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Red Hats

November 15, 2007

I have thought about the “red hat” phenomenon for a long time. What motivates middle aged women to gather in clusters and wear red hats varying from the reasonably sedate to the unbelievably outlandish. I believe I have come to an understanding of the “why”. It is because women “of a certain age” are invisible in American society generally; especially to men of any age. The impetus to be different is great. The desire to be noticed is sometimes overwhelming. And so, the red hat. It is hard not to notice a gathering of women, often dressed primarily in purple, wearing bright red hats. Whatever the reaction is, you notice them. I am sure I am just slow in realizing that this is the entire point of the exercise, but at least I have arrived. At the risk of offending, however, I note that if you are in a group of people who all look the same, you are not different and it is not you that is noticed, it is the group, or the hats. And so, while I recognized the impulse, I have no desire to join. If I am to be noticed, it is for myself, my own uniqueness, my talent. Today I will not wear a red hat.


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