Thanks to my friend Kalman I will be leaving for Mexico on my first ever all expense paid vacation. I will be out of town until sometimes Monday. I leave you with this post, which has nothing to do with Chanukah- but fortunately for me a very special person made me realize how much of a chillul Hahsem the original Chanukah post was.
Have a happy and healthy trans fat filled Chanukah.
In the secular community they are known as Fedoras and commonly referred to as the Pre-Kennedy Hat since prior to Kennedy, all the presidents had worn hats in public. It seems that Jews, blacks and cowboys are the only ones left who happen to wear hats. The black hat is also known in the Chassidic community as the “bend down.” Since their Beaver hats are unable to bend. The black hat is not only a comfy, warming piece of headgear, but it is an icon of the very large and learned yeshiva community. To wear a black hat is a status symbol.
The black hat is the most known hat in all of Judaism, it is used as a label in itself, by the wearers and the folks who refer to the wearers as “black hatters” or “black hat type.” No other hat gains this distinction, not even the streimel. How this came to be I do not know, but I do know that folks who consider themselves to be black hat, wear black hats, the religious level merely observed by an external article of clothing which means the world to many folks. Certain synagogues, yeshivos and simcha halls will only let you gain entry while wearing one of these strange status symbols and if you do not have one they may be likely to offer you one on loan or turn you away, depending on how much the rest of your outfit fits with the black hatter outfit.
The gray hat is for folks who are technically black hat type, but at all expenses do not want to be labeled as such, they think they are anti-conformist, or maybe they are trying to fix political barriers and comfort levels between the back hatters and everyone else. The gray hat crowd tends to have children or family members with black hats.
The Barry Hat:
Someone just alerted me that anyone worth his grain of salt in the world of fashionable yeshiva guys wears a barry hat, he could not explain to me what it was, but that it was Borcilinos competition in the metro-yeshivish crowd. In my day it wasn’t the hat but rather the shirt that made you fashionable in yeshiva and as I recall the coolest dudes always wore Borcilinos and those white Tommy Hilfiger shirts with blue inside collars.
The black hats shiny cousin that is unbendable and way cooler looking, is worn mostly by Chassidim and charedim. The hats look like tophats made custom for the orthodox community because they lack the top hats concaved summit. They also appear to be wet at all times and do not seem to fit very well on peoples heads since whenever you see a Chassid walking they always appear to be holding their hast in place. This may be because they do not use their peyos to tie down the hat or their smooth shaved heads make for no hat hair to keep it in place.
I guess these could be called the Half Beaver Hat, and these hats are by far my favorite, they are by far the craziest looking non-fur hat and are really only worn b folks who do not speak English and tend to be very good at using their hats as boomerangs during shabbos riots to knock down police officers and get their hats back in an instant. I have also heard that these hats can be used as Frisbees and some Satmar communities in Israel have started Ultimate Pancake Hat Teams. The pancake hat also has the lowest rate of wind resistance out of all the hats in this guide, and therefore makes for the best hats for folks in a rush. Whether you like to violently shuckel during davening without losing momentum or you like to rush atround the kollel store, the pancake hat will help you along, keeping your frum status, while at the same time allowing much quicker times in all aspects then any other hat, save for the doo-rag.
The famed streimel, home on any chassids head and always tempting those like me to wander if I could pet the fox sitting on the Amish guys head. I am given a firm “Nine” or “Nisht” whenever reaching for the pet. Once again these hats can be flung ovr all the screaming children to the coat rack before your streimel turns into a crushed streimel, thus too closely resembling a Lubavitch hat and getting you into a tizzy with the Williamsburg shomrim.
In my view a real good looking authoritative hat, everyone who wears them has some power and also has a sleek look, no matter how far their stomach is bulging out of their bekishe. The spudick also has the ability to look at all times like it is about to topple over onto the ground, but miraculously stays firmly on the head with the owners peyos fluttering in the wind.
Black Hat w/Feather:
I used to own one of these, since I needed a hat for high school but my father almost fainted when looking at the normal hats. Off we went to sears to spend $28 dollars on my first hat which had a 1 inch brim with a shiny red feather inside reminding all of my fellow “got my hat my bar mitzvah” kids that I wasn’t one of them.
The feathered hat is usually worn by old, white haired men who sit hunched over in the back of the shull and debate about whether shmaltz or matzas herring is better for your cholesterol level. They are those guys who always start off a sentence with “guess who died” or “You remember (insert name)” Candy men also tend to wear these hats, but I think its just because the feather allows them to be easily spotted in a sea of penguin outfits.
This could be any number of people. There are the folks who wear straw all the time, these guys will be foreigners much of the time, as well as rich mobster types. Then there are the occasional black hatters who trade their status for comfort during the blazing summer months. Sometimes you may spot a pancake straw hat wearer and these are the same as cowbow hat wearers who are just trying to be “the weird guy” in shull, even shteebles may contain these weirdoes, which much of the time are not weird save for their headgear choice.
Many shull contain one of these “characters” they wear them so someone at a shabbos table who is also weird can always refer to Boruch the cowboy hat guy at shull, who usually is a rich fellow who traveled a lot and wants to show off his worldliness with the headgear. There are many reasons besides anti-conformity; it could just be that the token modern guy feels uncomfortable in a black hat, so he dons the cowboy. I have seen the cowboy hat pretty consistently in many shulls. People who meet me always end up trying to coax me into talking to the cowboy hat guy because they think two folks off the beaten path will find interest I one another, but usually I get resentment because I am always way cooler then those guys.
Many terms can be used to describe the Shtetle boy hats that are worn by many older folks who are not so into black hats, but enjoy the warmth for the long walk to shull, including my father. These hats kind of look like train conductor hats, and were made famous by that kangaroo brand, that wealthy Puerto Ricans tend to wear. Little Chassidish boys may also be seen wearing one of these strange hats.
You can spot a frum family on vacation from a mile away, both the man on the woman are wearing baseball hats. The man usually has black cotton pants, a tucked in stripped polo shirt and the requisite baseball hat covering what he thinks will hide their Judaism. Besides for the fact that anyone with more then 4 kids comes into suspect as being Jewish, the age of the couple never helps, always looking young and pregnant.
The frummy baseball hat can be seen regularly at places like Six Flags, Niagara Falls, Lake George, and any other out of town area where New Yorkers think anti-Semites lurk around every bend waiting to convert them to their religion or lynch them. Modern orthodox folks who like to cover their heads all the time usually opt for the baseball hat as their yarmulke, and I myself was one of these for many years until I discovered that I liked being a proud Jew in 99% of the places I went, besides northern Idaho and Juarez Mexico.
Mostly modern orthodox woman like this strange hat that can only be described as a lampshade, since many of them are made from vintage lampshades of the 1970’s, I have heard rumors that many of the lampshades may have to be burned due to possible idol worship during the Beatles ascension in India, but no confirmation as of yet. The folks who wear these tend to do a half hair covering, with very few of them attempting to stuff all of their hair within the confines of an area meant to hold 3 light bulbs at most.
Not for military anymore, the beret was brought back by Israeli women who had frummed out in the army, due to their dislike of being referred to as mattresses. As they are affectionally known in the Israeli Army. The Beret has its advantages, and can even be used like a Rastafarian hat, with all the hair hanging off to the side, while not retaining the ugliness of the snood- which would I would not consider a hat by any means, but rather a bag.
Proven to be the most tznius way to protect one from gazing upon the scalp of a woman with a shaved head, the turban has been in use by societies since the beginning of time. It has been improved over time and the latest trend are self inflating turbans that can stay afloat on someone’s head for days without a pump, they serve the Chassidic woman with a unique purpose of making her appear taller then most every around her. The turbans also come in a wide variety of colors, most notably pink, white and blue, and they have matching all day robe colors. Some turbans even have little lapels, which may be hidden cameras placed there by the chumra of the month club to come of with new chumras and bans.
Some extra holy women place little WW2 nurses hats on top of their already grotesque plastic hair sheitles. This insures that if someone got the notion some how that a woman in a gray bag with bulletproof stockings, was showing her real hair in public that it was in fact a wig and they should not be too alarmed.