As a mother, I’m appalled. What message is that to send a girl out there unprotected? After so many years of chanting as they leave – ‘you might need it later’, ‘you’ll catch something otherwise’, or ‘better safe than sorry.’
I am, of course, talking about the Great Hatless Scandal of 2016 (be it, only all 7 days of it). This follows an email by a television executive producer here in Chicago suggesting women look better without hats and therefore would be advised to be hat-free during outdoor live segments. Unless, he continued, it was 20 below (Fahrenheit), which is the current temperature in Baker Lake, Nunavut, northern Canada, a town notable for being the Canadian Arctic’s sole inland community.
For any female moving to Chicago, the first winter in the city, however mild, is always a shock. To say it makes your hair stand on end is not an exaggeration. For the newbie will inevitably attempt to go hatless, scorning the more experienced habitantes as ‘letting themselves go’, and walking out with not-quite-dry tresses into a crisp, Chicago morning.
Not for her, the worries of flat hat head – for all those little icicles quickly forming around her damp roots and curls are the ultimate in body-giving tricks. So long as she stays outside. Once inside, it’s the reverse procedure. She’ll be the one wearing the ‘cap’ – a cold, clinging cap of dampness that just doesn’t seem to go away – until it moves south to her now perennially running nose, and that’s just the start.
Yes, let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to look pleasing when it’s freezing. But however unsuited to a Chicago winter hat your face may be (and I am speaking from personal experience here), it’s always going to be look better be-hatted than be-colded.
And so it can’t be said that I don’t practise what I preach, I give you below the contents of our Chicago hat basket as worn by mother and daughter. Well, in the latter’s case, at least until she’s turned the corner of the street.