Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the Subject of Hats

I know, it has been a while. How you must have worried! I have been writing, I assure you, but the Papillon Crew has been even less connected to the outside world than usual. Even the SSB has been denied to us, because, for the last eleven days, we have been living on land.

On land? Papillon? Yes, it´s true. The human component of Papillon decamped to a tiny magical motu in the middle of the pass in Raraka, and the home of our friend "Olivier". And while it is true that I have been living in a tent on an island with neither electricity nor running water, it would be a fib to claim that we have been roughing it. Aside from the loveliness of the place - the tiny, sheltered beach, the coral garden just beyond - Olivier has built a beautiful little house with everything one needs to live comfortably. And I can now proudly claim that I can cook: 1. bread, 2. chocolate cake, and 3. butter tarts in a wood-fired oil drum oven. Ha ha!

But enough about our weeks of intensive snorkelling and shark-watching. Today, we are going to discuss hats.

I hate hats. Actually, I find hats both practical and attractive... just not on me. I look ridiculous in hats. Fedoras, ball caps, Stetsons, straw hats - they all look foolish on me. The one hat I have ever made friends with is a beautiful puff of fur and leather that Erik bought me to get me through a Montreal winter. Fur may be socially unacceptable, but that hat is the stuff when the temperature dips to minus thirty and I love it. Not so every other chapeau of my acquaintance, which inevitably looks as though I just borrowed it from someone else, and it would like to return to its rightful owner with all possible haste.

The girls, of course, would (and do) look adorable in a tea cosy. Not that I can often convince them to wear their hats. I have only recently gained ground in The Battle Of The Sunglasses, and one must take these things a step at a time. Erik, champion retriever of stray hats, recently found Indy a beauty. It is woven from palm fronds, with the ends left free to stab the unwary. The top is somewhat charred, but that is the way of things when your hats are found objects. Indy immediately stuck her plastic tiara through the top, popped the whole concoction on her head, and hasn´t looked back. Fashion.

Pointy and chic, together at last.

Our friend Olivier has a large collection of kerchiefs which function as headwear. And the Young French Polynesian Man of Today wears much what the Young Colombian Man of Today favors. Namely, a knitted wool toque. It isn´t immediately clear to me what the benefit of such headwear might be here. On the ski slopes of Whistler, yes. Protecting a small child in frigid January, certainly. But adorning the head of your typical youth in the tropics? I´ll admit, I wouldn´t have guessed.

Erik, as is the way of things, is a dashing figure in a hat. Well, most hats. Sadly, he doesn´t wear a crisp Panama hat at the moment. No, Erik currently favors the battered old Tilly I bought for a trip in ninth grade. Once upon a time, it was a perfectly decent bled of canvas and grommits. But the sun, salt and Erik´s sweat have transformed it into an oil-saturated, mildewed nightmare, complete with corrosion detailing. It is so far beyond the powers of traditional cleaners that the very idea is laughable. Even an industrial cleaning agent is going to have a fight on its hands to get that thing back to its previous state.

My quest for the perfect hat continues. In the meantime, I´ll lay aside my vanity and wear whatever comes to hand. Or maybe I´ll just take a cue from the Young Man of Today and send for my fur hat. I´m guaranteed to be the fanciest lady in the anchorage.

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Kate said...

Ha ha ha. You'd certainly warm-up in a fur hat in the tropics. Glad to hear you are all having fun.

Anonymous said...

The search for a perfect hat must be a family thing but alas that sun is so hot... I am looking forward to seeing Indy in her new fashion statement
Love Grannie

Karen said...

Hooray! I was not so much worried as just getting impatient. I am with you regarding hats. Have you considered a turban? (like the glamourous old Hollywood ones) I think that is a look you could really rock.


Kate said...

Pictures are even better!! Indy you have a talent for design... and I can't believe how grown up you look.

Katherine Steven said...

Lovely post with nice pictures! you can find a great collection of headwear at reasonable prices!