The etiquette mongers still maintain that it is disrespectful for a man to wear a hat inside.
No one knows for sure when the custom started, but it is assumed it happened about the same time and way as handshaking began. Wearing a hat indoors was not a good idea while trying to convine previous enemies of a peaceful intent.
When communities of people began to fight other communities of people, it became important to establish peace, agreements, and alliances to survive. When one warrior chief approached another for purposes of peace, they would sheath their weapon and offer an empty hand.
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In the same way, it is thought that protective headgear was removed to expose a peaceful vulnerability in order to communicate with words rather than weapons.
So, out of respect, men would remove their hats while indoors.
The authorities on manners established certain rules. Over the years it became the custom for a man to remove his hat or at least tip it even outdoors during an introduction, a greeting, a conversation, especially while speaking of someone recently departed.
Men removed their hats during funerals and while a funeral procession passed them by.
Also, a man would remove his hat and place it over his heart during the performance of the national anthem or when the flag passed by.
It was expected that a man remove his hat while in confined inside quarters, but not so necessary in large open indoor areas like malls, lobbies, hallways, airports, train and bus stations.
During the 1950's, pompadour haircuts made popular by Elvis Presley and others, made wearing hats indoors and out a little difficult. The custom began to disappear. Soon the haircut styles changed again and ball caps and cowboy hats became a part of our culture. The old rule prohibiting the wearing of hats indoors became a little confusing to the new generation.
Some people are still offended today when they see a man wearing a hat indoors. Most people don't care.
People with lots of hair and little tolerance for new customs think bald men wear hats indoors, first to disrespect, and second to hide their baldness. Now, having been bald for a few years, I can set those confused people straight.
A great deal of heat is lost through an uncovered bald head. Covered with primitive hair of a cave man, the hair helps keep the heat inside. A fully evolved modern man such as myself has no protection from the elements except the hat.
Today, the fragile sensibilities of the easily offended must take a back seat to the demands of our fragile environment. To save the massive amounts of energy lost through the top of an uncovered head, people need to wear their hats to preserve that precious energy.
The more energy we import, the more money finds its way into the hands of terrorists who hate us. It is time we keep wearing those hats indoors to reduce the energy we must import.
It's just not green to remove your hat anywhere energy might be lost requiring an adjustment of the thermostat. Saddam Hussein seemed always to hold his hat indoors and wear it outdoors.
I'm a bit of an old man, and old habits die hard. As much as I want to respect all things worthy of respect, I might, from time to time, forget the need to respect the environment for a few moments. Out of misguided respect for overly sensitive people I might just take my hat off. If you see me do that, politely remind me that this rule has been rescinded in favor of national defense. To starve the terrorists of their ill-gotten energy money which they use to destroy us, we must adopt new ways. We must protect our fragile environment and reduce energy use.
After 9-11 the world changed.
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