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Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, Aug. 7, 1959

August 7, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Confidential File

This May Make You Really Flip Fedora

Paul CoatesOne of the more humiliating aspects of my personality is that I am hopelessly under the influence of advertising slogans.

The persuasive power of Madison Avenue guides my destiny and shatters my ego.

And that's the way it's been since my tenderest years.

I felt, for example, that I suffered from the creeping darkness of 5 O'clock Shadow years before I was even ready for my first shave.

When research scientists at the Listerine Laboratories announced to the world that they had discovered a brand new social disease called Halitosis, it suddenly dawned on me that girls were always friendly at first but when the evening was over they never asked me for another date.

I am uncomfortably aware that my collars and cuffs have Tattle Tale gray. And, when dishpan hands came on the market, I was the first to get them.

I also accepted with a shrug the paranoidal knowledge that Even My Best Friends Won't Tell Me.

And, believe me, I've known what it's like to plod through life convinced that you're Only Half Safe.

These challenges to my inner peace have never been particularly pleasant to live with.

But at least in the past, the same ads which destroyed my sense of security offered to build it up again, if I'd pop for a bar of soap, a detergent, a gargle of an adequate little deodorant.

Now, however, the Svengalis of Madison Avenue have smacked me with a social stigma without a remedy.

By way of a press release from a huckster named Russell Birdwell, I have just learned that I belong in the ranks of those delicate young men whom we may discreetly refer to as "odd."

And, brother, that's a problem you don't correct with One-A-Day tablets.

Birdwell, who, I assume, is currently being paid a fat fee to promote the hat industry, found himself a pliable psychologist and, after a brief consultation, issued the following statement to the nation's press:

"A noted Dallas (Tex.) psychologist flew into town yesterday and made the observation: 'Men who go bareheaded consciously or unconsciously are betraying feminine instincts.'

" 'The hat,' said Dr. Charles F. Mayer, Ph.D., J.D., 'is the symbol of masculinity. The man who voluntarily abandons that symbol is telling all who want to see that, in effect, he doesn't want to be a man.

" 'The king wears a crown. The warrior wears a helmet. The Indian chief of the past wore the feather headdress.

" ' Now, without knowing what he is doing, the man who goes hatless makes clear that he doesn't want to be a king, a warrior, a chieftain -- or even a man.'

"A world traveler who has visited the haunts of the aberrated throughout the United States and much of Europe, Dr. Mayer noted that male homosexuals (sissies) everywhere tended to go bareheaded.

"The Greeks had a word for it,' Dr. Mayer said. 'Anandros. Effeminate. When I see a hatless man, I instinctively wonder whether he is anandros. Too often, he is.' "

Can't All Be Prize Fighters

You can see my predicament. I don't even own a hat.

I've gone bareheaded for years in the belief that it staved off baldness. Now this Ph.D. who haunts the dens of the aberrated comes along and claims that isn't the reason I don't wear a hat. I don't wear a hat because I'm a (sissy).

As far as I'm concerned, that does it! When they try to con me into buying a Stetson by attacking my very manhood, they go too far.

And if that Dr. Mayer is looking for a real brannigan, let him just try calling me "anandros" to my face. I'll scratch his eyes out.