When my daughter was little, she spent at least a day a week at my parents’ house where the book Go, Dog. Go!, by P. D. Eastman, was a big hit, at least with my dad. “Do you like my hat?” is a recurring line in this charming easy reader. Dad loved to put on a ball cap and then say to Hannah, “Do you like my hat?” Then they would both giggle and recite the response, “I do not.”
Hats were the subject of an exhibit that Andrew and I saw at the Peabody Essex Museum. The show was called, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones. Stephen Jones is a contemporary British milliner and he designed many of the hats in the collection; hats worn by movie stars and royalty and other wealthy people. Other designers were represented as well, along with historical hats, like old-fashioned bonnets and caps, for perspective. Mostly, though, there were avant garde hats; hats made from metal, and plastic, and wood. There was a hat made of long strings of hair-like material that covered the entire body, like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. They also had the helmet worn by Darth Vader. Perhaps that was a sop for all the poor husbands being dragged around the exhibit.
I love hats in theory, but not to wear, because when you wear a hat you invariably end up with the dreaded hat-head. In old movies, women had perfectly coiffed hair that didn’t appear the least bit mussed when they removed their hats. I’m guessing that their hair must have been thoroughly lacquered. I’ve never had a good enough hair day to be willing to cement it in place.
I did buy a hat once; I wrote about it three years ago in the post, Cocktails anyone? The woman who sold it to me insisted that I promise to wear it at least twice. I’m certain that I did, after all, I promised, but I can only remember one of the times. It was at a restaurant in Cambridge called Cuchi Cuchi, where the waitresses all wear little hats called fascinators. Technically, my hat is also a fascinator. Maybe that’s why I never wear it. I’m just not that fascinating.
Meanwhile, back at the exhibit, there was a fun, interactive display. You could sit down in front of a large screen and see what a selection of hats from the exhibit would look like on your own head.
So now it’s my turn to ask, “Do you like my hat?”