A white cowboy hat comes in many sizes. This is a doggone great idea; as you will have noticed, so do folks’ heads. Imagine a pint-sized feller underneath a ten-gallon Stetson and it don’t take much to start you guffawing like an old jackass.
Now, some folks say that a ten-gallon hat was made kinda large so that a guy could water his horse without too many trips to the river. Smart folks say it ain’t so, that gallon comes from the Spanish “tan galan” – “how gallant looking”. Another idea is “galón” – “braid” and refers to the breadth of the brim. Shucks! Who’s caring.
If you want to get the right size of felt cowboy hat the darnedest simplest thing is to set it on your head. If it falls over your ears or perches like a constipated canary on the top of your thatch it ain’t a good fit, pilgrim.
If you live way out on the ranch, and mail order is your kinda thing, a piece of baling twine wrapped round your skull and sent to the store would be functional. But if you are all kinda educated and can use a tape measure that would be real clever, dude.
Hat sizes are measured in inches. A smart feller would avoid feet just in case they send you a pair of cowboy boots instead. Just my little joke, pardner, riding the range on your lonesome can send you plumb loco without a little humor.
Now, your mom might have warned you against becoming a cowboy when you grew up. So when she sees you measuring up for a felt cowboy hat she’ll dump Grampa’s old coonskin cap on your head and send you off to the mountains with a squirrel gun. Stand your ground.
Yup, I know an enraged mom is more frightening than a herd of spooked steers at drinking time. Lie. Say it’s for a party.
Here’s a chart you can print out and stick to the barn door. This way you can get a snug fit for all the family, including the jackass if he’s turning gray and beginning to feel the heat. Later you can use it for shooting practice.
To take your measurement wrap the string or tape round your head just above your brow. The line where your hat usually rests. This should be done before bath day when the dust line is still visible.
Keep the tape tight but not so’s your circulation stops and you go prematurely bald. This is your head circumference. It has to be thought of as a circle and converted to the hat size which is the diameter. The formula for those of you who ain’t mathematically challenged is D = C/3.14.
If you are rich and own a hat already that fits use it to measure the inside brim. Your pappy’s old “Boss of the Plains” hat that you wear when cleaning the stable, and comes over your ears, is not a good idea. Even if that’s the way he always wore it.
Those of you who have an amigo from Britain and want to send him or her a real hat you can convert the sizes. It might seem that Europeans have different sizes of head but really it’s only the system that differs, I guess.
When you’ve got your hat don’t be forgetting your manners. If you are a gentleman be sure to tip it to a lady or your boss. “Both the same thing?” Yup, I understand.
And here’s an old saying my Grandma used to swear by: “Put your hand quickly to hat and slowly to purse.” I will leave out the actual cuss words.
Gotta head now, got a new white cowboy hat to buy.