Most boys today would rather walk to school bareheaded than wear a hat, even in driving sleet, bitter cold or downright blizzard, but they are only following their elders. A photograph of a football match in 1960 shows all the crowd in hats or cloth caps; even the goalie wore his own cap, and a woollen jumper. Go to a game now on a nasty wet day and you can see scores of thousands of fans - not to mention Alex Ferguson or Arsène Wenger - with rain streaming down their bare heads. It's absurd, but seemingly incorrigible absurdity.
I've often thought the same myself. Not wearing hats (and I don't include baseball caps) has become an unnatural national obsession. If you go to any other country in Europe, you will see people wearing a wide variety of hats; in Britain it is somehow deemed 'fashionable' not to wear one- in the same way it is deemed 'trendy' to go out of cold winter evenings without a proper coat.
We really have become a very peculiar people over the last decade or so. And the fact that Britons spend far more time on 'social networking' sites such as 'Facebook' and 'My Space' than their European counterparts is further evidence of how dysfunctional normal social interraction has become. The Spanish, French, Belgians and Italians don't spend their spare time logging into Facebook because they are too busy socialising in the real world. And because of this, they know, far better than the British seem to do, the difference between a 'friend' and an acquaintance.