Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Winter Hat Hair

After being spoiled with unseasonably warm weather for the past four months, winter finally arrived in New York in late February. Though I'm pretty sure every jacketless January day is just another sign that the end of the world in already in pre-production, I’ve certainly enjoyed bouncing round the city without my winter clothes. But, as I’m reminded each morning, every dream must eventually come to an end and, for the first time in months, last week I dug out my winter hat and gloves for my daily walk across the Red Sea divide that is 14th St.

And after trudging to work in the snow and taking off my beloved knit wool hat, I was also reminded of one of life’s simpler problems: hat hair. Not just baseball cap-style hat hair, mind you, but knit wool cap hair which, if you have thin, silky hair like me, is impossible to tame without a shower. Now, over the past quarter century, I’ve invested a lot of time trying to figure out a way to prevent winter hat: I’ve tried drying my hair before putting on my cap, wetting it before work and, even, dunking my head in my office sink in-between sips of my morning coffee. But, in the end, I’ve come to the realization that the only way to avoid winter hat hair is to brave the cold without any sort of above-ear protection.

In all honesty, I’ve never minded the cold enough to wear a hat, even when I lived in frigid upstate New York or after my college girlfriend insisted on keeping our thermometer at 98 degrees all winter, thus raising my body temperature just enough to demote winter to my least favorite season (right behind summer, spring and the beauty that is fall). But, occasionally, I find myself succumbing to peer pressure and wearing a hat to work. And, yes, you did read that right: peer pressure. You see, for some reason, people, especially adults, love asking me if I’m “cold.” In certain ways, it’s a rhetorical question (of course I know if I’m cold or not) and in other ways it’s a strange sort of under the breath insult, much like calling a friend “big guy” or “boss” or telling someone their shoes are untied when they are obviously already aware (as if to say, my day may suck, but at leas my shoes are tied). Yet, every winter, I can usually only take people asking me if “I am cold or not” or “why I’m not wearing a hat” for so long, so inevitably I eventually cave and accept my winter hat hair until its warm enough for people to start commenting on my bad bowl cut again.

So, if you happen to work in the winter sports wear industry, a plea on behalf of all of us with thin, silky hair: please try to invent a knit cap with a little less static. I can’t promise that you’ll make as big s splash as Ned Flanders’s Left Handed store in The Simpsons, but I swear I’ll never tell you if your shoes are untied.

No comments: