Life is harder without my hat |

Life is harder without my hat

Summit Daily file photoAndrew Gmerek

I hate to admit it, but my life is better when I wear a hat. No, it’s not just that my head doesn’t burn to a crisp in the High Country sun or that my ears don’t freeze solid in the nine months of winter we experience every year. It’s that I’m treated better when I’m wearing a hat. It’s been more than two years since I shaved my head, and I’m sorry to say that some people discriminate against guys that are follicle-challenged.On a recent episode of Doctor Phil, this issue was brought home. (Yes, there are times when I watch Doctor Phil simply to see people get clubbed into submission with his down-home wisdom and straightforward language.)

Doctor Phil and his son Jay were performing an experiment on whether a person’s appearance affected how other people treated them. During the show, Jay was made up to look shabby, and then he walked through a mall to see people’s reactions. And even though he didn’t believe people would discriminate against a man because of his appearance, he was ignored, he couldn’t get people to make eye contact and sales people did everything possible to avoid helping him.Of course I could have told the Doc that appearance, whether it’s for a man or a woman, makes a difference because I experience this almost everyday. Granted there are only a few times in my life when I’ve looked as scary as Jay did in his makeup – he really did look like the image of a stranger that parents tell their kids to avoid – but I can still change the way people look and deal with me just by wearing a hat.When I’m without my hat people seem to fixate on my head much like some men stare at certain attributes of women or, say, a flying saucer landing in the middle of Denver. People stop looking me in the eye and instead gawk at my forehead like I had a third eye up there.There was a time when I was out with my daughters shopping without a hat when one little, ditsy sales clerk who asked if I was my daughters’ grandfather.

Not only did this little pixie almost lose her life for her comment, but it also got me wondering if people pick one feature and judge others by that one thing.Without a hat, some people look at me like I’m an old man, but with a hat firmly clamped on my head people’s attitudes change.Now I’m willing to admit that I do look a tiny bit younger wearing a hat, but that’s not how I’m treated. With a hat on my head, I’ve had younger women – and by younger I mean women in their early 20s – flirt with me. And they’ve shown so much interest, I might add, that my friends have had to tell them I’m old enough to be their father and I’m married. (Got to love those friends.)

I also seem to get better service, and people will make eye contact and smile at me more often.So the next time you see me on the street and I’m hatless, please don’t stare. Life is hard enough without people judging you by what’s on, or not on, the top of your head.Too bad Doctor Phil didn’t give me a call before he began his experiment. I could have saved him a lot of money.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User