Hats off at the table

August 19, 2016


This story can be found in the book, The Majorettes are Back in Town

Bless her heart, my long time friend, Fancy Faye is out there in the dating world again. The stunning beauty is smart and successful, but totally out of luck when it comes to love. She’s rather picky, which can be a good thing, I guess, but she recently dumped a perfectly fine man because he sat down in a restaurant and didn’t remove his baseball cap.

“I’d already decided it was peculiar of him to wear his cap when he picked me up for our date, since the sun was setting in about ten minutes, but to keep it on while we were eating was unthinkable.”

I have to agree with Fancy. I was raised to believe that men wearing hats indoors, and especially at the table, was the main reason Sodom and Gomorrah was fried, scattered, smothered and chunked.

I remember the occasion when our extended family gathered around the dinner table and we instinctively bowed our heads and waited for Granddaddy to pray. Silence. Nothing. We opened one eye, then the other and looked down the table. Granddaddy, who was in his late 90's, stared -- no, glared, at first-cousin-once-removed Keith, and finally said, "I'll begin when Keith removes his hat." Keith, who was in his mid 60's jumped and fumbled for his cap like a scared little boy and finally flipped it off onto his lap. Feeling the long forgotten sting of a reprimand from an elder, Keith and the other grown men at the table did their best to stifle their laughter, but the message was definitely received -- we don't wear hats at the table.

My own sons pitched a fit when I told them they had to remove their caps inside someone's home (mine), yet the rules stated I could leave my cute little navy straw summer hat with the fluffy white band perched on my dainty head because, well . . . because I'm a lady (not that I walk around my own house wearing a hat. That would be silly, and besides, would totally cover up the tiara).

In order to prove my point, I enlisted the help of my fourteenth-cousin-twice-removed, Emily Post, who shocked me with her new modern view.

According to E.P., as we like to call her, men may leave their "fashion" hats (think Don Draper) on in public buildings like post offices, train stations (when was the last time we dashed through a train station?) or hotel lobbies and elevators, but must remove them at a long list of locations, including restaurants.

The new twist is that now, Emily has a separate set of guidelines for the sportier and more casual baseball cap, and lo and behold, ladies are held to the same rules for caps.

The maven of manners says both men and women should remove their baseball caps when being introduced to someone, in a private home, during the playing of the national anthem (I'm really big on that one too) in all public buildings, but especially, most definitely, absolutely, at the table.

Well, I'll be John Brown! Fancy Faye and I attended a little league game last spring and she wore the most adorable seersucker monogramed baseball cap and didn't think at all about removing it for the national anthem because of being the fairer sex and all. Besides, her ponytail was pulled through the back opening of the cap and anchored with a bow, so it would have required disassembling her hair-do to get the cap off. Our Southern love of hair accessories and swishy ponytails wasn't taken into consideration by Northern cousin Emily Post, so what are we to do now?

I'll stick to wearing a baseball cap only when I'm working in the yard or throwing out the first pitch at a Braves game. As for Fancy, now that she knows she's broken the rule too, she may just have to give her gentleman friend another chance. My hat's off to her.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Discover more from Leslie Anne Tarabella

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading