So, I bought a hat. It’s the kind of hat that other people can buy, and when they wear it they look quite cool. That’s cool-as-in-stylish, not cool-as-in-temperature, since it’s a hat designed to be worn in cold weather. And the coolness is also relative, since it’s cold-temperature wear, and cold-temperature wear is always, by definition, less cool than other kinds of clothing. When you wear cold-temperature clothing, you advertise to the world that here is a person who is sensibly dressed for the season, and sensibleness is inherently uncool. Or, at least, it is to me. It’s possible I may have been scarred for life by being forced to wear a jumble-sale parka to school several winters in a row as a kid. Or perhaps I have an unknown genetic connection to the good people of Newcastle.
Anyway, the point is, I bought a hat, and it’s of the kind that can sometimes look quite stylish on other people. It’s not a dorky hat, not even the kind of dorky hat worn with ironic intent by ball-achingly trendy hipsters. Just an ordinary, unselfconscious hat. The kind of hat that, when it is worn by some men, says “Hey, check me out people, I’m a hat. You might not even notice me, but I nonetheless help to make the guy whose head I’m sitting on look cool and stylish in an effortless, understated way. See, he looks like he’s doing something important in a thrusting and athletic manner, doesn’t he? He’ll probably start jogging in a bit, and he won’t be all blotchy and snotty when he stops.” A hat, not to put too fine a point on it, that is not altogether unlike this one:
And yet somehow this hat, when placed on my head, is not effortless, or understated. It does not call to mind thrusting athleticism. It is not stylish, or cool. On me it looks like a furry condom.
For a start, it’s too big. This leaves me with three equally unsatisfactory options. I can leave a section of hat unfilled with head at the top, which, to extend the condom simile, makes it look like I failed to expel the air from the tip before I put it on. Plus people might assume I was trying to copy Dappy:
A second possibility is to roll the hat up more at the bottom than was intended by the designers. This makes it fit snugly over the top of my head, but has the unfortunate side effect of – returning to the condom simile – making it look like I bought Magnum XLs in a fit of overconfidence, instead of the Little Tigers that would have been more appropriate. The third alternative is to wear it rolled up to the normal extent and pull it down, but this means it covers most of my face. Plus I end up looking uncannily like Pootle:
In fact, I think my Pootle-resemblance is probably key. Even after 19 months of effort, I’m still basically a round person. Compared to a year and a half ago, I may be wearing jeans that are three sizes smaller, and shirts that are two sizes smaller, but that doesn’t affect my underlying body type. That’s really what lies at the heart of the problem, I think. Hats of this type look cool on people with firm, angular jawlines. I don’t have a firm, angular jawline, and I’m never going to have one, no matter how thin I become. I’m always going to have a little, round face on a little round head, and on people like me a hat like this is always going to look like a furry condom.
So this leaves me with an important decision to make: would I rather freeze my knackers off when the frosts come (and that’s one change I’ve noticed with the missing flab – I really feel the cold), or would I rather go out in public looking like I’m worried about my ears contracting a sexually transmitted infection…?
It occurs to me that my google record may look rather strange for the period of writing this post. What to make of someone who starts off searching for pictures of men’s hats, then for Dappy, then for condoms (and repeatedly for extra small condoms, looking for a named brand, and then a site that makes it clear the named brand is for the less-excessively-endowed gentleman), then for Skins (because of the character in that who wears a woolly hat, who I was wondering about including a picture of) then for a character from a stop-motion kids TV show of the 1970s, and finally Rastamouse (because I was idly wondering what a current stop-motion kids shows is like)? To any authorities that may have been paying attention: this post was why.*
* – Why, yes, I am currently being plagued with paranoid thoughts, as part of a wider downturn in my mental state! How ever did you guess? (This is the cause of the slowdown in posting, too, but I’m basically ok, so there’s no need to worry. Unless you’re feeling paranoid like me, of course, in which case you won’t be able to stop worrying…)