When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
Thus begins the call to arms of the Red Hat Society written by Jenny Joseph.
Deep down I applaud the Red Hats for embracing silliness, sisterhood and a breaking away from society’s rigid norms. Well, I did up until last weekend.
To start this story, I need to back-up and explain a bit about myself and visit my past and I’ll start with a seemingly non sequitur: I’m a huge fan of Diana, Princess of Wales. Admittedly, I’m not her #1 fan, although I know you’re out there lurking in the bushes at Althorp, camera at the ready, scuba gear stashed so you can make the swim to the island where she’s buried. Nonetheless, I’m fan enough that I got up early to watch her wedding with my family (and even have the book A Royal Wedding to commemorate the occasion). I followed her life as it played out in the press. I got up early once more to watch her funeral with tissue box at the ready. I own Sir Elton John’s “Good Bye England’s Rose” and the postage stamps that were released soon thereafter. I boo and hiss at Camilla rolling my eyes every time “true love” is mentioned and I applaud Wills and Harry at every turn. And so when it came to pass that a Diana exhibit came to my state, I rallied the troops and made plans to see it.
After several hours in the car, bloated from fast food and eager to dash to the public restrooms, my friends and I made for the museum. That’s when our senses were assaulted by the Red Hats – swarms of them buzzing around. Let’s assume for a moment you took a glimpse of them and your eyes relented, granting you peace by allowing you to go hysterically blind. You still couldn’t miss the loud drone echoing off the walls. They were everywhere – packs of them engulfing whole displays leaving only the bones behind. There was no safe harbor and talk about “country come to town” it was as if most of them had never escaped the safe confines of their Junior League meeting room. Once we made it inside the actual Diana exhibit, we were pushed, scratched, bitten, elbowed and otherwise harried. Now mind you, my eyes weren’t so kind and I never got the sweet release from actually seeing these women coming at me, larger than life like some Mothra versus the Red Hat Brigade movie and me, playing the part of the poor, helpless Japanese tourist screaming and running for my life, camera in tow. (Ok, ok, they didn’t allow cameras, but you get the idea.) I believe the most absurd statement I heard from one of these proud women as she leveled her discerning eye at some of Diana’s dresses “these dresses are TERRIBLE!” Oh, sweet irony from one dressed in red and purple…
There’s another story in here, but the blogging software ate the original piece and my re-tooling of it couldn’t work it in nicely, so I’ll just dangle it out here at the end. It’s about non-conformist conformists and how Red Hats are no different than those in the whole Goth movement unless you’re talking about tastes in particular philosophers… that and Goth’s are generally quieter outside of a Rave and when mixed in with the general population… and I would never buy a Goth cookbook.