Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why I Don't Try On Hats: Trust Me, It's Ridiculous

Photo credit from Boden, here, because I thought of this while staring at this fedora.

I don't try on hats in stores.

The hat rack is always sort of seductively inviting. It doesn't matter that you don't look good in hats, the rack whispers, full of little cloche caps and fedoras and big floppy straw hats that would look right at home at the Kentucky Derby, it doesn't matter. Come. Try us on, Katie. Try us.

I don't, though. And it's not because I don't look good in hats.

It's because all hats, everywhere, have head lice.


Does that seem unreasonable? Well, that's because it is, and it's certainly not true. But I have this incredibly clear memory of being at a store when I was a kid, I think it was a Bergner's which will mean absolutely nothing to anyone not from the Midwest, trying on the adult hats while my mother looked for something nearby. Undoubtedly just to get me to stop wasting time, Mom turned and said, "Don't try on the hats, Katie. You never know if the person who tried it on before you had lice."

She said this, and this is important, exactly once.

It wasn't a fixation of hers; in fact, it's likely my mother doesn't even remember this conversation. I jumped like someone had touched me with a hot frying pan, though, and put the hat back on the rack and ever since then I do not try on hats.

I go shopping with my friend Sarah (either of them; I actually have two entirely separate friends named Sarah, both of whom look incredible in hats) and watch her (either of her) try on the hats and am jealous both that I would just look like a fish wearing a bow tie if I tried to put a hat on and also that they can try on hats with impunity.

Meanwhile I stand to the side, staring at the fabric on a particularly cute cloche, imagining it crawling with tiny bugs I can't see 

You know what, though? They are covered in tiny bugs.

So is everything else. Tiny bugs called bacteria. That idea, hilariously, does not bother me.

The incredibly minute chance there might be head lice on them, though? I am fixated on that possibility to the exclusion of all the things that are actually likely to happen. The same way I'm convinced that every bridge will collapse underneath me, no matter how Jason explains that bridge cables don't just "go snap".

Nope. All bridge-cables are made of silly string and all hats have head lice, because my mom made a comment about hats something like twenty years ago.

Never let it be said I don't remember anything.

I just don't remember useful things.


  1. I'm not gonna lie, this fear has occurred to me. I'm pretty sure I pushed the thought from my mind in a violent way. Because my life would be nothing without trying on hats. NOTHING!

    For real though, wtf is Bergner's?

    1. It's, like, a department store? Like Macy's, but crappier. Or like JCPenney's, but classier. Somewhere in the middle there. I have clear memories of it being the first department store I ever stepped foot in that had TWO FLOORS. It was very exciting.


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