I was at Menardâ€™s the other day. For those of you not aware of what that is, it is a Midwestern version of Home Depot or Loweâ€™s except for slightly less classy. It isnâ€™t that those two establishments are particularly upscale, but Menardâ€™s is slightly less so. That being said, I saw something there that shocked me. I was walking along doing my shopping, and I saw a man out of the corner of my eye. He was an older gentleman. This alone wasnâ€™t striking. He was wearing jean shorts, a t-shirt, and suspenders. Suspenders are different, but once again, not striking. It was what he was wearing on his head that caught me off guard. He was wearing a top hat. It was a large stove pipe top hat that was brown and a little beat up, and it just made me pause. Why??????
When I had time to get myself back together, I had to ask a few obvious questions. What age do you have to reach to wear shorts, t-shirt, suspenders, and a top hat? This gentleman may have been around seventy or so, but I am not sure. Many people I have already told the story to claim it isnâ€™t about age, but not giving a shit. That is very few shits to give. I am not the classiest dresser or most refined in my tastes, but I just canâ€™t see it. Does he feel it makes him a really uptown sort of fella? It was just weird in my mind I have to admit. It isnâ€™t so much about not giving a shit as just having some sort of strange perception that makes you think this truly is a good look.
I also managed to create a theory as to how this came to be. He was with his wife. They were bickering a bit over some of the selections they were making while shopping. Perhaps there relationship is a bit strained after many years together, and this thought lead to another thought as I know a bit about bickering couples. This man may have reached for another hat while putting together his daily ensemble. His hand just happened to brush past his top hat. His wife happened to see this action and in a somewhat shrill voice said, â€œYou arenâ€™t wearing that fucking thing out, are you?â€ (I have no idea why I imagine the old lady so profane, but it may have something to do with latent sexism.) At this point, the old man simply said, â€œHell yes I am.â€ (Okay, he is profane to. Maybe I am just against old people.) He put on the hat and walked out the door so both parties could stew and be shitty to each other the rest of the day over the hat. That seems crazy, but for anyone who knows a couple that likes a good bickering session, it makes perfect sense. (Okay, I am not sexist or ageist. I just assume these particular people are crazy.)
The point of the story is this. If you stare too long, you will get return looks at which point quickly diving into an isle makes you look crazy. That is how it spreads.
Would a top hat make a soul patch look classy? I canâ€™t think so.