Forward to next post: Correlation and causation: still just good friends
Fedoras: Forever Alone is a loony site. I don’t mean that in a good way. Its proprietor sounds just a bit unbalanced. Here’s her colophon, which on her site is all-caps, centered in a narrow column, and thirty-four lines long:
A compilation of the worst offenders in fashion: Fedora wearers. Here we collect images of the men (mostly) of okcupid who message us while wearing these horrible hats that are an instant deal breaker. A fedora speaks volumes about one’s character. It implies that he is a basement dwelling, live action role playing, no social skills having, complete and utter geek in the worst sense of the word. Nobody looks good in a fedora, but these are the chumps that, not only look bad in them, but have single handedly brought the fedora so far out of fashion that we don’t think that anything will bring them back. Shame on you geeks of America! Here is your wall of shame.So unpleasant.
In spite of all that spluttering and stereotyping, one thing her photos make clear is that she wouldn’t recognize a geek or a gamer if one bit her. Mind you, I’m fine with her not wanting to date fans. I’m sure they’d find her uncongenial.
Ms. FFA’s problem is that she basically doesn’t like hats — I think there’s a word for that — but she thinks it’s everyone else’s fault. She’s also noticed that not many men look as good in their hats as Humphrey Bogart and Michael Jackson did in theirs, and feels they’re at fault for it. Going by her photos again, her active dislike is given to guys who wear unbecoming hats that are too small for them. This is a trivial problem, not a character flaw. They need bigger hats and better advice.
Thing is, I’ve never seen the fashion industry put warning labels on clothes. It would be nice if they did. For example: “CAUTION: This garment will look catastrophically weird with everything else you own.” They’d be especially useful on stingy-brim fedoras, which look fine on Frank Sinatra, Justin Timberlake, several score black jazz musicians, and almost no one else: “CONSUMER ALERT: If you don’t have the right face for this hat, it will make you look like a dork.”
Porkpie hats, which she can’t tell from fedoras, are even tougher. Lester Young wore one, of course. So did Dizzy Gillespie, when he wasn’t wearing his beret; and Thelonious Monk, who sooner or later wore everything.
The only white guys that ever really rocked a porkpie are Buster Keaton and Walter White. Odds are you don’t look like them. But will a hat salesman breathe a word of warning in your ear? Will he discreetly point out that a hat that rendered Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, and Robert Downey Jr. terminally uncool might need rethinking? He will not. He’ll sell you a hat that makes you look bad enough to make the Baby Jesus cry, and chortle as he wraps it up. There ought to be a law.