The great Kinky Friedman has famously said that "there are two types of people who wear cowboy hats: cowboys and assholes." I've been known to wear the aforementioned headgear from time to time, but since I don't run any angus in the Country Hill subdivision, I guess I fall into the latter camp.
Which is unfortunate. Why is it that when it comes to real, classic, honest-to-goodness American apparel, you have to be a real-life John Wayne or J.R. Ewing to wear cowboy hats (and to a lesser extent, cowboy boots)? You don't have to play in the big leagues to wear a baseball hat (that other patently American headwear), do you?
Maybe it's the circumstance that dictate proper hat-wearing. I don't do it while mowing the lawn, at restaurants, or even at the twang-filled live music venues that I frequent. My western lid-donning is almost exclusively while I'm out hunting. In fact, I sometimes prefer a cowboy hat -- the bill is much better at shielding my eyes from the glare of a rising or setting sun. Plus, I'll admit it, I like the way I look in one (that's probably where the asshole comes in).
Many, many years ago, my soon-to-be-wife (and native Texan) bought me a Larry Mahan straw for Christmas. I wore it occasionally back then, but I'm finding I'm wearing it more and more over the last couple of years out in the field. It's been properly beaten up, crushed, and sweated in, so it looks the part. Yet it's an honest, well-made cowboy hat, not one of those cheesy, cheap, pre-tattered, rolled brim types that you'd get at The Gap. Those ARE for assholes.
For Father's Day, I got a great looking black Resistol Spotter B that I can't wait to wear as soon as things cool down. Some know-it-alls content that felt should only be worn from Labor Day to Easter, and straw the rest of the time. But for me though, depending on the temperature, I'll just wear what feels right.
And for me, wearing a cowboy hat now and then just feels right... asshole or not.
(And no, I don't really mean what I said in the title, sweetie. I just like Lyle Lovett.)