Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Gentlemen, Remove Your Hats Please

Posted by Patrick on 19 Jul 2007

First off, if you are an honest-to-goodness cowboy this post does not apply to you.  I’m not talking about city boys who like country music and wear boots and stetson hats for image, I’m talking specifically about those men who live the cowboy culture — the Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana type men who make their living keeping cattle and ensuring I have some USDA prime to gnaw on when I’m hungry.  If you’re one of those men, not only do I salute you and your work, but I exempt you from the meaning of this post, as it is against the cowboy culture and I’m no cowboy.

Over the past few weeks here in Denver, I’ve been eating out probably more than I should.  I love to cook, but I’m battling a fit of laziness recently and just haven’t felt like it, so I’m in restaurants a good bit at mealtime.  One thing that I have always been frustrated by is when people sit down to eat with their hat on — etiquette be damned, I’m going down into the just down right rude category of stuff.  And I see so many people, men and women alike, observing the worst table manners, letting their kids observe the worst table manners as if they couldn’t fathom actually sitting their asscheeks on the chair, and it’s really starting to once again turn me off to this uber-casual, informal and disrespectful culture which we so frequently practice.

Last week, maybe it was this week, I can’t remember, I was at a casual family dining place for dinner.  I look around – it’s crowded with about 100 people – and I see no less than 15 hats on people sitting down stuffing their gullet.  And by hats, by and large I mean baseball caps.  There was this one group of three guys, looked like a grandpa, a father and a teenage son, all three of them wearing hats at the table.  But the kid was the worst: not only was he dressed like a wigger with that scruffy, unkempt facial hair, Mr. T-style excessive necklaces and had his tags-still-on-it hat turned about 75-degrees to the rear, but he was sitting at the table with both elbows just propped right up on it, gnawing open-mouthed on (something – doesn’t matter) and talking rather profanely and loudly into his cell phone while the 2 elder gents at this table just continued to eat in silence.

I love to think that I took 3 bullets in combat defending downright pond scum like that.  On this occasion, I intervened and had a brief conversation with these three guys, who were nothing less than shocked that someone was addressing them on manners.  I instructed them to remove their hats out of respect for those around them, instructed the kid to remove his elbows from the table and to try to hide his tongue when he’s chewing on something.  Of course they were all “fawk off” about it, which I expected, but then I laid my works-every-time-I-have-ever-used-it military stories down on the table, and after 30 seconds they were apologetic and removed their hats.

Is this a pet peeve of yours?  Or am I just the only person who cares about manners and courtesy any more?

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8 Responses to “Gentlemen, Remove Your Hats Please”

  1. leslie said

    You know, I have honestly never noticed the hats. I guess the general population is slacking off a little when it comes to manners and etiquette. But I do have a problem with the elbows on the table!

  2. Patrick said

    Thanks Leslie. maybe it’s not such a problem where you are, but here in Denver it’s such an eyesore. No wonder single men outnumber single women here by about 180,000 – of course, it could be all the illegal immigrants too.

  3. Ed Darrell said

    1. It’s more irritating to me when it’s just a baseball cap style, especially a cheap gimme cap, wholly inappropriate to the surroundings.

    2. Have you noticed how few restaurants these days have adequate places to put hats?

    3. Do you do appearances on manners?

  4. ElKid said

    Bad table manners also bug me. I have a friend who chews with his mouth open something extreme. I think next time we eat together I’m gonna say something

  5. Patrick said

    Ed. Nice thought on not having a place for hats. And what really pisses me off are hats that are worn either backwards or even more so on some canted angle between frontwards and backwards by little skinny boys with chin whiskers, baggy jeans and fake bling. We all know the truth about these misguided little boys.

    I don’t do appearances, no. I may be a purple heart veteran but I’m obnoxious enough in other areas to balance myself out.

  6. Mary said

    It does really bother me when people don’t remove their hats at the table, in fact, I just got done bugging my newphew about this. However, it also bugs me when people classify other people as “pond scum” just because they don’t like their manners.

  7. Conway Hosler said

    This wearing hats at the dinner table really gets under my skin. People tell me to get over it. I wish I could make them disappear.

  8. Mike said

    I don’t get it. I wear my hat and don’t think twice. Not to a nice meal but, to an Applebees, Outback or any fast food joint type place without a thought.

    Other than just telling me that it’s rude, give me a reason. Because “that’s the way it always has been” isn’t a good reason.

    I prefer to spend my time being annoyed with real etiquette problems, like motorists not using turn signals or throwing cigarette butts out their windows. Stuff that has real physical consequences. Or stuff that can really bother people at other tables, like my kids screaming or not sitting nicely.

    Hats? Whatever.

    And yes I do hold doors and I always say thank you and you’re welcome.

    Heck people smoke in restaurants. Smoke kills. Now that’s rude.

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