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Can I wear a baseball cap to the dinner table? 20-40-60 answers

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: March 24, 2010

YOU ASK…WE ANSWER…YOU DECIDE

Question:  Is it ok to wear baseball caps at the table or indoors?  My husband is not happy when our teen-aged son wears his baseball cap all the time and he asks that it be taken off at the dinner table.  My son is not happy when he has to take it off, but he does what his dad asks him to do.

How about women?  Can they wear baseball caps indoors?

Callie’s answer: If your husband really does not like it that your son wears his baseball cap at the table, then don’t let him.

Although, is it really that big of a deal?  Maybe, if you are going out to dinner then, yes, make him take it off. It is just a hat. If it is a house rule, then stick to your guns and don’t change your mind.

If this is the worse thing that your son is doing, pick your battles.

Women should only wear baseball caps to keep the sun out of their face. Other than that, they look sloppy.

Lillie-Beth’s answer: The longtime tradition that men should not wear hats at the table (indoors in general, really) still applies. I haven’t found anything to contradict an etiquette rule that is considered a sign of respect.

As for the rule applying to women, I am answering reluctantly, because if I’m wearing a hat, it’s usually because my hair looks terrible that day. I certainly don’t want to take it off and reveal the mess underneath. So I’d rather the old manners rule about hats at the dinner table not applying to women stay in place.

However, it’s 2010, and that guideline once applied to women who wore formal hats as part of their everyday outfits. Today, both men and women nowadays wear casual hats, and I don’t think women are exempt from taking them off indoors or even during the National Anthem, especially when their hats are as informal as a baseball cap.

“What is clearly a lady’s hat — something with flowers, veils or other such frivolity — may be worn inside, as well as outdoors (although never at home or after dark),” writes longtime etiquette columnist Miss Manners Judith Martin. “Unisex hats must be removed.”

Helen’s answer: Helen’s answer: Caps should be taken off when entering the house and when eating at the table. They should be removed at a church or restaurant.

I think that in a public place like the mall, the hat can stay on. Caps and/or hats should always be removed for the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem.

When women’s hats are part of their outfits , they can be worn indoors.  If they are large- brimmed hats, they should be removed if they are blocking the vision of the person behind them, particularly at a movie or in the theater.

Kate Stanton’s answer (Kate presents etiquette and gracious living seminars throughout the state) : As hats lost their role in day to day fashion for both genders, hat etiquette began to slide away as well. With that slide, our younger generations missed out on the treasured “tip your hat for a lady” honored tradition as well as learning hat etiquette. Thus, we leave such standards to parents – the intended first teachers of children.

Baseball caps are not appropriate at the dinner table or indoors for men. I’ve seen young men take off their cap leaving a bad hair day for all to see rather than insult the lady at the table or hear their mama scream.

Historically, women were not expected to take off their hats when indoors or dining which continues today. Within any etiquette question, one must consider the present environment and what is the issue behind the issue buried in the question.

Of course you are going to see more caps within a college community; such places remain student’s home and comfort zone. If a young man constantly wears a baseball cap to rid the extra three minutes needed to communicate a prepared look, I would work to add in those three minutes since a ‘baseball cap accepted day’ may not be around forever. I would welcome a world of parents removing hats and a cell phones from their young people at dinner and beyond.

Please remember such hats are removed for the National Anthem, always.

(Callie Gordon, a college sophomore,  was a 2009 debutante and has been in many new social situations recently. Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a former  debutante and currently the assistant features editor for The Oklahoman. Helen Wallace has written a social column for The Oklahoman for many years and has been on various local Ball committees. Kate Stanton is Director of  David L. Boren Student Union at the Health Sciences Center.

This group does not always agree (via age differences), but they ALL see the need for proper behavior.

Ask a specific etiquette question and you will get three answers…Then you decide for yourself how you would handle the situation. The answers have information for every age range….Callie is 20-ish; Lillie-Beth is 40-something, and Helen is 60-plus.

Please email us with your questions and  follow us on Facebook, Twitter and daily blogs. We will try to answer your etiquette questions  weekly on the Parties Extra! blog. Sometimes we will ask other people for their opinions.

Look for us!

helen.wallace@cox.net…lbrinkman@opubco.com… calliezok3@aol.com


by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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