Social Question

mowens's avatar

Why do people try not to laugh when they see me in a chicken hat?

Asked by mowens (8379points) February 1st, 2010

I wore a chicken hat to work today. Aside from the obvious psychological problems I have, I noticed something today. The people I work closely with, all thought it was hilarious and loved it. All the way up the food chain. However, when we were all in the elevator, coming back in after lunch, we were in the elevator with people who were very talkative before they got on the elevator were completely silent on the elevator trying not to laugh.

I wore the hat to look ridiculous. It’s a damn chicken for god’s sake, complete with eyes, beak, and the red little feather things.

Why would they try not to laugh in the elevator? Are they afraid to offend me? My friend in the elevator said one lady turned and was smiling.

I don’t get it? Why not confront me about the hat?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

45 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t have a good answer, but this makes for a great sociological experiment!

rangerr's avatar

After reading the topics, I started to do the Chicken Dance.

ucme's avatar

You were the chicken but they acted like cocks by the sounds of it.

Likeradar's avatar

I’m trying to think of a way to say this without sounding rude.

When I see someone wearing something ridiculous like a chicken hat, I assume that they’re desperately in need of attention and don’t know good ways of going about getting it. So I chose not to feed into it. Maybe the people you encountered felt the same way.

sorry. :(

CMaz's avatar

I don’t find chicken hats funny.

Ok, a little funny.

mowens's avatar

@Likeradar I did it because I like to lighten peoples day up.

plus someone told me I didn’t have the balls to go into a meeting like that.

Likeradar's avatar

@mowens Some people don’t see it as lightening their day up, or are able to have their day changed for the better by a guy in a weird hat. It’s a nice thought, if that’s really what you intended.

mowens's avatar

Where I work, it is very serious business. We see a lot of people at there worst. We need to keep humor wherever we can. Plus, I stopped caring a long time ago what people think about me. Life’s to short.

PLUS, it is amazing how good of a mood it puts me in knowing I look ridiculous. Imagine, a guy in a nice suit, with a chicken hat.

jrpowell's avatar

That is awesome. And I demand a picture.

MissAnthrope's avatar

All I can think is politeness or perhaps what @Likeradar said, not wanting to feed into a perceived need for attention.

Personally, I would laugh, if not simply due to the randomness and ridiculousness.

mowens's avatar

@johnpowell Someone snapped on of me at a meeting today. When I get it, I will post it somewhere for you.

Also, I have a pathetic foomanchu this week. The guys and I here are seeing who can grow the creepiest mustache.

erichw1504's avatar

If I wore a Peter Griffin mask, would we duel it out?

Jeruba's avatar

It is like this?

erichw1504's avatar

Or more like this?

mowens's avatar

@Jeruba and @erichw1504 Not quite that ridiculous. Why do you have to show me up?! These are AWESOME HATS!!! I may buy them all. My roommate got it at some convention. There is a website in the tag, www.basiik.net However I could not find an example of it.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

were you wearing it backwards??;)

mowens's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I did try to pull off the thug chicken, but not outside my normal work area.

I mean I do have some boundaries.

augustlan's avatar

You’re forgetting one important factor, here. You were in an elevator! Whole different set of rules apply in there. People are always awkward in that environment, even under the best of circumstances. Throw something ridiculous into the mix, and people’s heads start to asplode!

mowens's avatar

@augustlan Valid point. So you think that the entire reason people we uncomfortable was because of the elevator? I mean, it isn’t like I farted, I was just simply wearing a chicken hat.

faye's avatar

I would have laughed and asked why! I couldn’t spend the rest of my life not knowing. I am mightily impressed- I would be to self-conscious.

Val123's avatar

@augustlan Good answer. There is a difference between being at work with people who know you and know how you are, and being in an elevator with strangers. For all they knew you were a psycho just waiting to shoot the first person who laughed.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@mowens -Why coop yourself up that way? Let your creativity fly!!;)

mowens's avatar

@Val123 I am inclined to agree with the elevator theory. On the way out, one of the guards in the building wanted me to pose for a photo. :) I still haven’t gotten sent the picture yet! I promise to post it! On a side note, can someone leave me a comment on where you post your pictures? :)

mowens's avatar

@rangerr I got modded for the topics. :( I was trying to be humorous. I failed.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Maybe they think you’re serious business and they didn’t want to be rude laughing at you.

mowens's avatar

The last thing ANYONE thinks when I am in this hat is that I am serious.

DeanV's avatar

Was it this hat by any chance?

deni's avatar

i would laugh loudly. its a nice way to bond with strangers. nothing wrong with that!

mowens's avatar

@dverhey Good find! Thats it exactly. Although I want to buy the other hats that people found.

rangerr's avatar

@mowens That is an ADORABLE hat.

mowens's avatar

@rangerr It is surprisingly comfortable too.

daemonelson's avatar

Maybe they’re all afraid to death of chickens, and they weren’t actually trying to hold in laughter, but were holding in screams of fear.

Jeruba's avatar

I think the answer is Political Correctness, which has traumatized a couple of generations now and robbed us of some of our choicest humor.

I presume the people in the elevator were strangers. Your friends and associates know you and know this is not your customary behavior, or else they know it is your customary behavior, but in any event they know you. They see mowens wearing a chicken hat.

The strangers on the elevator do not see the same thing that your colleagues see. “You” don’t have any special significance to them. Instead what they are looking at is an instance of aberrant behavior: inappropriate workplace attire. They are seeing a chicken hat on some guy, which is an altogether different thing.

At one time they might have just laughed spontaneously. But now we are conditioned to accept anything we see and not take any chances on being called judgmental or on inflicting a blow on someone’s self-esteem. After all:
— What if you didn’t know you were wearing a chicken hat and they didn’t want to call attention to it?
— What if it had to do with your religion?
— What if you were crazy and dangerous?
— What if you had been condemned to wear a chicken hat for unimaginable reasons and were very sensitive about it?
— What if this were somehow an experiment, a test of them?
The worst sin these days is to offend someone. If they had laughed, they would have risked offending you. That would be a serious offense in the workplace of today, worthy of HR intervention. The safest course is to be politically correct about it: to act normal and pretend not to notice.

It would be interesting to perform this experiment with some controls: reaction of friends not in elevator, reaction of friends in elevator, reaction of strangers not in elevator, reaction of strangers in elevator. After all, you don’t know which variable—being strangers or being in an elevator—was the crucial one here or whether it took both. (I want you to try it with the hat that @erichw1504 found.)

They probably laughed once you got off, but only to people they knew and trusted. You never know.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Eh, in terms of my reaction to it, it’d depend on time of day
if it’s 8 am and I’m grumpy, I don’t care what you’re wearing, I’m not interacting with you
if it’s after lunch and I’ve eaten, I’d give you a smile since you’re seeking attention but that’s all

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Jeruba – I wish I could give you 5x lurve for that answer. You made me laugh and busted out the science all in one beautiful post.

Jeruba's avatar

Thank you, @MissAnthrope. I know I’m taking a chance when I mix in a helping of facetiousness like that. This time I guess it worked.

mowens's avatar

@Jeruba GREAT ANSWER! I will now be known in this building as the man who wears silly hats all the time.

The only problem is… if you do something over the top ridiculous… you have to do something completely different the next time around. Think of how much thought that takes!!!! It is exhausting.

Val123's avatar

@Jeruba I totally second what @MissAnthrope said! Laughing out loud! The “What if you didn’t know you were wearing a chicken hat and they didn’t want to call attention to it?” ‘bout choked me to death!

mowens's avatar

I should show this thread to my boss…

Strauss's avatar

(Sings) “la-la la-la la-la la! la-la la-la la-la la! la-la la-la la-la la! la! la! la! la!”
I can’t get that damned “Chicken Song” out of my heat!

mowens's avatar

This is my greatest question ever!

Jeruba's avatar

So—what kind of hat are you wearing these days, @mowens?

mowens's avatar

A squid hat.

Jeruba's avatar

Show us!

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