Thursday, April 12, 2007
Having purchased a second hand kayak for negotiating our small, shallow but potentially treacherous river here in Norfolk, I am assailed by Nige, with his usual flare for controversy, about my choice of craft. I should, he says, have bought a canoe because a man can wear a hat in a canoe and possibly also a cardigan to go with the pipe he is smoking. A kayak, he asserts, is not appropriate for a real man. Nige then shoots himself in both feet by discovering two hats specifically made for Kayak Man - here and here. The first is, of course, just a baseball cap with the word 'kayak' on the front. I love, incidentally, the 'back view'. The second is more interesting in that it claims to be 'fully constructed' and is possessed of 'dark green under-brim, six ventilating eyelets, chinstrap and cord.' What more could a man ask? Well, in the long run, he could ask for a resolution of the hat problem. Men and hats, afloat or not, just don't work any more. I resolved long ago never again to buy a hat on holiday, a resolution that has hardened into a determination never to buy a hat at all. Once an emblem of dignity and social status, now hats advertise only affectation or an oppressive sportiness. What can be done to restore the male hat to its proper place?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 2:01 pm