|When it's a bearskin? (Source)|
So while doing my rounds of the blogosphere, I ran across this Althouse post. (And where, oh where does one put the link when there are multiple spots that will suffice? This, Althouse, or post? I went with post. Is there a protocol for that sort of thing? I've been blogging almost five years and I still get confused. At least now, with Buck's help, I know where American commas go. Yes, it's different in Britain. I know, I know, they invented the language, we just modified it. Oxford commas, I use those now as well. Or would that be "too"? English is hard.)
Anyhoo. I am a "hat" kind of guy. When I am out of doors (an older, and quaint, way of saying "outdoors" or "outside") I am always attired in some sort of chapeau. (Which en français can mean hat or cap. I make no claim to French being "easy." German, auf der Greifhand, while not easy per se, is easier than French or English.) Usually this is what is commonly referred to as a "baseball cap" or simply "ball cap." (Though in winter I will wear something other than a ball cap. Which are simply no good for keeping the ears warm.) This was not always the case. In my youth, when I had more hair, I didn't wear any sort of head covering, other than the hair that is. Which used to cover my head. (Which are now sparse, much like the buffalo, or American Bison, if you prefer.)
Then one day I went fishing in Korea, on the tidal flats not far from the city of Kunsan, which I later learned was off-limits to American military personnel. Didn't get caught, no harm, no foul.
"Uh Sarge, you know that area is off-limits, right?"
"And how the hell am I supposed to know that? There are no signs in Korean or English to advertise that fact, and it's not in the newcomer briefing."
"Oh. Okay, we'll fix that."
Anyhoo. While out there, after consuming vast quantities of soju with the Korean soldiers "guarding" the place, we all staggered out onto the tidal flats to "fish." I actually don't remember many of the details of that day other than it was hot, with a hazy overcast. Oh, and I was already well along in the balding process. Think on that for a bit.
So yes, the top of my head was badly sunburned. Yes, that hurts like hell, don't try that at home. From that day hence, I wore a hat whenever I was out of doors. Unless I was on the flightline, where hats are frowned upon as they might get blown off by the wind and sucked down the intakes of jet engines. No, I never saw that happen. However, as the unit cost of a General Electric J79 axial-flow turbojet engine will run you well over 600 grand (in 1960! and the F-4 had two of those), it was thought wise to keep things which might go down the intakes away from those intakes as much as possible.
Thank the good Lord I worked in a covered area most of my time on the flightline. (Otherwise I would have spent a small fortune on sunblock.)
As an aside, hats and caps are also barred from the flight decks of carriers. FWIW, the General Electric F414-GE-100 (of which the Super Hornet has two) will cost you north of 3.7 million dollars. Each. Yes, I said million, yes, I said each.
"So Sarge, when you went out on the Reagan a couple of years ago, did you protect your head somehow?"
"Uh no. We forgot our sunblock."
"Did you get a..."
"Yes, yes, I did get sunburned. Learned my lesson I have, won't do it again. I swear."
At any rate, that's why I started wearing hats, or caps if you will. Usually with some logo embroidered thereon. As of late those have been Air Force logos though I do have a large collection of U.S. Navy ball caps with ship names and crests embroidered upon them. But I got tired of explaining to people that I was in the Air Force, not the Navy.
"So why are you wearing a cap which says USS RONALD REAGAN on it?"
"Because my daughter gave it to me."
"But you weren't in the Navy."
"I know. Go away now."
It's easier to stick with USAF caps. Less explaining to do. Though I did have a civilian, yes, an American civilian, ask me what "USAF" stood for."
"Freedom and the American way."
Yes, that's why.
Oh, and before anyone thinks I don't know, in the Navy (and among Uncle Sam's Misguided Children) it's called a cover.
"What's called a cover?"
"A hat, a hat is called a cover."
"I don't know. I was in the Air Force..."
So, what's a toorie? Well, originally it was that small woolen tuft on top of a Scotsman's bonnet. Which kind of looks like a pom-pom, but ain't. That ball o' yarn thing is called a toorie. Oddly enough, that little button thing on top of a ball cap (baseball cap) is also called a toorie.
|Seriously, that's what it's called.|
|The Thin Red Line by Robert Gibb (Source)|
So if you're a Scot, you can wear a bonnet and a kilt, which looks like a skirt but isn't. Only in Scotland are the men manly enough to do such things. What does one wear under a kilt?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Oh, one last thing, the Marine in the opening photo, yeah, the guy wearing the bearskin (sorry, a bear, I am once again appropriating ursine culture), in French that's called a bonnet à poil, literally a "bonnet with hair."
So yeah, Scotsmen and Marines. They can wear bonnets. Also these guys -
So, the short answer to the question posed in the title is, never. A hat is always a hat. Unless we're talking in the more general sense of headgear. Which might not be a hat but something else entirely. All of that stuff (verbiage if you will) which came before was the long answer. Man, I could use a coke right about now... (Sorry.)
Footnote: We all know about "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss. Or we should, that might depend on how old you are. Anyhoo. That cat wore a hat. That is not the only cat I've ever seen wearing a hat. Our cat Pat, once wore a hat. A knitted hat, or cap, made for him by The Nuke. For The Nuke had taken up the hobby of knitting. Most of what she knitted tended to look like yarmulkes, she was less than amused when we, meaning the rest of her tribe, referred to them as such. In fact, yarmulke kind of rhymes with her actual name, her given, or Christian name, if you will. Anyhoo. She knitted a hat for Pat, our cat. He did not care for it at all. But because he and The Nuke were really good friends, he didn't maul her or attempt to get rid of the hat on his own. He just sat there and looked sad, even pathetic, until she took pity upon the poor feline and removed that woolen piece of headgear (which I believe would properly be called a touque in Canada and parts of Vermont. At least the part I'm from...). And that is the story of Pat, our cat, who once wore a hat.