This was published in the Daily Oklahoman in 2001. However, after my dining experience last week, I would say it bears repeating!
My husband and I love to eat out, but eating in any of our favorite restaurants in Oklahoma or Texas means encountering one of our mutual pet peeves…guys who eat with their hats on. Now before you get riled up, let me say that my husband loves his hats. He has cowboy hats and baseball caps all over the house. And he usually grabs one as we head out the door. But he also knows more than a little bit about hat etiquette. If we’re going out to eat he leaves his hat at home or in the car.
For those of you who didn’t even know there was such a thing as hat etiquette here are a few of the basic rules I gleaned from several websites:
· When entering a building you should remove your hat.
· Always remove your hat in a restaurant.
· Take your hat off if you sit down at a table to eat.
· Tip your hat to say “hello”; for that special person, or a person of authority, take off your hat.
Most men I’ve observed will quickly remove their hat if they are asked to stand for the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem. But for some reason these same men have never heard of taking off their hat at the dinner table. And if a guy wearing a hat is sitting directly within my line of sight, the chances are good that the hat will be filthy, have some crude word or symbol on it, or be ridiculously large, therefore causing me to not only be irritated, but to stifle a laugh while trying to chew my food.
I figure there are two reasons why a man wears a hat to dinner. He’s either mighty proud of it and wants to show it off, or he hasn’t washed or combed his hair all day and he needs it to cover up the evidence of his laziness. Oh, I guess there is a third reason. He might have one of those bald spots that men seem to think marks the end of their virility, and he wants to cover it. Whatever the reason, or excuse, it’s disrespectful to wear a hat at the dinner table. So please, please…before you eat at a restaurant, stash the hat in the back seat of your car, comb your hair, and be proud that you know a thing or two about being civilized. You’ll certainly make my meal more enjoyable.