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Cowboy Hat Etiquette


The first Rule that is indisputable and critical, is DO NOT mess with a cowboy's hat.  I knew someone who, in a Texas bar, heard a man ask his cowboy friend "Can I try your hat on?".  The man just looked at him and said, "You wouldn't want me askin' to try on your underwear would you?  So don't ask to try on my hat."  A cowboy hat is a very personal, and sometimes very expensive,  item that you don't pass around.  In some places, to touch a man's hat without permission will get you pile-driven into the wall, you just don't do it.


Hat Ritual

There are two degrees of politeness:

  1. With your hat-lifting or tipping it, which you do for strangers.
  2. Taking it off, which you do for friends.


1. Tipping your hat is done by barely lifting it off your head:

By the crown of a soft hat, or the brim of a stiff one.

Your cigarette, pipe or cigar should always be taken out of your mouth before removing or tipping your hat.


2. Taking it off

A. A man takes off his hat outdoors:

  1. When he is being introduced, or saying good-by;
  2. as a greeting when passing someone he knows on the street;
  3. when talking, particularly with a woman, an older man, or a clergyman;
  4. when the National Anthem is being played, or the flag is passing;
  5. at a burial, or (except in large cities) in the presence of a funeral procession.

B. A man tips his hat:

  1. when walking with a friend who passes a woman only the friend knows;
  2. any time a lady who is a stranger thanks you for some service;
  3. any time you excuse yourself to a woman stranger, as in a crowded bus when you jostle her, or when you have to ask to crowd past;
  4. any time a stranger shows courtesy to a woman you are with, as when. a man or woman picks up something she has dropped, or a man gives her his seat;
  5. when you ask a woman (or elderly man) for directions.

C. Indoors, a man always takes off his hat, except:

  1. in public buildings, such as railroad stations or post offices;
  2. in entrance halls and corridors of office buildings or hotels;
  3. in elevators of public or office buildings. (You have to use your judgment about this, though. In a department store elevator full of women you might take it off. Also, if a woman you know gets into an office building elevator, you would probably take it off, and you certainly would do so if you started talking to her.)


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Copyright © 2003 K K

Most recent revision July 12, 2018 01:05:00 AM

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