Monday 25 April 2016

Red Hat Day

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
Jenny Joseph
The Roman Catholic calendar has a saint for every day of the year and many days have several saints doubling up.  The secular world also has a chocka-calendar; every day the fuckin' chicken another thing to celebrate.  Today is, I gather, Red Hat Day.  The Red Hat Society has been networking and supporting women over the age of 50 for nearly 20 years. In 1997, Sue Ellen Cooper, a California artist, bought herself a red hat, and later gave another to a friend of hers, acknowledging Jenny Joseph's poem.  It is a statement that you don't have to disappear or sit out on an ice-flow just because you are genetically dead. Life after menopause is also more than being a parking attendant for your children's children. Your post-menopausal life is likely to be longer than the pre- section, so it's going to be a long time waiting for the end [Linkin Park link].

The Red Hat Society exists to support people who fit their demographic. This involves local gatherings, called hoots, and more formal events. There is a merchandising section for fripperies such as red hat cup-and-saucer sets, post-its, notelets and bra-shaped cookie cutters. But also a link to the practical like incontinence pads.  There would be a lot less of that if health services privileged boring old pelvic floor surgery rather than sexy open heart work and liver-transplants.

It wouldn't be a modern thing if it wasn't monetised.  You can join for $20 a year, which sounds like a little money if you can afford $7.50 for a thrift store hat, which is how it all started. On the other hand, $20 x 70,000 members becomes chunk of money - much more than $1,000,000 and the merchandising is not a loss leader. So there is a head office supporting the whole organisation which in turn is supporting a number of people [all female & over 50, you have to hope] with salaries.  A hundred years ago, you earned money producing stuff - shirts, shoes, knives, coal, bicycles.  Now you make a living marketing concepts.  I'm straining nnngggg, nnggg to go viral myself, but it's not happening. Maybe I should start a merchandising section: Bob hats [eeeuw see thumb nail R], Bob mugs [unwashed so nobody else is tempted to use them] etc. I won't be selling incontinence pads, however, I'll be needing those myself.

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