The husband wears a hat. He is not bald or balding, neither does he have an ugly skull or dandruff or a wig he is trying to hide. He is not trying to talk his face away (which is also interesting, if I may). He wears the hat because he likes it, and because it makes him who he is. The hat was sheer happenstance – a dancing night at a nightclub a few summers ago when a few chosen heads were rewarded with hats by the hostesses and his happened to be one. But what was a happy one-night stand for most men in the room turned out to be a long-term relationship for the husband. The hat and he were made for each other. The hat was here to stay.
It has its uses. He is of lean frame and looks much younger than his age. The hat offers many things. Age. Attitude. Insouciance. Mystery. Rank. Sometimes, a point of conversation. At other times, sheer prop powers.
Wherein all the trouble begins. I have done enough theatre to know the power of a hat on stage. In his case, the dance floor. The husband is a fabulous dancer, and the hat just takes him to another level. Things happen. People are mesmerised. They stop and watch. Then the evil one in them thinks, “Why can’t I have what he has?” The problem begins when one of them believes that the hat can actually transform their gauche self into something fluid, fun and fabulous. Men cannot stand the fact that a married guy gives them a run for their money, so they often try to ask him for the hat, hoping it will turn them into less of insects than they actually are. Sometimes, in a suicidal move, they try to take it off his head. Women do it too, sometimes they want it for themselves, at other times, for their men.
So every time we go out, there is a hat incident. Everyone wants a piece of the hat. Some guy walks up to him and says he wants it. Another takes it off his head in a deft move, placing it on his own. A woman sends her boyfriend to ask for the hat. A man sends his girl-friend (or boyfriend) to ask for the hat. The husband refuses. They make eye contact. Then follows a verbal duel. The husband promises dire consequences. Some retreat, some try harder. Some get beaten.
I have no problem with the hat. It helps me play out my fantasy of being married to Johnny Depp, and I must say I know few men who can carry off a hat and the husband certainly is one of them. But what I didn’t bargain for, is that sometimes, I live more on the edge than Vanessa Paradis.