Monday, October 31, 2011

My Hat - the Fedora

Let me just start off by telling all the desi's out there my hat is NOT, repeat, NOT a cowboy hat, that is an entirely different type of hat all together.  Just b/c the hat has a big rim and is brown colored does not make it a cowboy hat.

Anyways, I got the urge to make this post after I was told how I should wear and handle my hat one too many times and frankly, I don't care how you think it should be worn or handled.  If you think that is the right way, get your own hat and deal with it your own way.

I want to discuss the SEVERAL reasons I started wearing my hat because I didn't just have one set necessity or desire to fulfill in my mind when I was buying it.  Judging by the title and picture, you may have already guessed that I wear a fedora, an "Indiana Jones" fedora to be exact.  While deciding to get and wear this kind of hat was kind of on a whim, the decision to wear one was in my mind for a while.  Why I decided on this kind of hat also was in part to that thought process.

One reason was my faith.  People always look at Muslim women and say their oppressed and such b/c they're made to cover their heads but in reality, both genders should cover their heads for reasons of modesty and so forth, it is just a little stricter for women for such and such reasons that require another blog post at another time but I digress.  Therefore, I thought it would be good to start following that more proper dress code as well as another step in the direction of becoming a better Muslim.

Another reason which stemmed from the first was that I wanted a hat that looked nice and not totally out of place as well.  I've seen Muslims who wear the different prayer caps and such but I wanted one that fit me and what I liked.  The fedora was also a popular hat in the first half of the 20th century and so part of the culture; in fact, it has made a bit of a resurgence, sometimes in more modern form, among a number of people I've seen around on campus and in the city and not just on older people.  I also like the classy look and I've stated before that if I could wear a suit a lot more often and not look perpetually overdressed, I probably would.

The third reason I believe developed from the second in that I rationalized good uses for it.  I got this hat in the summer of 2010 and I used to work a lot in the sun.  Therefore, I thought it would be good to have a hat to get some shade while I walk around.  I would find out later that it was also good against other elements of the weather such as rain.  Of course, if that's where my list of reasons stopped, I might have just gone with a baseball cap but its not where it stops.  Also, a baseball cap isn't as good against the rain.

The fourth reason is of course obvious from the brand of hat I got; I really like the Indiana Jones series and of course Harrison Ford is the man.  He made the hat an icon and not something that was a mundane, average piece of attire as it was in reality at the time.  I thought it would be cool if I could wear that hat in normal day without the premise of being a commie-nazi fighting archaeologist and still rock it.

I feel like that sums up how I feel about it and I feel like I've accomplished many times over what I intended for it.  I receive many compliments for it, at times from total strangers too.  I'm not naive though, I'm sure many do it out of mockery but that's fine because I wear it because I like it and I have established it as part of my persona.  I don't think many people can recognize me now without it and many people use it to find me in crowds.

I was of course reluctant at first.  I've been pretty hesitant on many things throughout my life and I still am many times but I've gained confidence through the years as I've interacted with others more and so forth.  The one time I remember talking with friends about making a lifestyle or appearance change, they said that people would care only for so long before it became a norm.  Of course, somethings are more weird than others and are harder to overcome; one of my friends told me of a friend he had who used to put Elmer's glue in his hair everyday and that perplexed people for the longest time.  People still do joke around about me and my hat too but are more casual about it than before and don't care much otherwise.

The last push for me to wear the hat finally, I think, was one conversation I had with a co-worker and friend a day before I started wearing it.  I actually wore a baseball cap that day, possibly as a fruitless attempt to acclimate myself and others to me covering my head before I put on a fedora.  Alternatively, I may have been gauging people's reactions to it which were comparably tame to non-existent in comparison to the fedora.  Anyways, I asked my friend if it'd be a good idea to wear a fedora around everywhere or some question like that; he was quite supportive of the idea and said there would be nothing wrong with it.

There on out, I've worn the hat as normally as I've worn shoes or pants wherever I've gone.  The one thing that does get to me though is etiquette and I've always been here or there on it depending on the company or how I felt about the situation.  I take it off when I'm in a casual place and I'm gonna sit down or spend a lot of time there like studying or eating or hanging out at home.  When I meet a non-Muslim teacher or boss or some person of import, I take it off.  However, if I'm in a gathering of Muslims where there are some people wearing it, I will likewise keep it on and for a religious person of import I would keep it on as the etiquette changes for Islam.

Before I finish, I just wanna explain my opening statement because it's really something.  Most all non-desi people I meet know the reference to Indiana Jones and some of my friends jokingly call me Indy because of it.  However, most all non-desi people I meet instantly make some reference about me wanting to be a cowboy or something along that line.  It reminds me of my landlady who went to Egypt and said the people there would make one or two cultural references, the same ones every time, to her being American and it eventually ticked her off.  I'm more relaxed about it but its still a little irksome if I think about it meticulously because it isn't a cowboy hat; cowboy hats are an entirely different kind of hat and I've actually seen one of my desi friend's 2 cowboy hat's from when he used to live out west.

Now hopefully I'm not so weird anymore.