Friday, 14 November 2008

Back to hat, scarf and gloves

We stopped wearing hats and gloves in public sometime after the second war. It's always been assumed that this was solely because of a change in the fashion mood, but I have another idea.

It's recently been reported that one in four passengers on public transport have faecal bacteria on their hands. And most colds and flu viruses are picked up through the skin of the hands by touching contaminated surfaces, such as handrails and hanging straps on trains, tubes and buses. So next time you look at that tube strap, imagine it covered in little bits of poo and flu bugs. Why would you not wear gloves?

Sorry if this is sounding a bit Howard Hughes-ish, but I think our forebears were onto something. And perhaps they wore hats to prevent the head-lice that infest the moquette upholstery from finding a new home on their own heads. And scarves to prevent the thriving colonies of bed-bugs that live on public routes from the East End into the City from hitching a ride home.

As public hygiene improved in the sixties and seventies, the hats and gloves disappeared. Now that we're back to the thirties in terms of public health, perhaps they'll make a comeback.

6 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

I wear gloves regularly, and a hat if it's really cold. Not so keen on scarves though, especially those dapper ones you see pinstripes wearing.

Nick Drew said...

personally I have taken to carrying a nosegay when travelling in parts of our fair city

(but no need in Croydon: Sanitate Crescamus !)

TheFatBigot said...

I've been a hat man for years. Broad-brimmed trilby with posh coat, flat cap for casual. Wonderul way to keep warm especially for those of us less that fully endowed in the thatch department. Can't quite do gloves though, makes it hard to keep control of one's ciggy.

hatfield girl said...

Wearing gloves causes trouble at airports; it's so unusual they must be removed, which involves a trikki bit avoiding touching those - no doubt covered with same as the tube - plastic trays. Removing and throwing away my tights after having to walk without shoes at Gatwick, before putting my shoes on again, caused ructions.

Anonymous said...

Gloves might have some effect on skin-borne infections, but surely hats do not deter headlice?

In any case, why not just have a tough well-developed immune system so that these things don't matter? That is something else that has changed in the modern era: we are actually too clean for our own good (well, some of us).

Bill Quango MP said...

Those big old WG Grace long beards of the 1800's were encouraged to protect the lungs and throat from cold.