The tiny hat is most often worn by a woman as an adornment which serves no useful purpose. Unlike the barrette, it does not serve to fasten together bits of hair to facilitate a certain choice of style. Nor does it shield delicate skin from the ravaging rays of a sun from which we, here on Earth, no longer receive ecologic protection. It cannot be kept upon the head, against wind and gravity, by hugging the circumference of one’s noggin, and so must have tiny combs attached, be pinned carefully or have an attached elastic or ribbon that may secure it either beneath the back of the hair, or primly under one’s chin. The sole purpose of the tiny hat is to adorn. Its ornamental power to increase the attractiveness of its wearer, has secured its place among us as a thing prized and reached for, perhaps not with the regularity of the earring or the necklace, but often when the shorthand of the mildly dramatic gesture is called for.
It becomes apparent to me that while the tiny hat may not serve a useful purpose, it does hold some power over us. This strange, reflexive way it has of holding our attention is immediately evident in the sight of Simon Adebisi, the character from the prison show “Oz,” wearing his own gravity defying version of the tiny hat. Despite this one’s lack of fashionable finesse, who among us can resist the sight of it, wondering whether some fixative was employed in its unyielding placement on the side of his bald head, or feeling the desire to know that it was sheer will that held it there. I wonder if some of the appeal of the tiny hat is to the part of us that wants the little thing, or the little guy, to triumph over difficulty. Hmmmn…..