Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Say it ain`t so, Bill!

posted Mon, 13 Dec 2004

Harpo and I saw a movie yesterday that prompted me to wonder when the rules had changed about wearing a hat indoors. The movie was “Lightning in a Bottle,” a filmed blues concert, although I don’t count Steve Tyler as a blues musician, but then I am not a music scholar, so who am I to say?

We saw the movie because it was the only one we could agree on – I wanted to rent something and watch it at Harpo’s house, but he wanted to go to a movie theater. (Actually, he said his house was too messy. I was willing to give it a pass because I have been making a list of movies I have been wanting to see, but I was unable to convince him.)

Back to the hat. Bill Cosby shows up when Ruth Brown and Natalie Cole are singing. He is wearing a baseball hat. He is indoors. He removes the hat, then puts it back on. That is what confused me.

I thought gentlemen did not wear hats when they were indoors. Did someone change the rules on this?

I also thought that gentlemen removed their hats outdoors when the national anthem was played. I have been to baseball games here and seen people not only keep their hats on but also remain seated and keep talking during the national anthem.

That bugs me.

At my neighborhood Fourth of July parade last year, I was standing next to a boy who was about 12. When the national anthem started, he kept his hat on. I leaned over and whispered to him that I thought it was customary to remove one’s hat for the national anthem. He whipped it off immediately. I wasn’t trying to shame him – I felt bad for the poor kid that no one had ever taught him the right thing to do.

I just googled to see if there has been a rule change. Here’s what I learned about hats and the national anthem from Straight Dope:

“Emily Post, in her 1922 book Etiquette, says, ‘It is not necessary to add that every American male citizen stands with his hat off at the passing of the 'colors' and when the national anthem is played. If he didn't, some other more loyal citizen would take it off for him.’”

Next time I go to a ball game, I might be a “more loyal citizen.”

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