“That’s a fedora” I said, staring at him.
We met in a Starbucks. The ads in the wifi login splash screen advertised for job-hunting sites. Everyone was hatless, save for this man; Theodore.
“Call me Ted, please”
Ted is special because he’s part of a small but dedicated community of Fedora wearers and Fedora Enthusiasts.
“So, I know you get this question a lot” I began “But you’re not a freshman going to a State University who’s trying to be ‘Unique’?”
Ted shook his head “I get lumped in that crowd a lot, also: People who watch Mad Men and then go to a department store immediately after. There is a science to wearing a Fedora, you can’t just throw one on while wearing the JNCO jeans from middle school and your Tapout hoodie”
This had clearly flustered Ted, so I tried to get him back in the interview.
“When did you first start wearing it?” I asked
“I found one in a Target, and things progressed from there. When you start wearing one, you quickly become ‘that guy’ who always wears a Fedora, and everyone sort of points at you. You feel like you could pull off the Fedora, but you’re just not there, there’s an X factor that a person has to figure out. Guys in the Fedora community call this the “transition phase”, that is, after the novelty of a Fedora wears off, you’re left questioning why you got one in the first place, and this is typically where people toss it the closet next to the Korg MS-10”
Ted went to elaborate on the Fedora Community, mostly existing online in the form of chatboards. Every once in a while a group of them will rent out a Ramada Inn off the interstate and hold the annual “Fedora Community Git-Togeether.” Ted has attended twice.
“You try not to look down on the newbs who just bought one at Hot Topic or whatever, but it’s important to mentor Fedora wearers through the beginning stages of Fedora Ownership”
The Fedora Community has their own set of slang. A NFW is a “new fedora wearer”. A TFW is someone who’s “Transitioning” and an “Old Hat” is someone who wears one all the time.
One “Old Hat” with the username ‘Alabama_Hotpocket’ is writing a book on Fedora Ownership, hopefully he uses his real name.
Ted hopes to become an Old Hat one day, but for now he’s sill in a TFW, awkwardly taking his hat on and off and staring at his reflection in the Starbuck’s window, wondering if it was such a good idea after all.