First, they came for the housewives. I said nothing because I didn’t have a housewife. They came for the pressed three piece suits and shined oxfords, and I said nothing because I had plenty of cargo shorts and a fresh pair of New Balance cross-trainers. They executed the Marlboro man and came for the guns, and I said nothing because I didn’t smoke and I didn’t carry. They came for our high standards, and I said nothing because they waxed about how beauty fits all sizes. Then they came for recess and athletic competition and Confederate flags in school, but I said nothing because I was long gone from school. At last, they came for the fedoras, but there were no men left to speak for me.
I don’t wear fedoras. But I write fictional stories in which many of my characters sometimes wear fedoras. These stories take place during an undisclosed time that might be the future, and could be the past, but in all cases the men drink single malt scotch out of roller-top desk drawers, smoke judiciously, carry six shooters, and wear charcoal gray felt fedoras. Call it when you want, but in my stories, fedoras are to men what a crown is to a king.
One might say it’s a childish view of masculinity, but tell me what strong culture survived without symbols. The Scottish warriors wore patterned kilts as symbols of their clans. The British Empire payed homage to their kings by hanging their portraits, and to the lion and unicorn on their imperial crest. The New York Yankees are required to keep their faces shaven clean and their hair short. Soldiers are required to don a uniform that symbolizes the conduct that is required and expected of them. Symbols are nearly as important as the characteristics they represent. They are ever-present reminders of who we are supposed to be. When men chose to put their fedoras on every time they walked out into the world, they did it to remember who they were.
Does any reasoning better explain the modern-day fedora phenomenon, where the most socially inhibited males of our society are donning fedoras to compensate for a lack of individual identity, and to stifle a sense as pervasive as chronic body odor that they are living an existence as half-men, only narrowly able to refer to themselves as such because of an arbitrary conception-era genitalia assignment? Using the symbol of an older power long since banished from the West, these modern malformations are now trying to recapture masculine strength but exuding something far different.
I can’t really blame them, except to suggest that they are doing it wrong. Now that the male species has been gelded, it is not nearly time to start donning fedoras, lest those kingly hats instead become the symbol of sunken chests, sunless complexion, scoliosis, carpal tunnel, chin beards and chainmail. Remove your hats. First, the guild of the gelded-hood need to quest for the lost vault of their cryo-frozen phalli, and the equipment must be reinstated upon their soft, flaccid bodies. That is the beginning. It must start from that point, and no other.
Reconsider that Batman tattoo. Do a pull up. Learn a skill. A King can wear a crown, but he will just look like an fool unless he has the subjects to give it weight.