Monday, April 11, 2016

Cowboy Hat Know-How with Bonnie Phelps
I'm very pleased to have Bonnie Phelps with me today for Clothes Make the Character Monday. She's here with a fascinating look at cowboy hat etiquette. Thanks for being here Bonnie!

Cowboy Hat Know-How

When I write, I do a lot of research on the people, places and things that appear in my books. Since I write contemporary romance, I try and make the people and scenes as believable as possible. I hate it when I’m reading a book, chugging right along and I hit that spot that stops the flow because I’m thinking, ‘that’s not how it works,’ ‘he or she wouldn’t do that’ or ‘I’ve been to that place but I doubt the author has.’

For my last book, “My Rodeo Man,” one of the things I needed to learn about was cowboy hat etiquette. The first question I wanted to answer was, would a man keep his hat on or take it off when he was out dancing with his lady since that was one of the first scenes in the book? From there my questions circled around to when does a cowboy keep his hat on and when does etiquette dictate that he – or she – remove it?

Here’s what I learned – almost all the rules have exceptions.

Rule 1 – Don’t touch another cowboy’s hat. The Cowboy Hat Guide put it this way, “You wouldn't want me askin' to try on your underwear would you?  So don't ask to try on my hat.” Exception – If a lady grabs your hat and puts it on her head, smile like the gentleman you are and let her wear it. You can also try for a kiss for letting her have her way with your hat.

Rule 2 – Don’t wear it backwards. There’s a little bow inside the hat’s sweatband and that bow goes at the back of the head – like the label goes at the back of your shirt.

Rule 3 – Your hat is always removed during a prayer or when the national anthem is played. Exception – If you are a lady and your hat is secured by hat pens, then you can leave it on otherwise, remove it just like the guys.

Rule 4 – Remove your hat when introduced to a lady – although it seems to be just fine to tip your hat to a lady if you already know her. Naturally there is more than one way to tip your hat – According to The Star Gazer Mercantile there is, “the Brim Tip and the Forward Tip methods. To properly conduct the Brim Tip method, grasp the brim of the hat between your thumb and two fingers and raise the brim, ever so slightly. The Forward Tip method means that you grasp the front of the hat crown, lift slightly and tilt the brim forward. Of course, both methods should include the obligatory head nod. Otherwise, you might look like you’ve just got an itchy scalp!”

Rule 5 – Never tip your hat to another man. According to The North Texas Reporter in the Old West, “It was akin to calling them a woman.”

Rule 6 – Always take your hat off when you enter a building but you can put it back on in commercial and public buildings. Exception – take it off in a movie theater, concert or at a sporting event if it interferes with someone sitting behind you. (This meant Zach could leave his hat on in the dance hall. I also checked out a bunch of pictures just to confirm that’s what people did and that was a mixed bag.)

Rule 7 – Always remove your hat when you sit down for a meal. Exceptions – If you are sitting at the counter of a diner, you can leave it on. You can also leave it on at a restaurant if there is no safe place to set it down. Nothing worse than someone spilling food on your hat.

Rule 8 – When you take your hat off, always set it on its crown, never on its brim or hang it on a hat stand or peg. The logic is that the brim is softer and the hat will lose its shape if you set it down on its brim.

Rule 9 – Felt hats are for the time between Labor Day and Memorial Day and straw hats are for the summer months. Exception – If it’s hot in October, put on the straw hat. If you’re going to a formal event in August, drag out that felt hat.

If you want to learn more about Cowboy Hats – from proper fit, to superstitions, to styles to etiquette - check out these articles.

The Cowboy Hat Guide
The North Texas Reporter
Earn Your Spurs
Indian Village Mall
The Star Gazer Mercantile
Bernard Hats

Blurb for My Rodeo Man:

Zach Kincaid was definitely not what Ashley Drayton was looking for – one more risk-taking, bad boy to add to that long list of narcissistic, jerks who kept breaking her heart. Well, she was fed up. From here on out, bad boys need not apply. So how in the world had this cocky, confident cowboy charmed his way into her affections? She sure wasn’t going to succumb without a fight.

Ashley Drayton looked like the typical, spoiled Southern Belle that made Zach turn tail and head for the hills. As a champion team roper on the rodeo circuit and ranch owner, he sure didn’t need the complications a feisty, prima donna would bring to his life. When he finally did settle down, he wanted a woman strong enough to stand beside him in the hard-knock world of ranching and rodeoing.

Can a rough and rugged cowboy live happily ever after with a sassy and sophisticated socialite?

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Author Bio: 

Rumor has it that Bonnie began telling stories at a very early age.  Photos exist of the author toddling around the corner of the house covered in mud babbling about magic rabbits leading her through the garden.  Her parents were amused – until they discovered she had also walked across the newly poured cement patio – which only added fuel to the fire of her passion for writing.  From then on, her active imagination continued to churn out plots and character sketches always wondering how different people would behave in similar situations.  People are endlessly fascinating and stories are everywhere.  She loves exploring, rearranging and weaving her narratives throughout her characters’ lives.

Bonnie used her writing skills throughout her professional life as a fundraiser and marketer for several nonprofits.  She enjoyed the chance to tell and share the story of worthy organizations.  In the late 1980s, Bonnie authored a syndicated column in several California newspapers in which she shared the experiences and misadventures of life as a wife and mother.  The jury is out on whether or not her children always appreciated her candor.  Because Bonnie has romance in her soul, she also worked as a Wedding Planner for several years.  Absolutely loved it!!  She craves anything sweet, revels in any chance to travel, is addicted to and sees a family saga novel somewhere in her future featuring her German immigrant great grandparents. A native Californian, she lives in Northern California with her husband.

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