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April 18, 2014
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The hat quest


I bought a Yankee cap before the game last weekend and wore it on my first trip to the new stadium. It seemed fitting. Looking around the crowd, there were more people in hats than not. It was a great afternoon game. Sold out crowd. Shady seats. A couple of home runs. The Yankees won. Couldn’t have gotten much better. After the game I slipped the Yankee cap on a door handle and wondered whether I’d wear it ever again.

It’s been awhile since my first Yankee cap: a fitted maroon one that I wore low, brim crushed, keeping my eyes in shadow. That was in middle school, and I wore it almost every day. At the time I played baseball, so it made significantly more sense.

Over the years since then, I’ve tried to be a hat person. It’s never really worked out for longer than a week or so. A few great ones were ruined by the rain. I remember vividly leaving one on the overhead compartment of a bus. I’ve left at least one on an airplane.

Four years or so ago, in the summer, I tried a brightly colored baseball cap with the brim flattened and up. It was a sharp hat, with a nautical theme brim and a big ship on the front. I got many compliments on it at the hipster Williamsburg pool parties I was attending at the time. I never liked it as much as I wanted to. It sits in my closet.

It’s funny, right? One only seems to lose the things we like and wear often. The things we are lukewarm about tend to stick around for ages. I have a similar relationship with sunglasses, but I’ll save those stories for another day.

I’ve wanted a simple straw hat for a very long time. On the street, I enviously pass guys in great hats and wonder where they got them. I’ve owned a few over the years but none totally fit. There seems to be something of a disconnect between my taste in hats and how they look on my head.

I lamented this to a friend of mine after complimenting him on his summer straw hat. He told me that I had to head over to the Goorin Brothers Hat store on Bleeker Street.

One Saturday afternoon, Emily and I wandered over to see about getting new hats. The store was busy when we got there. There were hats and people everywhere. I started browsing styles that I liked. I tried one. It didn’t seem to fit. I tried a smaller size. Not great. Maybe I just have an oddly shaped head. A saleswoman came up to me.

“Do you need help?” she asked.

“Yes, is this the right size for me?” I asked.

“It’s not the right hat,” she said, “You have a long head so you need a flatter hat. This one is too pointed; it’s not complimenting your face.”

I paused as she got a different one off of the shelf, one that I would have never picked. She was absolutely right, though, it looked better. I bought the hat and wore it for the next few days.

And there I was, finally, with a hat that I could feel good about, a hat to enjoy. This was it. My hat problem was solved. I’d just go back to this store whenever I needed a hat. They had hats for all seasons there. Nothing can stop me now.

A week later, I sat down to see Spiderman in 3D. I took off the hat and placed it on the ground next to my seat. “Don’t forget it,” I remember thinking.

After the film I got up, smiling and laughing with friends as I left the theater, leaving that problem-solving hat amongst the spilt popcorn, never to be seen of or heard of again.