see his. I wonder what he's hiding. However, if I get too uncomfortable, it's easily resolved. I just stop talking to him.
I see no reason to wear a tie, eat with a specific utensil or a lot of other arbitrary society do's and don'ts.
Shaking hands seems like a good idea because human contact is nice. However, in my old age, I'm getting more germaphobic and feel like I want to wash my hand afterward. But, I'm not yet as bad a Monk.
No one in my circle has ever tried to clink glasses, so that always seemed like a dumb thing to do.
Back to hats: Personally, I hate wearing a hat. I have sensitive skin, so even the best hat gets uncomfortable. I wear a large one in the sun to keep from getting cancer on my bald head, but it's removed immediately when out of the sun. That may be another (subconscious) reason I wonder why people wear them when they don't have to.
I think the custom of removing your hat originated during the middle ages. Probably among the knightly classes:First as a symbolic gesture of fealty for your lord as the removal of ones helmet leaves your neck vulnerable to a sword strike. Secondly as the various crusades spread across western europe (and became inextricably intertwined with the bastard religion Christianity) it became a gesture of subservience towards any authority figure. See church practices and the removal of headgear for masses, funereals, etc. I am sure the peasants were required to remove their headgear whenever the Pope was within eyesight. It was how you proved that you were willing to give up your life for Jesus.
I don't like having to take off my hat for anything as I know what it's original symbolic meaning is.
If I perceive anger being directed at me for my refusal to remove my hat I know it's because I'm not exhibiting the proper subservient behavior, a rebel and a blasphemer.
"Respect my authority!!!"
I think this is my favorite response.
Well said, I agree. Seems like some members of the atheist community want to defend that tradition. I say: no thanks. :)
There is a evolutionary explanation as to why some people get upset when some of us don't take our hats off. The action is very similar to the forms of supplication the wannabes exhibit before the alpha m/f. And everybody wants to be their friend! Exhibiting ones vital organs or neck is to signify surrender and complete obedience. (Maybe some of that nice juicy fruit will "trickle-down" down and he'll let me lick it off of his chin!!!)
In a free world where all individuals have EQUAL rights I find such cultural norms utterly unnecessary.
A judge can find you in contempt of court for wearing a hat - i was thinking that could be challenged with the hat as wig argument - although I like some of the other arguments posited here better.
Anyway came across the following video which blew me away - I probably would have wimped out and taken off my hat in this case - kudos for this guy standing his ground.
Those in authority abuse it way too much. They deserve contempt. I second the kudos for that guy. I probably would have wimped out as well.
Nice find. Apparently a variation on that happens every day - even at the Reason Rally. The atheist community is okay with this?
Similarly: was advised by the local police to "stop wearing a hoodie" (caused a bit of hilarity on Twitter; #fashionpolice). Again, no thanks. :)
Russell, you look sooo dapper in that hat! Anyone must be mad to ask you to remove it! You can where that nice hat, and any other, here, during the national anthem, and even when someone is quoting Thomas Paine.
I agree...I wear my hat at all times because I can...I have had a few people take my hat off and then smile the most cheesy grin like they have discovered something worthy...perhaps they have...they have discovered that I am a permanent skinhead and now they are so proud of their tremendous ability...of course, if I wasn't a follower of Mahatma K Ghandi, I would nonetheless provide them with a severe lesson in respect either before or after the event. Those who do insist in unwanted contact have no idea they are breaking the law and, with their limited intellectual ability, they probably don't care. At any rate, they have obviously not discovered the true value of people. A yarmulke has been morphed into a beanie by folks of the same mind who have some sense of yen to show off their primordial nature but they certainly would be excused from the room if they tried to show off other outcrops. What most people haven't discovered yet is the chimney effect and how important it is to cover your head when you sneeze.
It's just a hat. It's far more disrespectful to be tearing someone a new arsehole when you're supposed to be showing some sort of honor. It's none of my business why people do what they do unless it creates a real problem for me (and being offended isn't a problem).