According to The Bolton News, flat cap sales are booming in southern England. I cannot help but notice that this trend has curiously coincided with the recent arrival of a certain flat-cap-wearing American on these shores…
Here I can be seen setting my fashion focus on the Vatican. The Pope needs to move past the beanie and get down with the flatness:
In learning of this trend, I finally figured out of all the fuss being made over my cap. Many people I know in London seem to comment about my cap, whereas back in the States it always seemed rather unremarkable. Wikipedia shed some light on the matter for me: “In British popular culture, the flat cap is associated with working class men in northern England.”
Ah, so that’s it. I’m a middle class foreigner in the south. I seem to have crossed a class line. It was bound to happen, eh?
A chain-reaction of class-conscious questions ensued. Am I even middle class? Isn’t that the great myth, that all Americans are middle class? Maybe I’m upper-lower-middle or lower-upper-lower? What other behaviour gets casually and silently scrutinised on a daily basis?
If I go to a an old formica-countered cafe in Soho and call it a “caff” instead of a “cafe”, given that I’m university-educated, what does that communicate? Personally, I just like bacon, I don’t care what you call the place that makes it. If I shop at Somerfield, will that be seen as ironically “slumming it”. Hm, no, actually that would just be a bad idea. Somerfield is shit.
This photo here was taken from my former life as a half northern working class man, half chav:
UPDATE: I just returned from a holiday in the town of Glastonbury. Although in the southern county of Somerset, I saw many old men wearing flat caps on the way. I then remembered that I first wore a flat cap as a young boy. It was given to me by my uncle. He wore flat caps all the time. Granted, he was in his sixties, but this never struck me as a reason not to adopt his keen fashion sense.
I don’t think my present readoption of the flat cap has anything to do with class politics, rather, I think I’m just an old man trapped in a 30-something’s body, much like I used to be a geriatric junior high schooler. And I guess I don’t even really believe that my current donning of the flat cap has anything to do with age. I may be 32-going-on-78, but I’m often simultaneously 57-going-on-12 and 25-approaching-7.
Caught in the age flux, I kinda like it here.