Acquired Tastes, XXXIII: Baseball Caps
Baseball is the supposedly ‘The Great American Pastime”. It has introduced many wonderful things to our culture, for example, The foot-long hot dog, those wonderful Fruit of the Loom underwear ads from the mid-70’s, and the public, frequently televised, nut cup adjustment (my fave). But nothing has been as warmly or universally embraced as the baseball cap.
Men of all shapes and sizes have found a true friend in the one-size-fits-all world of the b-ball cap. It can cover up many a flaw, or accentuate the gifts you were blessed with. But what’s at the heart of their enduring popularity – be they baseball, trucker, farmer, or advertising related?
Let’s tip back the brim of our own, momentarily remove it, give ourselves a head scratch, and take a look at the enduring appeal of and the mystique granted by…
Scope of Activity:
An appreciation of men who wear baseball caps. This may also include trucker, farmer and advertising caps.
This does not include stocking caps, such as those worn as a fashion statement (and not due to the weather) by granola douchebags.
The Official Line:
A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff peak projecting in front. The front of the cap typically contains designs or logos of sports teams (namely baseball teams, or names of relevant companies, when used as a commercial marketing technique). The back of the cap may be "fitted" to the wearer's head size or it may have a plastic, Velcro, or elastic adjuster so that it can be quickly adjusted to fit different wearers.
The baseball cap is a part of the traditional baseball uniform worn by players, with the brim pointing forward to shield the eyes from the sun. The cap is often seen in everyday casual wear.
In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsior wore the ancestor of the modern rounded-top baseball cap, and by 1900, the "Brooklyn style" cap became popular. During the 1940s, latex rubber became the stiffening material inside the hat and the modern baseball cap was born. The peak, also known in certain areas as the "bill" or "brim", was designed to protect a player's eyes from the sun. Typically, the peak was much shorter in the earlier days of the baseball hat. Also, the hat has become more structured, versus the overall "floppy" cap of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The baseball cap was and still is an important means by which to identify a team. Often the logo, mascot, or team's initial was placed on the cap. Usually, the cap was also fashioned in the official colors of a particular team.
The basic shape, including curved peak, is similar to some styles of 19th century sun bonnets.
Fitted baseball caps, those without an adjuster, are normally sewn in six sections, and may be topped with a matching fabric-covered button (also called a squatchee) on the crown. Metal grommets or fabric eyelets are often sewn or attached near the top of each of the six sections of fabric to provide ventilation. In some cases, the rear sections of the crown are made of net-like mesh material for extra ventilation. The peak is typically stiffened by a sewn-in piece of paperboard.
Baseball caps are made of many types of material and shaped in various styles for different purposes. Major and minor league baseball players wear classic-style caps made of wool (or, more recently, polyester) with their team's simple logo and colors; the logo is usually embroidered into the fabric.
Some armed forces also use baseball caps as part of their uniforms, especially the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard. Used mostly with the utility uniform and coveralls, the baseball cap usually has a command logo on the front to denote command affiliation. Also baseball caps of a particular color are worn to denote a specific function of a person or particular job. Two examples are in the United States submarine force, red baseball hats are worn by drill monitors who facilitate and critique members of the boat's crew during drills. Also in the United States Army, parachute riggers wear red baseball caps and parachute instructors wear black baseball caps as part of their uniform.
Many armed police units around the world, notably SWAT in the United States and Metropolitan Police's Specialist Firearms Command in the United Kingdom, often wear baseball caps to shield their eyes from the sun where a full helmet and facemask would be excessive.
Another version of the baseball cap is a plastic mesh cap with a foam front imprinted with a company logo. This style of baseball cap is sometimes called a trucker cap or a ‘gimme cap’ because it is given away for free as an advertising pitch.
To clarify: for the sake of this blog entry – Brim refers to the duck bill of the cap. Rim will refer to the part of the cap that encircles the head and helps designate the inside and outside of the cap.
Sneaky Pete’s. What are they hiding? Are they in the closet? So, a b-ball cap serves as a sort of portable closet? Maybe they don’t like the way they look. Maybe they have a balding head and haven’t been able to accept it yet. Maybe they think it makes them look younger. You know what is really funny? Men that have sex with other men while wearing a b-ball cap and a pair of sunglasses! I’ve even seen dudes sport this look at bathhouses. It never ceases to make me laugh. There is a country music star featured on a billboard that I see on my way to work each morning. He sports this look and also has a mustache. It makes me wonder…
The douchebag factor. Is that a turn on? Sure, if you’re in a spit-on-me, call-me-a-faggot kind of head space. Or, if you are generally filled with the type of self-loathing that results in you having butt sex with total douches. A lot of douchebags wear ball caps. Why? Mostly because they can’t be bothered to wash their hair. They are a privileged, entitled lot. Douchebags can get away with this because they are typically good looking. If you’re not good looking, and wear a cap to compensate for your lack of hygiene? Then you’re just a fucking slob, dude. Get it together.
The shape. Boobs, Pecs, Asses, Heads? We end up appreciating a nicely shaped head, accentuated by a good fitting b-ball cap for the same reason that (on some subliminal level) many of us appreciate a nicely-rounded ass. The globe shape is very appealing – why we appreciate it? Well, that could have to do with boobs. Boobs are the source of nourishment when we are babies, and some become entranced by that association. I have a thing for boobs, whether they be male or female. I appreciate a nice firm pair of honkers on a woman, like nice cleavage, just as much as I like a dude with nicely defined pecs. Something about that rounded shape catches our eye and lights up our libido. (I suspect it has to do with Mommy’s boobies).
Sexy by association. Maybe it’s the sports thing. Some dudes get real hung up on athletic wear and gear. I think they associate the skill, muscle, and need-to-win of athletes with the stuff they wear to play their games. You could also trace that back to the days of the gladiator, I guess. That kind of ‘need to dominate’, ‘need to obliterate’, and ‘need to stay alive’, is definitely testosterone infused. The same association can be extended to farmers and truckers. It’s that ‘real man’ aspect that gets us all hot and bothered when we see a hot dude in a cap.
Check out the children’s section. Have a small head? High-riding ears? Hit the kids section. On occasion I stumble upon a hat shallow enough to avoid riding on my ears. Women’s caps should also not be dismissed, as they are typically smaller and shallower in size (even though most of the color combos will make you lose your lunch).
Never buy a cap without trying it on. Been there, done that. One size does not fit all. Fuck the manufacturers who continue to put that on their stupid labels. You want me to plunk down over $20 for a cap? I get to try it on, first.
Wash your cap on occasion. OMG! Are you clueless? Do you not have a nose? Are you immune to odor? Your head sweats. That sweat is absorbed into the fabric of your cap. You do that repeatedly and that is quite a nasty stew you got brewing there, what with the sun beating down upon it, heating it up, and the sweat you keep adding. Also… I am experienced enough with outdoor sex to know a cum stain on the brim of a cap when I see it. So throw that thing in the washer once a week, dude.
Replace your cap. You love your cap. It is the perfect cap. Your cap is broken in… but then one day? It is just broken. I little fray on the brim or the rim? Sexy. But there comes a time for all good caps to go to heaven – or The Salvation Army.
I have struggled all my life with my ear-to-top-of-head ratio. Most b-ball caps do not fit my head. This could be because my head is unusually small (info received from a man who sold high-end hats in New Mexico), or it may have to do with my ears and how high they are placed on my head. In any case, I may find a cap that fits my head, but then the rim of the cap always rides atop the top of my ears, so it looks bad, or worse, pushes my ears down and out – making me look like Zippy the Pinhead. Not exactly the look I am going for.
I used to wear a baseball cap at all times. It had something to do with the fact that I am follicle-ly challenged, but also because I desired protection from the sun. For the longest time, I was never photographed without one, and all my on-line photos featured one. It was also worn in an effort to reduce the impact of something I have had huge issues accepting – my face.
Now? I started seriously growing a beard last Thanksgiving. I trim it neatly and it looks good. It gets compliments. It has helped open up new markets in the on-line hook-up world. The other thing it has done? It has gotten me over my need to wear a baseball cap. I still carry one in my bag, as part of my sex kit, but I haven’t worn it since Thanksgiving. So, the beard is now fulfilling the need the cap used to? Sort of, but not really. I think I’m over my whole: ‘I’m-so-ugly-nobody-could-ever-love-me’ mind fuck. About time, too. That shit gets really old.
And speaking of old… as that great Stevie Nicks song says, ‘I’m getting older, too.’ Coming to terms with that has taken awhile, but I think I’m okay with that as well. It still irks me when I come across some ageist profile – you know - the usual beef I have with 40-somethings who only like 18-30 year olds? Fuck them. But I also could care less. Instead of getting angry, I remind myself that it’s not the ones that won’t that matter… it’s the ones that will.
So currently, my need for a cap has been greatly reduced. Yes, I still hate my ears, but then, to be honest, the b-ball caps I wore weren’t doing much to help that situation anyway. I will probably start wearing one in the spring and summer, when I start tanning again. The beard will also disappear then. Though, I may play around with the mustache for a time.
Best caps ever… I bought this Nike cap – charcoal black with a white swoosh from a lesbian at a garage sale. I love that cap… to the point where it is about to hit the bin. I still wear it when at the gym. Otherwise, surprisingly, some of my favorite caps have been found at The Dollar Store! Each spring they offer a bunch of caps in various colors. I buy like 4-5 of the black ones. They are cotton and happen to be shallow enough where they look okay – cheap, but okay. They wash up well, if I lose one I am not out much, and they look good enough on my head. I tend to stay away from logo hats. Not sure why. They make me uncomfortable. Why would I want my identity tied to a lite beer?
Caps worn by other dudes? Typically, I find it very sexy. I especially am drawn to those dudes blessed with heads where they can wear those enclosed-backed caps. The ones without the little window, or a buckle, or a plastic tab back? I think they’re sexy. Why. Because of the shape – see psychological factors regarding shape above, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. A good fitting cap can do a lot to accentuate that shape. I appreciate a nice bald head for the same reason.
There are a lot of douchebags sporting caps. There are also a lot of hygienically-challenged men wearing them. For me… neither is sexy. And if you wear that sucker with the brim anywhere but front-facing-forward? Forgettaboutit! You ever come across someone who has a little window of sunburn on their forehead because they wore their cap backward? Just desserts.
In the wilds of outdoor sex I can always spot a cocksucker (one who does the sucking) from a mile away because they have their caps on backwards. Why?
Caps worn during sex? Problematic. The brim gets in the way all the time. Try sucking dick with the brim facing forward. Awkward. And with all the flipping around that should be taking place during your average fuck – they are always getting struck and pushed up, and you have to stop and pull them down and readjust them. What a freaking bother! In the past I did my best to keep mine on, because in the back of my mind, I never wanted the other dude to get turned off by viewing my bald head. As of this writing, I have had a definite change of heart on the subject. Fuck me? Then you fuck my bald head, too. So, no more caps will be worn by yours truly during poundtown time.
Those trucker/farmer caps with the mesh? I have yet to find those sexy. I refuse to wear them. They are always so boxy and ill-fitting. Plus that stupid plastic tab device they have in the back to fit them to your head? Ugly, cheap, and typically badly designed. Plus, while I find farms really sexy, I do not think much of a cap with an ear of corn on it.
Military and Security personnel? Typically sexy. Hell, I’d even throw down for a mall cop if he’s nasty enough.
To be honest? I like dudes to wear caps at bars. They look good in that environment. I also like pics of dudes wearing caps and sporting a big woodie. Also, very hot – but probably has a lot more to do with the woodie than the cap. Probably. But as far as caps as a part of the sex act? Eh. Outdoors, only.
Sometimes, we are what we wear. Sometimes, what we are wearing is partly costume, partly wish fulfillment. What is most important? Who we are when we don’t wear anything at all.
But for the sake of role play and garnering initial interest? A little costuming can come in handy.
Caps are sexy. They are associated with a number of truly sexy, testosterone-fueled, real-men-only occupations, and I am not immune to this association. None of us are. It’s the usual Madison Avenue brainwash. They sell stuff with boobs. They sell stuff with muscles. They do that with baseball caps! That dude who hawks Ford trucks? You think he’d be an effective spokesperson without that cap? Have you ever seen him without it? It grants him a legitimacy I’m not sure his reality could cash, but hey, everybody’s gotta earn a living, am I right? And that country music star? The one too cool and ‘real’ to sport a cowboy hat – because, hey – he’s the real deal – and he doesn’t wear costumes! Yeah, that’s a costume, too. But we buy it. With that cap on? He’s ‘relatable’.
What do I relate caps with? Security, a hint of mystery, sun protection, and, probably, a touch of authority. Wanna play ‘Coach Gives His Star Athlete An After Practice Rubdown?
If you do, be sure to bring a cap!
(And a jock strap)