Tuesday, November 15, 2011


On Dining with One's Hat On

I often see men or boys dining with their hats on, usually baseball caps, sometimes worn backwards. The sight shocks and horrifies me. When I was a boy, if I had ever sat down to a family meal with my cap on, my mother would have knocked it off my head and boxed my ears to boot. When I was a boy, did I say? My mother is now ninety-one years old, and I still wouldn't dare to sit down to eat with a hat on in her presence. Hats off in the house—that was, and is, the rule.

Autres temps, autres moeurs. I read in Tighe Hopkins, An Idler in Old France (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1899), p. 93:
In the eighteenth century (and within eighteen years of the nineteenth) you sit down to table with your hat on—removing it only if your health is toasted by "a person of quality"...

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