Melissa Powell Gay. Mr. G and the Pacific Coast.

Hats off for respect

l love a man who wears a hat. A man wearing a hat badly, not so much.

Recently, my husband and I watched a re-broadcast of In Performance at the White House, the episode in which some of the nation’s most talented folk and country singers serenade the President and First Lady.

Lyle Lovett performer. Playing guitar.Dressed in his usual made-to-measure style, Lyle Lovett stepped up to the microphone on the East Room stage and sang his western love song, “Cowboy Man.” I’m betting he checked his hat with the butler at the front door because, unless he’s portraying a scurrilous lawyer low-life (The Bridge), you’ll never see this Texas gentleman wearing his John B. Stetson indoors, especially at the White House. Why? ’Cause his mama said so. In his song “Don’t Touch My Hat”, he mentions her lesson:

My mama told me

Son to be polite,

Take your hat off

 When you walk inside

Later during the show, the man from Massachusetts walked on stage sporting what haberdashers call an open road rancher. Where was his stylist?  His mama?

Whatever happened to the practice of removing one’s hat to convey recognition and respect? And, boys, learning good hat etiquette isn’t hard. On Emily Post’s website there is a simple list of where and when a man should doff his hat, with “in someone’s home” at the top. (And there’s a list for the ladies, too.)

In these times of popular music performances, a cowboy hat, or any other kind of lid, worn on stage in a football stadium, a roadhouse or bar, OK, I get it. But the White House? Hear the sportscaster’s plea for common sense, “Come on, man,” and show a little courtesy.

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