Hatty Japes

As the sun hammers down without mercy upon our poor benighted bonces, the thoughts of balding ginger people turn inevitably to how they might protect themselves from the pitiless beast without losing too much dignity. It's mighty difficult.

The first, very tempting, option is simply to stay in the house while Lucifer employs his great ball of fire to do his evil works, only appearing during times of darkness and shade but then there are only so many hours of Candy Crush that a man can play before he starts eating his own limbs in frustration.

No, I'm afraid a hat purchase is compulsory. This is a minefield for most blokes for reasons I'll explain forthwith. Women, owing to their intrinsic beauty, have to work really hard to make themselves look ridiculous in a titfer but for men it's almost inevitable that they will, no matter what lengths they go to.

It's a well known fact that nobody over the age of twenty-two should ever be allowed to wear a baseball cap and anyone who does should be condemned to a life sentence in prison. With hard labour if they're wearing it back to front. Unless they're six. And even then...

What else? What about those fedora-style beige summer hats? Trouble is, we tend to picture ourselves in the role of Indiana Jones, striding purposefully down the boulevards, too busy to notice the swathes of admiring glances from the women we pass. Unfortunately, the reality is more akin to the cricket umpire Dickie Bird in his later years shuffling to the crease after the tea interval at Edgbaston.

A bandana, then? Nope. Everyone will start calling you 'brother' and 'man' and will expect you to tell them where to score some hash and to be able to play random harmonica solos at the drop of a, er, well a bandana.

I suppose there are those 1980s hats that The Stone Roses used to wear but, annoyingly, strangers will confuse you with Bill and Ben, the flowerpot men and, anyway, musicians only got away with it back then because they were lithe twenty-somethings. Fat, middle-aged chaps should never kid themselves they're either of those things.

Every year, about this time, I resolve to buy a suitable hat but soon enough it's September and I still haven't been able to decide on a style for the many reasons outlined above. Inevitably, then, I'll end up doing the same this summer as every summer, i.e. holding a folded newspaper above my head as if - silly me - I've left my snazzy headgear at home on this one and only occasion.

Then I'll do exactly the same thing every day for the following two months.