The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35818   Message #805459
Posted By: CapriUni
17-Oct-02 - 12:31 PM
Thread Name: Help: Wearing hats or caps ; Manners?
Subject: RE: Help: Wearing hats or caps ; Manners?
From Larry:

As McGrath says way back in the thread, we Quakers had a tradition about keeping hats on. As a plain Friend I often (daily) go about with a broad brimed Quake lid. However, I do take it off in Restaurants and even before meeting, when in the old days you'd see us all with hats on in meeting.

As it was explained to me (If you've heard a different history, Larry, I'd like to hear it), the practice of taking a hat off indoors started in the Middle Ages, or thereabouts, when it was required for lower born people to take their hats off in the presence of a fuedal lord (and use the formal "you" and "ye" instead of the familiar "thou" and "thee").

But the teaching of the Friends is that we all have the Spirit of Christ within, and therefore are all equal, and so for that reason, they kept their hats on (and also, for that reason, used "thee" and "thou" in their speach instead of "you" and "ye"). Removing the hat when someone is speaking in Meeting is a sign of respect of the Spirit of Christ, who is speaking though them.

The wearing of hats and the use of thee and thou have been dropped by many Friends these days, simply because the social context, and therefore, the meaning of these symbols, has changed.

But I know several Friends who still will not use "Mr." or "Mrs. Miss, Ms." in formal address, because these are all contractions of Master and Mistress... and only God is our Master. Instead, in formal adress, they will use the person's full name (Instead of saying: "Hello, Mr. Smith" they will say: "Hello, John Smith").

...It really blew my grandmother away, when, in the early 1900's my grandfather introduced her to the family as "Josephine Andrews" -- she was her own person, and not just her father's daughter! (Imagine That!)

Mostly, though, since as Gurney pointed out:

So, if a woman covers her hair in church, or her whole body in the street, if a man uncovers his head in church, won't eat if there is a woman at the table, burps loudly after a meal, it's all good manners SOMEWHERE.

And since we cannot know, by looking, why people show the manners that they do (and I'm using that term in the broadest sense possible, as in habits), I think it is most polite of us to assume that they are not being impolite... ;-)