I bought myself a flat cap the other day. I’m not sure whether it can be classed as an impulse buy, or a purchase caused by a gene in a northern Englishmen’s DNA that kicks in at middle age.

After all, as my wife (Karen), daughter (Rachel) and I ventured along the M62 motorway towards an out of town shopping centre, the last thing on my mind was to acquire headwear……. Well, second last thing on my mind after buying tickets for a Jedward gig!

At 5.30 pm, all was well as Karen and me stood waiting in Debenhams clothing section, as Rachel paid for a gift for her friend.

At 5.36 pm, I’d spotted a flat cap on a millinery stand which, for a yet to be established reason, I decided I just had to have.

There wasn’t even any discussion between my many personalities about the move. There was no gradual drift towards wanting a cap. The urge came out of nowhere, blindsiding me while it took me kicking and screaming to a mid-life world where people dress in tweed, M&S undies and say words like ‘Appen.

It just wasn’t fair. I pride myself that I act and dress younger than my age, vanquishing all potential mid-life crises hurled at me. However, from out of nowhere, here I was at 5.36 pm on Saturday 11th March the owner of a flat cap!

There was no pre-verification that I was happy with this monster step in my aging process. Who/whatever caused it didn’t give me the option of maintaining the status quo, it was a case of BAM!!… Welcome to a place of dentures, acceptance of baldness and the compulsory starting of each sentence with “Can you repeat that?….. My hearing isn’t what it was.”

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

When I tried the cap on my spouse, rather than ribbing me about my unlikely purchase, said she opined that the headwear suited me.

In retrospect, I’m surprised she didn’t start whistling the theme tune to TV’s geriatric comedy Last of the Summer Wine. I would mischievously have done so if had been Karen entering this portal where the hallway smelt of pee.

If it were needed, what Saturday afternoon proves that the aging process can be merciless imposter. At 5 pm I was sitting in a Costa cafe at the White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds, dressed in the smart/casual attire aimed at thirty and fortysomething men. Less than an hour later I was wearing a cap and being measured for a smoking jacket.

The experience has left me anxious. When will the next instalment of Gary Strachan’s plummet into his dotage occur? When the change happens, will he get more of a warning than for his urge to acquire a flat cap? Can you get Tena Mens on prescription or will it cost me a tenner?…… They are all thoughts that currently swirling around my neurological corridors.

Maybe I’m looking too much into Saturday’s episode. My headwear purchase may have been a mere one-off flight of fancy. After all, my teeth are all still securely in place, my hallway maintains a fragrant aroma, and I remain adverse to watching Antiques Roadshow. These are all good signs in my ongoing crusade against going into middle age without a scrap.

On reflection, the aging process may have won Saturdays battle, but it hasn’t yet won the war!



Leave a Reply