THE ABOVE caption figuratively has reference to a female having her eye on a man in whom she wants to win his affections. At different periods women included the wearing of a hat in getting all dressed up. My wife had an aunt that was fond of wearing “dressy” hats, especially to the church services. In fact, she gave some of those hats to Charlotte. Now days women wearing hats is not as prominent as it once was.
Both men and women who wear hats or caps often set it upon their head favoring one side. Usually this was on the right side of their head. In the military the dress code calls for one’s hat to be squarely upon the head not leaning on one side or the other. Also, the hat was not to be tipped back on the back of the head. When I was in the United States Coast Guard in the mid-1950s my basic training was at Cape May, New Jersey.
The Coast Guard has basically the same uniform as does the Navy. One different is a small Coast Guard shield symbol on the lower right sleeve of the uniform. While in boot camp I got to be off base a few times. I had seen uncles and other members of my family who served in the Navy during World War II wear their white Navy hat cocked on one side of their head and tipped back. On one of those occasions I was off base in my military uniform wearing my hat on the right side of my head tilted back.
I WAS probably standing on the boardwalk of Cape May when suddenly my hat began to move forward on my head. When I looked around to see what was going on a Shore Patrol Officer had his Billy club pointing at the back of my head. He had moved my hat forward with his Billy club. In that he didn’t arrest me I think that he was having a little fun with me.
In the 18th century women often wore caps of white linen or muslin. A woman wanting to get the attention of men, especially one in whom she had in mind would wear one of her most attractive caps. It might be ornamented with lace and ribbons. She would set it at what would be considered “a cute angel.” This seems to be the meaning in: “She Stoops to Conquer,” by Oliver Goldsmith in 1773.
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. Presently he serves as full time evangelist for the Pittsburg Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)