- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2005

I was rather annoyed recently to find my name on the committee of an upcoming charity fundraiser. Though I had talked to the organizers about the event, they never asked if they could use my name. Now, several of my friends have called to ask if I want them to attend. The tickets are $500, and I don’t even feel like going. What’s the best way to wiggle out of this awkward situation without offending anyone?

A: It depends on how much offense you wish to take over the incident with the organization involved. Because it listed your name on the committee without your specific permission, there must have been a mix-up of some sort. Those responsible owe you an explanation and apology with a promise that it will never happen again.

You certainly are under no obligation to attend or even contribute to the cause. Explain the matter to your inquiring friends with a firm assurance that you do not want them to feel obligated to participate in any way.

In the long run, it probably would be better for you to decide to brush off the incident and be a good sport about it. You don’t want to be perceived as a person who would harm a worthy cause because some bumbler made a stupid mistake.

Q: When does a man wear a hat, and when should he not? Also, I’ve noticed that many nightclubs and bars ban caps and other headgear for male patrons. What is that all about?

A: Obviously, a man wears a hat when he needs to protect his head from the cold or, in the case of bald or balding men, from the sun. But you already knew that.

Traditionally, a man does not wear a hat inside a private residence or any building that contains dwellings. Offices, schools, banks, buses and subways, etc., are exceptions because such spaces are considered to be extensions of the public street.

A man always removes his hat inside the elevator of a hotel, club or apartment building when a lady is present. The reason for this is that an elevator is similar to a room, and a gentleman does not keep his hat on the presence of ladies in a house. This is not necessary in other buildings, such as department stores, office towers, etc., on the principle that such elevators are often too crowded for a man to take up scarce passenger space by holding his hat in his hand.

In the case of nightclubs and restaurants, men are expected to give their hats to the coat check for safekeeping. In certain establishments frequented by younger patrons, the wearing of baseball caps and other trendy head coverings, hoods, ski caps, do-rags, etc., has less to do with the management’s wish to observe proper etiquette than with its desire to restrict admission to a better-dressed (and presumably less troublesome) clientele.

Address your questions on etiquette and protocol to Kevin Chaffee, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002 or send e-mail to kchaffee@washington times.com.

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