I’m a Hat Person Now

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Photo: John Rawlings

Friends and family, I am writing to announce the beginning of an exciting new phase in my life. Effectively immediately, I’m a hat person. Please update your records.

This stylish news may come as a shock to those who have known me in my former capacity as a frizzy-haired sweatpants enthusiast and abuser of giveaway 5K fun run T-shirts. Others who can recall my failed 2011 stint as a scarf-wearing eccentric may believe there is cause for alarm. I hear your concern, and I hope that this letter will serve to answer any questions you might have as we take the first step, together, toward the latest expression of my most authentic self.

History has known a great many hat-wearing mavericks, from John Paul II in his stately papal mitre to Tavi Gevinson in her runway-obstructing bow. I am proud to stand tall, in this recently acquired trilby, and claim my place among their ranks. Over the course of this latest quarter of soul-searching and personal growth, I’ve scoured the world for the finest chapeaus befitting of hat-wearing’s time-honored tradition. Look in my closet and you’ll find rows upon rows of tasteful toppers. Soon, you’ll find them atop my head. Nothing else has changed, but as I said before, I’m a hat person now. I am going to start wearing hats.

Allow me to clarify the inevitable confusion. To the hatless layman, hat might conjure images of baseball caps and knitted beanies. Though I’ll continue to sport such time-tested staples — albeit with my own personal twist! — I will also implement less-common varieties like the homburg, the newsboy, the deerstalker, and the cloche. Do not be alarmed if I arrive to brunch in a suede cowboy hat, or to dinner in a tiny top hat affixed to a headband. Nothing has changed but the hat on my head. I’m a hat person now. This is the new normal. Please do not mention it. I request we proceed with business as usual.

As with any transition of this magnitude, I understand the adjustment will take some time. At first you may not recognize my face behind the subtle mesh veil of my newly purchased fascinator. Even I myself am sometimes taken aback as I glimpse my own reflection in the window of a parked Aston Martin. Could that chiseled visage beneath the upturned brim of a Breton really be my own? I assure you, it is. Ciao, darling — I’m a hat person now! Hold the leash of my pet panther as I browse this Taschen book on Fabergé eggs.

Some say that sudden drastic changes in personal appearance are a sign of inner turmoil and to that I say, “Phooey!” I’ve always said phooey; it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve recently begun expressing my most authentic self via the addition of unique headpieces. This is who I’ve always been — a person born to wear hats, to write my own translations of Madame Bovary as gifts to my lovers (men and women), and to correct people when they pronounce Au Bon Pain incorrectly. Take my mother-of-pearl cigarette holder as I browse through this flea-market bin of human teeth and Anaïs Nin paperbacks. I keep all my old receipts under bell jars in the kitchen of my prewar apartment. I’ve lived here since the ‘70s! The rent is only $200/month! Can you believe it? You better believe it — I’m a hat person now! No, you’re acting weird.

Since my debut as a confident hat-wearing hat person, I will admit, a few small things have changed. For one, I’ve noticed that time slows to a montagelike pace and the heads of strangers turn when I do simple, common tasks like walk down the street or carry the corpse of my late cat to the taxidermist for preservation. When I leave New York City, the dirt paths of small towns seem to whisper things like, “You’ve got moxie!” and “You’re too big for this small town!” Suffice to say, it’s been an adjustment, but nonetheless, the hat-wearing lifestyle has been treating me well. I’ve never been better! I’m fine! Really!

I thank you, friends and family, for sticking with me during this thrilling journey to hat personhood. I know, inevitably, that the less enlightened amongst you will still taunt me from time to time by asking things like, “Oh, is that a new hat? Are you wearing hats now?”

To this, I say, “Yes, why? Does it look weird? Should I take it off?”