Thoreau said, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” I, on the other hand, avoid any enterprise that requires a new hat.  Some women look adorable in hats, batting their eyelashes coquettishly under the brim. I look as if I’m balancing either a pizza box or an alien spacecraft on my head.   

Sadly, for someone who looks peculiar in hats, I have a severe case of hat lust. In department stores I can’t resist browsing in the hat department. Just last week I spied a woven beauty with a black band. It whispered to me: “Put me on your head, and you’ll be the cutest little trick this side of the Mason-Dixon.”

I said, “No. I’ve been burned before. Hats and I don’t get along.”

The hat continued to cajole. “But you’ve never tried on me before. This time it’ll be different.  Look at me. I’m your hat soul mate.”    

My heart raced with wild hope but as soon as I perched it on my head and gazed into the mirror, my relationship with the hat went rapidly downhill.

“Maybe if you tilt me at a rakish angle?” the hat said.

I did as I was told and the hat shrieked, “Even worse! Take me off before anyone sees or I’ll never find a home.”

To compound my difficulties, I’m in a mixed marriage. My husband looks dashing in hats and has an entire hat wardrobe ranging from an Indiana Jones-style fedora to a Greek fisherman cap. When we started dating I tried to conceal my hat deficiencies from him as long as possible, but then we went on a beach trip together. While we were browsing in the souvenir shop he said, “You should pick out a sun hat to wear.”

“No, thank you.”

“How about this one?” He selected a seemingly harmless straw hat. “You’ll look great.”

“No, Please. I beg of you.”

Before I could stop him, the dreaded hat was on my head. He drew back, surprised. “Whoa. Definitely not that one.”

It was confession time. “I’m sorry,” I said. “None of these hats will work for me. I’m hat-challenged.”

He picked up a newsboy cap. “Not even this one?”

“Especially that one. Trust me. There are some sights the eye can’t unsee.” 

He married me despite my affliction, but he’s never asked me to try on a hat again.   

Yes, it’s a disadvantage not being able to wear hats.  I can’t go on an African safari because I look ridiculous in a pitch helmet, and I’ll never be a royal princess because I look even worse in fascinators than I do in hats. Whenever I don a fascinator it looks as if I have a fancy beribboned growth protruding from my head, one that begs to be surgically removed.

Then again, I never suffer from hat hair or bee-infested bonnets. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll find the perfect hat for me, but in the mean time, don’t look for me at any Derby Day parties.

This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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