I miss my friends. I see some virtually through zoom, text others, phone others, but it’s not the same. I miss seeing them at rehearsals and the gym and church. So, in the early days of the shelter in place order, I began to dream of throwing a party.
I had long planned that when I finished The Hat Project, I would have a gathering. I’d invite a bunch of people and ask everyone to wear a hat. For those who didn’t turn up in a hat, I’d provide some of mine to wear (My husband suggested that I let the guests take the hats home as party favors, but I simply laughed at that idea).
As is true of so many plans these days, I had to give up on the party…for now. But I find it comforting to start dreaming about what such a party would look like. It’s an act of hope. I’m not sure when a party will be possible (especially since some of my friends are in high risk categories), but I live in the hope that the days of parties will return. When that time comes, I can wear the Black Ring Hat and sequined tunic somewhere other than the backyard.
The first thing I did was order hat-shaped cookie cutters from an online cookie cutter store. I wasn’t sure whether a company like that would still be working, but a week after I placed it, I received a box from Missouri, full of cookie cutters: bowler, top hat, stocking cap, cowboy hat, and more. They came in various sizes, so I’m not sure I can use them all at the same time, but I’m looking forward to trying them out. Of course, I’ll have to wait until I have people to share them with…and until I can buy flour again.
Next, I started to fantasize about the music I would play: all songs about hats, that mention hats, or that have hats in the title. Maybe even a song by Men Without Hats or Foghat. Some occurred to me right away, like Lyle Lovett's "Don't Touch My Hat" and Prince's "Raspberry Beret." I started combing online lists of hat songs, and discovered many that I had never heard of. It was fun to play them. Some were kind of novelty numbers, such as Rhett & Link’s goofy but great “Nilla Wafer Top Hat Time.”
Of course, some of them weren’t appropriate for a party—for example, “Some Questions about Hats” by Slapp Happy, which was a bit avant garde. Though I liked the lyrics:
Can a hat aspire to higher things?
Can one dismiss hats as simple things?
Scant, evanescent things?
the song itself might not promote a party atmosphere:
And some were popular songs by more modern groups, like “Purple Hat” by Sofi Tukker. I'd never heard of this group, mostly because I have't listened to popular music for a long time:
I found hat songs I’d never heard by The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Jim Croce, Cyndi Lauper, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and many others.
I might also include songs that mention hats, such as the standard “Tangerine” which describes the titular woman as having “mascaraed eyes and chapeau by Dache,” referring to Lilly Dache, the legendary milliner.
I have a list of thirty songs with the word hat or a type of hat in the title (Steely Dan’s “The Fez”) and another handful that mention hats prominently in the lyrics (The Temptations' “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”).
Will all these songs go together in a party situation? I don’t know. The Andrews Sisters next to Beck next to Bob Marley next to Merle Haggard? But it’s fun to dream about.
Next, I have my eye on a hat-shaped chip and dip set.
Got any other hat party ideas or songs to suggest?
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.