Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Damn it feels good to wear a Red Hat

I can’t say that I was surprised to see the letter-to-the-editor in today’s SJ-R complaining about the rude and confrontational behavior from an alleged member of the Red Hat Society. I am surprised that we haven’t been reading more about the notorious group of elderly revelers in Police Beat. History shows us that it is only a matter of time before this rapidly growing and increasingly influential band of frivolity seekers turns anti-social and bloodthirsty.

I’m not suggesting that the Red Hat Society was organized as a criminal syndicate. Their mission to bring golden years of fun to women across the world is admirable and true. But any sociologist worth his salt will tell you that such clubs, gangs if you will, are a breeding ground for organized crime. If I’m not mistaken, the mafia started out as a bocce ball league and the first pirates were fishing buddies who grew tired of dropping a line and sought more lucrative booty from passing merchant ships.

The signs are certainly pointing towards the Red Hat Society following down this path to infamy. The group’s growing popularity is one such indication.

Senior citizens, in particular women of this age group, often feel marginalized in our society. This is a generation that largely missed out on the empowerment that came about from the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s. Associating themselves with such groups as the Red Hat Society or the jack-booted thugs of the AARP buys them increased social status, or “juice”, out on the streets. In time, they become more emboldened and turn to menacing behavior to feed their insatiable desire for more cred and respect.

The transformation from fun-loving octogenarians to garden-variety hoodlums is slowly taking place and experts predict that businesses that cater to the group are especially vulnerable to being victimized. Restaurant owners, shopping malls, and tourist sites see the red hatted ladies as a desirable demographic to court. Seemingly well-behaved with a reasonable amount of disposable income, the women are often catered to and given preferential treatment by these businesses. Soon, however, they begin to see the special accommodations and extra niceties as their due propers. And should a business become delinquent or unforthcoming with these tributes, things can get ugly fast.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised to read that one of their members went mad dog when the letter writer crossed her out on the streets. Members feel that by displaying their colours they are giving notice that they are on their turf and they set the rules. Any show of disrespect is dealt with swiftly and harshly. Today it was a verbal assault and an obscene gesture; tomorrow it will likely be a beat-down or worse.

Stories of irate, white-haired women breaking up tea rooms are going largely unreported in the mainstream media. Editors are hesitant to run with such reports due to tender feelings towards their own mothers, a transference of emotion that red hatters exploit to maintain their genteel reputations amidst a rash of covert rabble rousing. This same affection makes police hesitant to seek charges when some street-hardened Aunt Bea-type is found tagging the back wall of the local Presbyterian Church.

For their part, the police should treat the Red Hat Society as they do any other gang. When detaining one, they should take note of society-related tattoos or any other distinguishing marks that would help ID them in future crimes. Police should also keep track of aliases. Agnes Wittenberg might be known on the street as La Psycho Rojo or Mama Redd Dogg. Law enforcement must become familiar with the Red Hat culture if they hope to curb the inevitable lawlessness the group is about to throw down.

As for the public, they are advised to steer clear of these red-topped cut throats. Better to give up your place in line at the museum then get jacked-up in broad daylight by a mob of ill-tempered grandmothers.

In a skit from their television show, Monty Python keenly portended the existence of gangs of hyper-matriarchal seniors who wield hand bags like blackjacks and walk around with chips on their shoulders the size of marble ryes. Most took it as satire, but it now seems eerily foretelling of a scourge that is both inflicting our communities and placing a blight on what is considered the Greatest Generation.


Anonymous said...

Those red hat people have no sense of humor. I tried to join only to be told I am not allowed to wear my Cardinal Red hat. They said red hat.....didn't know they discriminated against the Cards!!!!

Wade said...


Tremendous writing Man!

Curiously enough I had an experience with a gaggle of redhats at the UCT.

They had a blast dancing to Little Rachel and I... I stayed the hell out of the way. They flowed into the crowd with all the confidence of 2%ers into a roadhouse and partied in their "jammies" with a ferocity most 30 somethings have left behind.

I knew better than to even get up to pee until the frakas had subsided.

Good for them.

Ms. Discenso (please forgive any misspelling Kris) with whom I have friends in common, has always impressed me as a woman of determined and deliberate character. When she is "red hat ripe" I imagine her starting her own band of saucy female brigands.

The picture in my head is one of proud tribes of "mature" Amazons engaged in a turf battle over the Cafe' Brio.

Proud of her for writing that letter because she wrote what she needed to.

I giggled into my coffee, well actually, aspirated my coffee as I read it and I could not stop the thought that "this is something I would have paid see."

The best I can do for Kris is offer to buy her one of Ted's famous #7 Margaritas and hope we can call it even.

So Kris if you ever read this, redeem the offer at any time. Ted and Tony know I'm good for it.

Monkey Boy said...

I find it absurd that Garrison Keillor is making millions for his "humor" while there is quality humor like this available for free. Good job.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Thanks Wade.

Ms. DiCenso said...


I will definitely redeem my #7 @ Brio, but it may be difficult...

Now, I am a marked woman. With a target on my back the size of Texas, it's not in my best interest to leave my house. You joke about the red hats, but they have taken to picketing outside my office, tormenting my dog, egging my house and demanding a retraction. I won't do it!

I have taken to wearing a disguise when I do venture out. If you find me bloodied and battered at TGI Friday's, you'll know who to blame.