Murphy’s Law – In defense of Pharrell’s hat

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

I do all I can to avoid the Grammys. And last night was no exception.

But in this interconnected digital age we are living in, I still couldn’t avoid hearing bits and pieces of what happened. And, by far, it seems the most interesting thing to happen last night was Pharrell’s choice in headwear.

In case you missed it, the rapper showed up on the red carpet wearing what can best be described as a comically-oversized Canadian Mounties hat.

A lot of people rushed to mock his unique chapeau. Twitter had a field day. Even the fast food chain Arby’s got in on the ribbing, saying “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?” And, of course, someone made a @Pharrellhat parody account.

It would be easy for me to simply pile on. I could just go for the low-hanging fruit, saying that I heard Esquire was planning on rescinding his 2005 “Best Dressed Man in the World” award. Or I could say that he must be gunning to replace Brendan Fraser in a new Dudley Do-Right movie. Or that it’s ironic that he was in The Neptunes since you can actually see his hat from that planet.

But I’m not going to do that. I’m not Jay Leno, for god’s sake.

Instead, I’m going to defend Pharrell. Because deep down, in my heart, I love him for wearing that hat. I respect him for it. If you are all honest with yourselves, I think you do too.

Do you know how many fucks you have to give to wear a hat like that on the red carpet of a big name awards show? Zero. Zero fucks.

Pharrell is a rich and successful man. I’m sure he owns mirrors. He saw what he looked like in that hat. He knew how ridiculous it was. And he wore it anyway. The man is my hero.

I love hats. And there is some part of me (I imagine it’s the part that is glued to the show Justified) that dreams of one day owning a cowboy hat and wearing it religiously. I want to be Raylan Givens. I want to swagger into bars with a beautiful white Stetson and put everyone in there on high alert that a bad ass has arrived. I want to tip my hat to pretty ladies. And I want to use it to shadow my face when I take naps out in the sun.

But I’m no that guy. I was born in Maryland. I voted for Obama. I am not a cowboy, even if I did go see Garth Brooks live when I was in high school.

I wish I had the temerity to just bulldoze ahead with a big ol’ cowboy hat. I wish I was manly enough to ignore the mocking I’d receive from my friends and just wear what makes me happy. But I simply don’t have to courage. My head will remain sadly un-Stetsoned.

Which is why I love Pharrell. He did it. He stood there in his red track jacket and a hat the size of a small planet and he fielded every question Ryan Seacrest threw at him. Then, after the Grammys, he went home to his mansion, stripped down to nothing but the hat and looked at himself in a full-length mirror repeating, “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard. I’d fuck me so hard.” (Okay, so I’m only guessing that the last part happened, but you can’t prove that it didn’t.)

I think the world would be a better place if we all had the courage to be more like Pharrell. When we are kids, we would run around our yards blissfully innocent, wrapping bath towels around our necks as capes or climbing into dingy cardboard boxes pretending they were airplanes or time machines. But then we get older and self conscious and started worrying about how we looked instead of just dressing in a way that makes us happy.

So bravo, Pharrell, for reconnecting with your inner child. My hat’s off to you.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at

Comments (1)
  1. Bill January 27, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *