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One thing a person should not do is place his hard hat on the table where you have lunch or supper at work. I have seen many hats pushed off the table onto the floor to **** the person off and get the message across. Some hardhats are filthy and full of grease & chemicals from working in the field(plant) and last thing a person wants to see is this sweaty filthy hat looking him when taking a bite of his sandwich.
I’ve been to numerous restaurants where folks were eating with hats on. Doesn’t bother me. I think the rules are different for the style of hat you are wearing too. For example - a Cowboy hat can remain on while sitting at a counter eating, or if there is no safe place to lay the hat. If you are on the range - the hat stays on regardless. Informal settings hat stays on - formal settings hat comes off. I suppose that can be argued public vs private for an easier “what should I do“ situation.
Ball caps, like baseball hats - I think those are informal all the way. Take em off when the National anthem plays, or at a funeral, but that’s about the only places I would even care to see them off the head. To me they are just....hats...so it doesn’t matter if they stay on or come off in most places.
But if you are wearing a ”NICE” hat. A hat with style or designed to compliment your suit or outfit then you owe it to the hat to be respectful. The hat has character. The hat has a personality. Style and charm. You are showing your hat as much respect as you are showing your company or surroundings by taking it off when the situation deems appropriate.
I guess when I wear a baseball hat I’m just covering my mop head. Keeping the hair out of my face. Just grabbing something to go out in public real quick and not trying to match my style or reflect my personality. So I don’t care so much about when it comes off my head.
But when I wear my cowboy hat, or my leather Barmah hat, that becomes a reflection of myself, my character, it becomes an appendage of my body. Much like I’m not going to sit at a restaurant table with my Willy out, I’m not going to sit there with my nice hat on.
More to that point - I wouldn‘t wear my baseball hat to a restaurant where I would be expected to take my hat off while eating.