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Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Older ladies and the red hat society

I’m going to catch some flak for this post for I am clearly in the minority on this, out of step with the mainstream, and I can feel the slings and arrows coming my way as I write.

Have you heard of The Red Hat Society? If you haven’t yet, you soon will. And if you’re a woman, you may even be a member already. It is the latest “thing” for folks of the female persuasion who are age 50 and older, and I’ve been running into it all over the Web for the past year or so.

A recent story from the Albuquerque Tribune supplies a good sense of what The Red Hat Society is about, along with this explanation from club founder, Sue Ellen Cooper:

"It's about getting older together in a positive way," she says from the club’s ‘hatquarters’ in Fullerton, California. "Because there are a lot of good things about this time. The kids are gone, there's more time for yourself, you probably care less about what other people think, and there are new vistas."

It’s hard to argue against that, so what’s my problem?

The idea of this group is that when members – who use such adjectives as “sassy,” “free-spirited” and “convention-spurning” to describe themselves - get together, they wear - all of them - a red hat and a purple dress. The genesis of this is a poem The Red Hat Society founder discovered a few years before her 50th birthday.

Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in the slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

- Jenny Joseph (1961)

I like the sentiment, but I don’t see how showing up once a month to drink wine and tell dirty jokes dressed like every other woman in the room has much to do with the spirit of Ms. Joseph’s poem. And the names they give their club chapters make me cringe:

  • The Red Hot Flashes
  • Hattitude Hotties
  • Feisty Dynamites
  • The Grateful Red
  • Red Hot Mommas of Sun City
  • Racey Red Hats

There is no possible way I would ever tell a friend I’m busy today because I’m going to a meeting of the Hattitude Hotties. It’s not in me. Not gonna happen.

Like I said up front, I’m the one who’s out of step on this. There are now 400,000 members of The Red Hat Society worldwide in 20,000 chapters, and it is reported that the number of chapters is growing at a rate of almost 400 a week.

Given my position about older folks on this Weblog, I should welcome and applaud this club. From what members say about it, the group seems to provide them with a sense of empowerment for two often-devalued groups – women and older people. So I ask again, what’s my problem?

One thing is that I’m embarrassed for folks who describe themselves as sassy, free-spirited and convention-spurning. Like nicknames, these designations have weight only if bestowed by others, and people who really are eccentric enough to be so described are, I suspect, far fewer in number than almost half a million.

For another, I don’t see how wearing the same dress and hat as every other woman in the Society is a whole lot different from the men I see in matching suits standing four deep at the bar at Grand Central Station every evening after work. It seems, again, to miss the spirit of Ms. Joseph’s poem.

Or maybe I’m just not a joiner. I was never a Girl Scout because I couldn’t last a year in Brownies braiding plastic lanyards. I might have been more successful in the Web world if I attended more of those networking parties, but geez – there were so many other interesting things do unrelated to work and a girl can’t work all the time.

It’s gotta be me, right? Not the Red Hatters. I feel like a churl objecting to this group, which appears to be harmless, and I’ve not been able to identify clearly why they bother me. But I can’t let go of the idea that something doesn’t feel right about The Red Hat Society - for me anyway. If I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know.

[See also Crabby's Bad Hattitude.]


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Comments

The Red Hat Society make me cringe too, and like you, I can't quite put my finger on why. Jenny Joseph's poem, on the other hand is a long time favourite and always makes me smile whenever I read it.

The poem, quite lovely and well known, is a celebration of non-conformity, letting loose a little bit, no longer feeling the need to do what is expected, but to enjoy the freedom of being the individual one holds inside most of one's life. You're right; the movement conflicts with the nature of the poem. Although the theme and groups formed as mentioned will appeal to some, the poem is unjustly chosen as a mission statement.

I have been eyeing the Red Hatters for a while, even getting their newsletter, and I think what makes me wary is that they don't seem to DO anything. They get together for "events", but the so-called events seem to be for the most part, very tame - not participatory, but passive.

I prefer to be an active older woman, out there on stage and in life. The organization I belong to is Sweet Adelines (a name that causes some to cringe) - which is amazingly empowering to women through education and performance opportunities.

Good post, Ronni! Let's face it: we don't have to be alike to be valid people. I probably shan't be found at a Red Hats meeting anytime within the next 50 years (I'll be dead in 15-20, so maybe I'm stretching a bit), but I admire that they are doing something "for" themselves (whatever that "for" seems to be to them) rather than expecting someone else to entertain them. I, too, would rather follow active pursuits (I've never enjoyed watching sports of any kind--if I can't play, I'll leave it to the others), but it's their choice. I think part of the appeal is just to get to know "new" friends. As we age, we lose more and more of the friends that we've had for 20-40 years. If we don't fill our bucket with new acquaintances who may become friends, our bucket may be empty before we kick it!

I've just found your article, having avoided any reference to the Red Hat Society concept for some time. Like you, I'm not much of a joiner either, especially female-only activities. I'm a 61-year-old happily single woman who has NEVER wanted to spend time with "girly groups," be it Girl Scouts or Red Hatters.

Those personal feelings aside, I think the "ignorance" or "unenlightenment" of the Red Hat Society concept is even harder for meto grasp. Either they've never read the poem upon which they are based or else they JUST DON'T GET IT. It's about individuality, self-expression, uniqueness; all of which are missing in this cloned, commerical attempt at closeness.

I don't know about all the red hat ladies, but there are a lot of groups that are doing alot of good,we just started one at are church,and it is about ladies getting to know each other and pray for each other and are children. We go to nursing homes and have a good visit with the elderly.So we're all not so bad.

Well, what can I say. As a Red Hatter, it is a shame you feel the way you do. It is your right to do so.

First of all we don't all wear the same dress. You wear purple clothing in any form you wish. Yes we wear hats, and yes we do look silly at times. But we are not girly girls. Just women getting together in a club form. We have teas, play bunko, go to lunch, plays, cruises,
make crafts and try to help in the community or raise money for charities. We just like to get together and share the process of getting older with a lighter spirit.
Also, as for myself, I have a aging mother living with me and it is helpful to get support from many who are going thru the same things.

Is does sound like you are not a joiner and truly the Red Hat Society would not be for you. Or would it? You may never know if you don't look at us with an open mind.

Thanks for your post. I believe it is the first negative comment I have heard. Nice to hear from both sides.

Sheryl - Co-Queen of the TEAbells of Manassas, VA.

Kathleen--On behalf of woman-kind everywhere, my first response to your statement on eschewing "female-only" organizations is: It's a bit offensive and condescending. I should appreciate of your feelings and reasonings. My own experience has been that I have benefited from "female-only" groups in a way that I believe impossible from "mixed" or "mostly male" groups. As an engineer, I was usually (not always) the only woman in my classes, in my group at work, and in professional society meetings. I must tell you that I enjoyed and appreciated the men that I knew, but that I planned to actively court more women friends in retirement. Your experience must have been different, and I should appreciate hearing them. Thanks--

Kathleen--
Somehow, I deleted a word from the sentence that should have read, "I should appreciate elucidation of your feelings and reasonings."

I am also a member of the Redhat Society Ladies. Our club is called "The Red Haute Swans". We have a wonderful time every month getting together for lunch. Our mission may seem selfish because we do this for ourselves. We have and still are care givers to our families. My children are grown and my husband and myself still work. It is wonderful going out with a group of women and we do not always tell dirty jokes (well sometimes we do), and some of us do have a glass or two of wine, but so what. This takes us a way for a couple of hours from our everyday lives. We do not try to solve the worlds problems while we lunch. Infact, we don't discuss anything that is depressing or unhappy things that may be happining in our lives at that moment. We just visit and enjoy the company of other women. Our wearing of purple and red hats is a way of getting away from the every day ordinary. Those of you that haven't tried this group should perhaps try going to a lunch and perhaps you may make some new friends that out of your immediate circle. You may be missing out on some of the best times and friendships that you may make in your life. I know for me it is great. Each time I go I am so glad that I overcome my selfconciousness about what people would think when they saw me in a purple outfit with a wonderful red hat on my head.

I don't care one way or another about the club...never heard of it before today. A "little old lady" came into my shop today and I mean little and old...and completely adorable. Before she said anything I did think that most people wouldn't even give her a second look or even take the time to chat. She mentioned something about a red hat and purple dress club that I should look into on the computer(at least I think that's what she said). I was like, sure, I'll do that...and I thought it kind of sweet that an old woman would be chatting about such a thing. As she left I asked her if she was a memeber of the "club" and she said she just joined. I felt oddly proud of her. Many old people stay in their little world. Venturing out into new places is scary. People can be nasty mean. I felt attracted to her ability to enter a new space, all alone. I don't know exactly what I'm trying to get across here other than..good for her, go get that wacky hat and dress and meet some new people. I totally enjoyed her enjoyment.

I don't think that I will join the Red Hat club. I'm not going to say it's silly or whatever, anything that gets people together in a positive way is a good thing. I think it bothers me because it seems to perpetuate the idea that there's something weird or not right about being an older woman. Society already sets the older woman apart as invisible and worth nothing and just odd at best. Wearing a big red hat and a purple outfit is just odd. Why can't older people just be seen as part and parcel of the world? That's all I want. I want to be me in the world just as I am now. As I grow older I feel that society is trying to shove me into some little box where I don't want to be. I'm not supposed to do this, I'm not supposed to do that, I'm supposed to be this way and I'm supposed to live here. It's BS. So no, in ten years I don't see me joining this Red Hat Society. It's trying too hard. For ageing to be a more pleasant experience, or at leaast not so humiliating the whole of society has to experience a sea change. Just my thoughts.

Hi, I am a "Pink Hatter" in Peg's Red Hat Belle's" and yes alot of the groups get together to dine and wine, but there are alot of chapters like ours who do great outreach. As far as dressing alike yes the colors are the same, but everybodies individuality comes out in what they choose to wear and it is a lot of fun creating hats. My Grandmother is '89' in Oct. she will be 90 and she loves it. We just raised $4,098.00 for the Relay For Life and stayed all night out there walking it. We cook a great lunch and feed the people building homes for the Habitat for Hummanity 4x a year which they ask for our "Red Hat Ladies" to feed them. We feed 2-3 families a year for Thanksgiving and give them enough food to last for a couple of weeks, then we take them same families and buy their Christmas and buy food for them again for their Christmas dinner. I personnaly know that if I did not go to those monthly meetings that I would not be helping so many other people, because I, and 95% of my group are so involved with our families that you just don't have time to help on a personal basis like this and we make those monthly meetings happen. Everybody, woman or man needs a little down time and have some fun, if you don't like red and purple, and it can be tacky looking at first, but you grow to enjoy it, try some other colors to make you smile when you are really stressed from everyday life. We are all church members of different faiths, we all are involved in our children, grand children lives, work, and we do have a girl scout leader in our group. So it is not misrepresenting her poem it is enjoying life and helping others. RED AND PURPLE really does make people smile and brighten their day. I am sorry you feel so badly about it but maybe you can get just a few of your good freinds together and start your on chapter and name it a name that you like, I agree they have some questionable names out there but it is all about enjoying life and how you want to do it. We have more normal names than not.

Red Hat Society has become extremely commercialized, just everything else in our American society. It's a shame. Women wanted to make a statement with this club and it has been so exploited. That's what turns me off about Red Hatters. Also the conformity of all having to dress the same. I'd like to see someone show up to a Red Hat Society meeting wearing a bright orange dress and a lime green hat! And see what the reaction is. Would they accept that person? After all, they say there are NO RULES!

I am interested in joining the seasoned red hatters, although I am unable to find out any information regarding meetings, ect. in Buffalo, NY. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!!

My fathers wife has joined this group and I find it alittle troubling.Seems all they do is get together and eat.Maybe it should be called the Red Hat Fat ladies club? She weighs in at about 350 pounds so eating with a group is just another excuse.Seems all her ladies in the group are fat too!Whats up with this?Geesh...

Until recently, I was a "pink hatter"...unfortunately, the group I was involved wasn't anywhere near as fun as the ones you describe. For about a year i gave it a chance...but they were very stuff women who thought they were "daring" by wearing a feather boa in public but who choked on their tongue if someone said the "f" word or was too politically liberal! HUMPH! I got to thinking how is being a "red hatter"any different from their suburban grandkids who hang out in front of Hot Topic stores in the malls pretending to be cutting edge in their "goth" or "gangsta" attire? So I quit in May and don't miss them one bit...plus I lost 10 lbs from not "noshing" all the time :) Next women's group I join better have the logo "NPNA"...No PRUDES need apply! and I want to wear my own colors, thank you!

I use to be the Queen Mother of a Red Hat group. Well, the word "group" is a stretch...there were two of us!!! Anyway, after about a year and seeing all the commercialization of it, we didn't renew our group. We were down in Rhode Island on a visit and went into this little store. This was the first time I had seen Red Hat items for sale. The woman who ran the store was adorable. She told us about the Red Hat Society groups in her town. There was one for red-hatters and one for pink-hatters and they hated each other. And the red-hat group was voting to kick out one of the members because she didn't want to wear the "uniform".

What struck my friend and I the most was the idea that they would kick out someone for "non-conforming". Apparantely, they just didn't get the idea of the poem. And this adorable little woman in the store selling red-hat items was never asked to join their Society. So we gave her one of our cards and she became our third member.

Now I go into Michaels or any gift shop and am overwhelmed with the amount of merchandise. No thanks. My red hat is on the shelf in its hatbox. The concept has been ruined for me.

I know that some of the groups do good things and there are lots that live by the message of the poem. However, the message that's getting out there now is "conform" and "buy". Basically, the same message we've been getting our whole lives. Nope, no more.

I joined the Red Hat Society while I was still working but planning for retirement. Hated it! The queen mother or whatever was an x-IBM employee who reminded us of that hourly. Turns out the hatters were into fund raising and this involved allot of work and preparation. Been there, done that. The leader also used her audience to have cosmetic sales parties which benifited her! Silly me. I thought it would be a cool group of women my age (60ish) who would read a great book, take a road trip, yes go to lunch, laugh, talk, and just hang out. No. Very into ORGANIZED fund raising activities. I think many women join this group for the same reasons I did. There are few opportunities to socialize as you get older. It seemed like an instant fun circle of women friends to enjoy. The quick solution to the problem of isolation after retirement. The Red Hats didn't give me the result I expected. At meetings, there were always requests for volunteers to do tasks involving fund raising activities (fashion shows, pajama parties, lunches, teas etc). This would be incresingly intense when noone volunteered!
I do think there are some relaxed, "fun only" groups out there but they are very hard to find.

I would like to be a Red Hat club member but l don't own a dress of any color . How do you become one and how do you fine one in your area?
thanks for your help .

I spoke with my 52-year-old mother about this over the weekend, and we both agree. As a grown woman she and I both refuse to be told what to wear to any type of club...much less one that is SUPPOSED to encourage indivituality. My mother was invited by several friends to a red hat meeting. At the door she was handed a red had and told that in order to attend she must wear a red hat. My mother has NEVER worn a hat and doesn't enjoy wearing hats. Besides that, she feels it is silly that it is mandated that members wear purple attire. While she really would enjoy being a part of a group of women that goes out and does fun activities she refuses to be told what to wear, and so she is not going to join the Red Hat Cult (as I call it). I am proud of my mom, but I am also sad that she is forced to choose between being included in activities with her friends and keeping her individuality.

I belong to an internet red hat group because we are scattered over the country and only meet twice a year. We plan to have dinner, visit, go to a play or musical, and just enjoy each others company. Like many of those who wrote...I worked over 40years in the corporate world and don't need any more structure in my life. I want to enjoy my friends, travel and wear what I choose. I do have purple clothing and some red hats...of course red has always been a favorite color of mine. I don't like dressing in crazy outfits or going to the extreme. I want to be comfortable in what I wear.
I guess for some women this may be the only outing for them and their way of making friends. It seems that it has become just another commercial, retail business for a few.
Oh, well, each to their own.
For me, "the purpose of life is to keep on living and see what happens next"

I will turn 55 one month from today. A few observations after skimming the other posts:
1) Women Baby Boomers -- and if you want to hate an appellation, hate that one ... an entire generation castigated for simply being born! -- are busy people, and a lot of us from that era were asked to do it all if we also wanted (or had) to work outside the home -- so we did. In doing it all, many of us didn't have time for pure socialization, which the Red Hat Society seems to provide. That should be enough justification to get some of you free spirits off their backs.
2) I went to college in the non-conformist, hippie era of the '70s. Guess what the revolutionaries ALL wore? Army fatigue jackets and ragged bell bottoms. Just another uniform, love beads optional.
3) A distressing thought: perhaps the invisibility cloak society hands to women on their 40th birthday (or thereabouts) in this up-to-here, down-to-there sex-addled society is purple just to see if anybody will notice. You probably won't believe this if you haven't received your Birthday Cloak yet, but it is a relief to know that you never have to buy tampons, pantyhose, lip liner, or push-up bras anymore. Really.
3) Does it worry ANYBODY that thousands of obviously lovely and accomplished(albeit in some cases FAT -- so, Pepper, step forward and accept your Queen of Mean tiara) women feel underappreciated? Or need some sort of community other than mainstream society?
4) I'm amused/appalled that we have become a society of harpies who cannot have an unexpressed negative thought (surely, you can't all be Republicans! Just kidding -- sort of) even about something as simple as women joining together to have some FUN without getting drunk and showing their breasts to men holding video cameras ("Matrons Gone Wild" - get your DVD today!).
5) I'm not much of a joiner, but I don't sneer at the possibilities.
6) Commercialization is the way of the Global Village. Red Hats, Pink Ribbons, Yellow Wristbands ... what next? I shudder to think.

I want to join the club how do I do this. Is there a phone number? I will be 58!

I read an article about the society a few years ago. I thought it might be fun since I have always been the off-the-wall one in my family. I have always worn purple, been told by my kids that I'm wierd, and been involved in many groups that benifit others. Then the commercialization started and it lost all appeal for me. When I am old I will still wear purple, be a bit outrageous, and enjoy life. My kids will still say I'm wierd and so too will my wonderful grandchildren. I don't need a club to help me be that way. So I choose to be my own person and loving myself and my life wearing all the purple that I want.

Hooray for the Red Hat Ladies! Have read about them for several years. With all due respect, the groups I've heard described here by some members are not for me, but I surely don't discount those who choose them for an outlet. Sounds like commercialization, like so much any more, for some has done away with some of the spontaneity, freedom, and the non-conformity statement they might once have been about. For some, membership may still be about that no matter how it looks to someone outside the group(s.)

I say if there are women out there for whom participation in this group meets their needs, by all means join up. Maybe you can make your particular group into a special variation just right for you.

As for the Baby Boomer laments about having "to do it all," I do find that a little tiresome. Some approach it as deserving of a medal of honor, others as the cross they have had to bear. Either way, the implication is the experience was unique to their generation.

Listen to some oldster's stories. The generation before you had their fair share of women going to school and/or having a career, raising a family (some with unenlightened spouses,) and for periods of time during all that, providing necessary care for loved ones. Maybe some of our Red Hat Ladies had a taste of all that.

I have a friend who does not like the red hat society and it has become a joke between us whenever we get together. Does anyone know where I could find some "anti" red hat mechandise?

Hello! Well I WAS a girl scout and proud that as a young girl I could go out and help make a difference. We did a lot of charity work. Today I'm approaching the wonderful age of 50! I still find myself helping out at the homeless shelter and the food pantry. I don't need acceptance. I'm proud of myself and what I stand for and believe in. I don't belong to the RHS clubs but I give them credit to be who they want to be. I think the whole idea behind the RHS is to that we should grow old gracefully and not care about what we wear on the outside it's whats on the inside that counts. I love anyone and and anything that is a positive. I love life and people. I learned from my Wonderful Grandmother {who just turned 90} to just appreciate your life and enjoy every waking moment. So I give the RHS a big cheer. If it what makes you happy...GO FOR IT! ;}

I think you have the wrong idea about Red Hat organizations. They are definitely not all the same.

We are the Crimson Chicks, our chapter is the "original" Crimson Chicks chapter in the Clearwater, FL area.
You are invited to visit our web site at www.crimsonchicks.com Maybe that will give you some insight into a wonderful group of women who think that wearing a Red Hat and a Purple outfit is a great way to start an event.

We do not all wear dresses. We all wear Purple outfits and Red Hats of our choice. Variety is wonderful. Some of us have been on Red Hat events out of town. Many of us are still volunteers in community organizations.

Red Hatters come in all shapes and sizes. They come into Chapters with different backgrounds and find new friends. Sometimes members move on because they don't feel like the group is what they were looking for.
A lot of women are looking for new friends because at our ages friends retire and move to new locations. Our Crimson Chicks have been an active organization since 2001. We have developed many close friends who sometimes get together away from meetings. We are a mix of married, widowed, single, divorced and we have
a wide age span. It works well for us.

We once had a Valentine's cruise where husbands and friends were invited. Our Queen's husband is known
as "Mr. Wonderful" and because I didn't want to call my husband by the same fun "title" I call him "Mr. Terrific".
(Mr. G.Y. Terrific!) That's Mr. Gee You're Terrific! He encourages my participation and sometimes buys a Red Hat
gift for me. He even told one of the women where he worked that she should check it out. She has become my
"traveling buddy" when we take Red Hat trips out of town about once a year.

We had a "Puppy Shower" for one of our members and that little puppy is now an adult dog who comes to our meetings in his bag. He "hangs around" on the back of his "Moms" chair until after lunch and then makes his appearance.

Our chapter includes women from several cities around Clearwater, FL. If you would like to attend one of our meetings; well, just reply by email.

Hope you have a wonderful day and find out more about H'Attitude!
Judi (aka Chick Judio, Duchess of The Web Thing)

hi everybody i live in marina california. i just started in a new red hat group and would love to here any exciting things youve enjoyed doing in your groups. also if you know of any websites on the net that offer free red hat crafts [email protected] thanks ellen

Puke. File the whole pathetic bunch under "get a life."

Being one of the "Queens" of a Red Hat Society Chapter, unless you have BEEN to a chapter function it is no wonder you do not understand the object of the society...as You said, you would be embarrased to be a member of one of these chapters because of the names, or everyone wearing the same thing..DUH!! That's what it's ALL about. NOT being embarrased, Not caring that everyone is wear the same thing .. and having fun.Women because of society have always been presured into PERFECT behavior, PERFECT hair, PERFECT looks AND worring about what they're wearing for fear someone has the same color or style on as they do. Jenny Joseph's poem IS ABOUT shunning ALL that and NOT caring. Realizing that non of that is important, was IS important is getting the most out of life. And for some if it wasn"t for places like The Red Hat Society, they would not leave their homes because they no longer have the energy to be PERFECT.I speak from experience.

Hey, Pepper, how old are you? Wait until you're in your 70's & maybe you'll change your mind. Very nasty comment about your father's wife. I am not fat but I do love to go out for lunch with my Red Hat friends. We cruise, play cards, horse races, casinos, etc. After raising a family, caring for elderly parents, I believe we deserve a TIME FOR US! We are ignored by many young people, passed on the street as nobodies. Now we are Red Hat Somebodies.

Apparently I'm one of the few who never even considered that a husband and children meant I had to sacrifice any part of myself or conform to anyone else's idea of what to be. I've raised three VERY intelligent and independent females and am married to a man who wants me to do whatever I want (probably short of sleeping with another person). For the most part, I do whatever I want, act however I choose and say whatever I feel like. It's pathetic that anyone would feel that for any reason they shouldn't do what they want for fear of what "society" might think (heaven forbid!). It's especially pathetic these conformists need to "express themselves" within the confines of the group mentality. Do what you want - how sad people need to be in a group to think it's ok.

Variety is the spice of life. For some of you, being a Red Hatter is not a bit interesting. For many women around the world, it's the total opposite! Then, too, there are those who fall in the middle.

As for myself, I'm delighted to be a Queen in one chapter and a Lady in 3 others. We certainly do not dress alike! Some are very conservative while others are "far out"! I love the sparkle, boas, royal titles, fun, and attitude.

Those who see us gather often make wonderfully joyful comments. One day, I was with another Red Hatter in a parking lot while we awaited more to join us for a trip to an ice cream shop in the next county. While we were blowing bubbles along a busy highway with the purple ribbon on my red hat blowing in the wind, a man in his 40's made a detour to see what all the fun was about!

Later that day at said Ice Cream Shoppe, we were approached by a younger woman who brought her 92 yr. old grandfather over because he wanted to meet us! He had been listening to our laughter and delighted to see us "play dress up." Our wonderful day was made even better. You see, without setting out to do so, we bring more smiles and JOY into the world by our regal or "outlandish" clothes, bubbles, baubles, kazoos, and spirit!

The Red Hat Society is supposed to be about non-conformity & being a free-spirit, yet these women belong to a club or organization that has rules, such as how you dress. And everyone has to wear the same damned color! To me, that's not being your own person. My 68-yr-old mother belongs to one of their chapters & is the perfect example of older women gone wild. With each passing year, she, along with her friedns, get wackier & wackier! She dyes her extremely short, spiked hair this SCREAMING red & dresses way trendier than me! That's just the tip of the iceberg; there's much more, but I'm not going to sit here ragging on my mother. But the sad part is she is exercising her right to freedom to such an extent that she has no interest in family obligations or commitments & has made it clear that she doesn't want to be needed. All she wants to do is have fun -- if it's not fun it's not on her agenda. She has evolved into this born-again teenager & is this person who I, at times, don't even feel as if I know. I'm happy for women her age who don't sit there rotting away in a rocking chair & can get out to do fun things, but my mom has taken it the extreme. I wonder if anyone else here shares the same feelings about their mom as I do.

We have 3 Red Hat clubs in our town. Tonight, we are having a mock fashion show to benefit the sesquesentional event happing in our town this year. We have raised about 1,000 and hope to make it 2,000 before the night is over. We are older, but we are happy and love to get together. We remember when ladies dressed up to go out and we enjoy still doing it. We are not just downers, we have a LIFE> Thanks to Red Hatters we have fun

my sister in law wants to know how she can join your group she lives out of euegene ore do you have a group here jenny

i am not sure how i wound up reading all these comments about the red hat society. i was just looking for a place to buy a purple dress for a friend of mine who is joining the Red Hat Hipsters. however, i was intrigued by some of the comments here. i am amazed at how mean spirited, judgmental and small minded some people can be when it comes to things that do not appeal to them. i doubt that i will ever come back to this website but i would like to put in my two cents worth. for those of you who enjoy the red hat society, keep on having fun because there's a lot of fun to be had. for those of you to whom it does not appeal, so what, who needs you. for those of you who have to judge it and the people who belong to it and find incredibly boring phrases to criticize the red had society and all involved with it, find somthing more constructive to do with your lives.

.... as the spouse of a red hatter... I must honesty say ... you are old school...let the old broads raise hell and do nothing...you are too.. stuck in the 40's mentality ... remember how people in their 50's looked back then ?? look in the mirror...

I've never liked red or purple together so if that's a requirement to join, forget it.

Let them be. The last, very last thing we elderly women need is one of our own criticizing our sisters who are, from what I can see, harmless. Go pick on the Elks or Lions clubbers for cryin' out loud. Now *there's* a pack of strange ones for you. When the Red Hatters buy buildings for meetings, let me know, perhaps I'll change my opinion.

My mom has been in a Red Hatter's club now for a little over a year I think. She was asked by the group to make a Red Hat cake. They told her they wanted it chocolate and to look like a red hat. I like to bake cakes and my mom doesn't so I made one for her. It turned out beautiful. I spent all weekend making special purple fondant pearls, ribbon bow and a feather, and made gum paste purple flowers and made a beautiful red frosted hat shaped cake. My mom was so happy and excited to bring the cake I made to show the girls. When she got to the meeting they handed her a note saying she was no longer wanted in their group and they told her to leave. My mom offered for them to take the cake, they refused and never even looked at the cake. My mom was so upset. I can't believe anyone would be that cruel. How awful. I will never be a Red Hatter. Not that I ever thought I would be one anyway.
Just had to vent for my mom!
You can see the cake on cakecentral.com under red colored cakes.

I have never been a joiner. But, I have joined the Red Hats. As one poster said - we wear the same color but not the same style. Wearing a Red Hat in public is a style that only some can understand and relate. If it is not for you - you do not belong in the club. Its not just a Red Hat - its a way of life. No matter where we go - people always stop us an compliment us on our club. We are always smiling and laughing and having a great time. I guess some people may feel threatened by that - or maybe expect women "our age" to be home knitting in front of the TV. To each her own.

I am 51 years old and retired due to medical disability. I am getting tired to be in this house. I would like to join the club.

Thank you
Elvia Trahan
292-1963

I am 51 years old and retired due to medical disability. I am getting tired to be in this house. I would like to join the club.

Thank you
Elvia Trahan
292-1963

To Melody: I'm so sorry your Mom had the misfortune to be in a Red Hat Group that was so rude, mean, and insensitive. Unfortunately Red Hatters aren't any different than all other women. There are kind members and nasty members...just like in the PTA, the workforce and yes, the church. Being a member of the Red Hat Society just gives you the freedom to loosen your inhibitions a little...Kind of like wearing a costume and mask.
I have been a member for 4 years and have met women of all races and faiths. We have partied together, worked for charitable causes together and cried together. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to share my room with a complete stranger at a convention. The member in question hadn't made reservations because she had recently had serious surgery for cancer and her doctor did not think she would be well enough. At the last minute, he decided that if she rested often and took care of herself, she could attend. By then the hotel was booked. I got to know a brave lady and pray with her and pray for her. Three months after the affair, she lost her battle and through my tears, I still had a smile in my heart for the short time I got to spend with her and pleasure that I had helped her escape her pain and enjoy herself for a short time.
My parents raised me to be tolerant of others....and that means all others...those who enjoy being a member of the Red Hat Society and those who enjoy bashing all groups, ideas, and people who do not share their beliefs.
My chapter has eight members currently. The youngest one is 68. Seven are widows. Six were alone and depressed. Now, all are volunteers at the local hospital and get together with each other often between Red Hat meetings just because they enjoy each other's company.
I pray all you critics never find yourself approaching 70, alone, scared, and depressed.
For you ladies who want to know how to join, log on to redhatsociety.com. If you can't find an open group, start your own. That's what the rest of us did.

Thousands of us aren't joiners either, but we've found a place that is pretty much the anti RHS. Jill Conner Browne wrote books telling the stories of friends, family and fun from her perspective as THE Sweet Potato Queen (it's tongue in cheek, it's irreverent, it's darn funny and it's been around since before MTV was born) that led women to get together once a year in Mecca (aka Jackson, MS) for the St. Patrick's Day parade where it all began. We all have our own chapters, make our own rules and wear whatever we darn well please. We're all different, but for the most part we drink, we curse, we raise money for organizations in need and we are loyal to the motto of "Be particular". We organized thousands of dollars ($33,000+) for Katrina victims, sent gift packages to Queens in the gulf, and even organized trips to help out those in need.

We are young (20's) and older (90+), liberal and conservative. We are the best friends we'll ever have. We are fallen Southern belle's from Florida to Alaska, Italy to Australia. Every one of us is a Queen. Jill declared herself the first, and we're thousands of members strong, each one of us the Queen of our own selves.

If RHS isn't for you, check out Jill's website at http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com . Drop her an email and ask her about it- she responds herself. There's no beureaucracy, just fun, friendship and the best friends I have ever made in my many, many years of life.

We are ALL Queens. Be particular.

I realize this post is old, but I am planning a "red hat" themed surprise party for my mom's 50th birthday and was looking up information on the group. It never occurred to me that so many people think of it as a "group that dresses alike". I am only 27 years old and have known a little about the society for a few years--to me it symbolizes friendship more than anything. I have seen some of these groups at various restaraunts around town just having fun and celebrating whatever holiday is around the corner--they were wearing red hats, but none were dressed alike. It's sad that you all keep saying that they don't stand for the poem they claim--I think you all are misinterpretting the poem--it's not about DRESSING alike--it's about breaking away from the social restrictions society places on people over 50--so what if they do it in the same way as the other members of the group--they are still paving the way for those of us who don't want to just "grow old gracefully" but rather enjoy and embrace it all...stop focusing on what you perceive as the negative aspects of the organization and just be happy that these women have found FRIENDS with whom to share their life's joys. Perhaps that is exactly what is missing from your own lives...

I am a red hatter and became one when I moved to Florida so that I would get to know the ladies in my neighborhood. The name of our group is "Foxy Ladies". Do we really believe we're foxy, I hardly think so, although maybe some do who are trying not to accept their age. Since I live in a retirement community, the majority of my group are over 62. We all wear red hats of varying design and decoration and a purple outfit to meetings, which are usually luncheons and a play or something of that sort. It's a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening.

I just went to my first Red Hat Society meeting today. As a matter of fact it was the Crimson Chicks in Clearwater Florida. I loved it!! And I'm only 45...I am a "Pink Hatter" and will be proud to join these ladies officially and meet up with them every chance I have.

The Purple outfits and red hats are an outer expression of something far more important that is going on inside of each one of us. It just means..we laugh, we live, we love and we want to share a few hours once a month to get away from the daily grind and share joy and happiness with others. Today we made chocolate at a chocolate factory and then had a great seafood lunch down the street. Each chapter (from what I understand) is as unique and different as any one person. There are some chapters that I probably would never want to be a part of...but then there are a whole host of chapters that look like they are right up my alley:) It's like grocery stores..you find one that you like and you feel comfortable with :)

But for me , it's even more...you see, I have been living with Lupus for 14 years and just now got the diagnosis of MS on top of that. No one in the group knew of this except my lunch partner. What this group gave me today is priceless...it gave me laugther, it gave me interest and it gave me hope..and I had 5 hours of not even thinking of my health. My hubby was so happy that I was able to get up and get going. It made a load of difference in my outlook. I'm happier!

This isn't just a bunch of "non-conformist conformists" it's a group of women from 45-70 that care about each other..and who want to live life to their best. They are their to help each other and reach out to the community. They are varied in faith, ethnicity and politics...but they are unified by "friendship".

Sure, I'm sure I'm going to probably meet someone I won't get along with, but that's no different than someone at church, or any other type of group settings. That's just human nature.

I intend to do all I can to grow old gracefully but with a lot of fun and a big smile on my face, and wearing the pink/lavendar (for now) proudly, and I will be really glad to wear the Purple and Red when I hit 50!!

Oh and a gorgeous 25-30 year old blond and her boyfriend stopped dead in the middle of the street in their juiced up Truck today and said "Rock on Red Hats!! You guys are awesome"!! Now that made me feel proud :)

Thanks Crimson Chicks for everything!!

Hi. I started a Red Hat Society chapter three years in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. We are a fun loving group of about a dozen women. Some of us wear the pruple and red, some of us don't. We do have lunches and tea's, but we also do charity work for local organizations and other good things. But our main goal is just to get together and have fun. Our oldest member just turned 96 and has no family left. She said before joining our group, she spent her days in a recliner watching television and waiting to die. Now she looks forward to something more when she wakes up. Red Hat is not for everyone, but for some women, it is a wake up call and a chance to get out once in awhile. Not all chapters "wine and dine" as one writer noted. We like to think of ourselves as "sisters getting together once in awhile" for a nice visit with each other. I am thankful for these wonderful women who have come into my life. It's like adding family members to my life. They are wonderful!

I know this is an old discussion, but having spent a week on a cruise ship where a contingency of "Red-Hatters" were also cruising, I have to vent LOL

Years ago, I embroidered and framed the Jenny Joseph poem "Warning" about becoming independent with age.

I have absolutely no problem with women forming a group, society, club, or whatever and meeting to eat and gossip, or read books, or raise money, or gamble. There is no reason that having fun need be considered selfish.

What bothers me is that ANY group with age limits, dress codes and membership dues should define themselves as the incarnation of Jenny Joeseph's poem.

It might amuse you to know that the Red Hat Society's website is not allowed to post Jenny Josph's poem!! That says something about how the writer of the poem really feels about their society.

I think the red-hatters should find a poem about conformity and rules and use it as their impetus.

And a note to the person who felt that everyone wears a uniform - when I was in school in the early 70's and everyone wore the same type of clothing, I sewed my own weird pants and tops - I didn't look like anyone else - SO NOT EVERYONE WEARS A UNIFORM

I still sew my own clothes so I can wear whatever I want, hopefully nothing that is in vogue. Right now, my outfit is usually leggings because they're so comfortable (although probably not so attractive LOL). I will never fit in - - and although I'm old enough to be a red-hatter - I will NEVER join - I want to start a non-red hat group - I like blue - how about blue hats? for those who don't belong? . . . hmmm now what should the dress code be for my group??? ROFL

I'm Queen of our Daytona Beach Red Hatters. It's not for everyone. Most Red Hatters I meet are strong, independent, outspoken women. We're there for each other, and have a great time at our 'events'. I'll admit most of the population isn't into strong independent outspoken women.. so don't join or look the other way when you see us.. We really don't care what you think. We're not there for you, we're doing it for ourselves.
Red Hatters Rule!

Queen Thea ~ Daytona Beach Red Hatters

Could it be that you are not of this age group? Perhaps not. Something happens @ that 50 yr mark.

You seem to throw all those thoughts of " well just what would they think if I shoulds".........away. It really doesnt matter what anyone else thinks. It doesnt matter that their outfits are purple and their hats are red......people would still find a reason to wonder why. Those red hat ladies are really making a stir. Ive never heard anything but positive things about them. Could we get a few more please!!!!!!!

Now you mention it, our local branch of the Sweet Adelines is mostly older women.

It doesn't interfere with their performance in any way. They only compete with the rest of Australia every second or third time, to give the others a chance. They are too good.

Mind you, I'm in the men's barbershoppers, and I wouldn't be prepared to work as hard as the ladies do. That's why they are so much better than we are.

I'd like to offer a different perspective on the red hat society. I am a server in a restaurant that is very popular among the red hat ladies and to be honest I can tell you that the Red Hatters are a nightmare for restaurant staff. I am not opposed to the idea of the society, but the way they behave in restaurants needs some serious rethinking. In my experience they are extremely high maintenance customers, frequently behave as if it is funny to confuse and be rude to waitstaff such as myself and they are notoriously low tippers. To put the icing on the cake they ALWAYS expect me to split their bill in the most ridiculous ways that takes up a lot of time. When you expect your server to split a 9-customer check among cash and credit cards and split the cost of various desserts, teas and pastries while he's at it, he will be forced to spend time at the computer console figuring it all out with a calculator while he should be attending to other demands, not to mention the line of servers who need that computer to put in orders for the entire restaurant. I have been forced to give tables in my section to other servers so that my guests will not be neglected in order to make the time to split a bill for a red hat table.

I fully commend you for having fun with your hats and your feathers, but please be kind to your waitstaff and try to change the fact that whenever we see that cloud of red and purple floating into our establishment we cringe and hope they won't be placed in our section.

When we moved away from all of our friends and family I joined the Red Hat Society in our new town. We have lived here 6 years now and I can't imagine how I could have survived without this group of wonderful women.

We have an extremly large group, upwards of 80. We range in age from the low twentys to the mid 90s. We are every race, religion and economic station. We do not all dress alike, some don't like to wear purple, alot don't like to wear hats,(some of them wear little red hair clips). No one cares - we have no rules.

Within our group we have a card club, a book club, a gardening club, a dance club, a sewing club, a knitting club and an exercise club. You can join any of them you like, or none of them if you don't want to.
In addition to a monthly lunch meeting and a monthly evening meeting, which you can attend if you want we have gone on cruises, lots of trips, the theatre, a group has gone white water rafting, riding in a blimp and too many things to list. We have pajama party's, pool parties and just about any other kind of party we can think up. Again, if you don't want to participate that is fine, you will just miss all the fun.

Our city has set aside on day a year as "Red Hat Society" day. We can be and have been involved in charity work and civic organizations but that is done outside of the Red Hat Society.

We have fun and we laugh alot. If laughter keeps you young we will all live to be 100. Some are more conservative some more libral, not only in their politics and religous beliefs but in their outlook on life. There is not much danger of conformity it our group.

But after moving to a place six years ago, where I knew no one. I could pick up that phone and call one of a dozen people and tell them I need help and they are already in their car on their way here before they even know what my problem is. That is true friendship, and to me that is The Red Hat Society.

It is a wonderful idea to create a group of woman that get along and share amazing stories with one another. They keep each other company and keep life interesting for woman over 50! It is great that you all get together and become a family of women who wear red hats!

OK! Well, let's see. I have sat here and read each post and all I see is the same old "Human" traits rearing their ugly heads.
Jealously: Yep! If you ain't having fun, nobody's gonna have fun!
Fear: If it's something YOU don't know; RUN! Shoot it! Kill it!
Insecurity: What?!! Me? Wear Red & WHAT?!!!
You see that's just how our big beautiful world, with all its multi-diversified inhabitants, functions! If everybody don't understand it... it's BAD. If EVERYBODY ain't doing it... it's BAD. If they can't open a magazine or flip through the news and read or hear that the FDA or the Federal Government has ok'd something...it's BAD.
Ladies, we live in such a society, that it should not matter what age we are. We should ALL stand behind each other and support our neighbors in their decisions to enjoy life!
God did not put us on this beautiful earth to be sad, lonely, depressed or ignorant! He wants us to be happy.
I feel as long as the RHS is meeting for fun, not breaking any laws (of the land or of the BIBLE) then GOD BLESS THEM!
No I am not a RHS member. (Yet!) I am 43 and I will be attending my first meeting on January 16, 2008.
I will proudly wear my Pink/Lavender, just because I can! Not because I am being told to. No one is twisting my arm and MAKING me join this group. I CHOOSE TO!
So, if you must, continue on with your choices as well. Just remember, "DO UNTO OTHERS....."

You know the rest.

God Bless

For Ronni and the others bloggers who think the Red Hat Society is beneath them. I have no idea where you heard that the chapters only get together to drink wine and tell dirty jokes. That is far from the truth. We get together every month for dinner to discuss the activities that are being planned, i.e. theater, cruises, street festivals and any other cultural or worthwhile event. Did you know that most of the chapters do some kind of charitable work for others? There is friendship, support and camaraderie available to all who want to enjoy themselves. Also, as far as wearing the "same" dress and hat.... we also do not do that. At any given function or event.... you will see ladies that are in the same colors but show their personal style by wearing different outfits and hats. If you had really ever seen any Red Hat ladies.... you would know this. I have yet to see any two members of my chapter wearing the same outfit or hat at the same time.
So, no Ronni.... you must NOT be a joiner. And since you have spoken so badly and so wrongly about ladies that do join and enjoy the Red Hat Society.... I suggest you keep your complaints to yourself or to just the people that like your negativity towards others that are not asking you to like or accept them.

There are all kinds of people and all kinds of ladies. Some are joiners, some are followers, some are loners. No one is forced to join anything. It is a choice each person makes. It is true the Red Hat Society's only purpose is to enjoy life after 50. Sometimes some of us do need to "get a life," and we have chosen to join a group of ladies in our area and have fun. Nothing is wrong with this. With a group, we can go places that maybe we would not go alone. The purple and red make us feel special and people do notice us. It truly is not an organization. If you ever attend anything related to the Red Hatters, you find out very quickly that it is a disorganization.
I was never a girl scout, but when I divorced, I did join Parents Without Partners. By meeting and being with others in my situation, it really made a difference in how I adjusted. Now that I am over 50, it is good to be with people in my situation again.
I do not agree with everything about the Red Hat Society. In fact, if it was nonprofit, maybe I could support it more. Nonetheless, I accept my age easily, I enjoy my Red Hat group and will continue to do so.

I am a red hat society lady, first off not all of us are loose acting ladies, there are some with class and taste, the bold and beautiful is my chapter we are christian ladies and we conduct our self as ladies at all times, some ladies have acted hoockie all their life so they dont change it when they are old. we dont do wine or brandy or stuff like that we do things like fun raisers for the blind and benefits for the local orphans it really depends on the chapter you want if you want a lady acting chapter they are there you have to go visit the local chapters to see what they are like, one chapter first invited me to join was a harley davison chapter, i did that when I was 18 I needed a more lady chapter now, I have one I left the link above the ladies are wonderful and very classy, real ladies god fearing women. you would think you was family from the first visit, please don't judge all chapters by some you seen or know of. we do thing and have fun but we conduct our selfs as christian women at all times, love always Betty

my daughter is a pink hatter, she is 17 she said mom i had rather hang out with your red hatters with the kids at my school
visit our site,

So worth reading.
I have been in 3 Red Hat
groups..one I was a Queen.
I have been on their
Queens (purple perks) website and kicked off.
All of this has been a very
interesting window into a
world I was completely naive about. I now am in a lovely group - have a very few dear Red Hat friends
on the Internet and am
writing my book:
THE DIARY OF A RED AND PURPLE LADY...please look
for it..it will be a novel
because I have collected so much juicy stuff...

I paint. I painted a red hat and decorated it, thinking I could sell it on e-bay and donate the money to the cancer society. Unfortunately, I can not find anyone who will admit to selling on ebay. A friend suggested I contact the red hat society and they could do a raffle. Fine by me. I do not know who to contact about my problem. Can you help? Either wiht selling on ebay or an e-mail address of the person willing to do a raffle for me.
I lost my niece to stomach cancer this year. I would like the donation to be made in her name.
Thank you. Sincerely, Norma E. Mizer.

I recently became interested in the RHS when my cousin, a cake decorator, mentioned a customer requesting a special cake for the Queen of her Red Hat Society chapter. I then went online to find out what this society is all about and happened onto this site. After reading the many opinions and judgements and thoughts expressed, my interest is even more peaked. Is there an internet site where I might find out more information about individual chapters in my area so that I might better be able to decide whether I want to join it or not? Actually I think I do want to join a chapter, but not personally knowing any Red Hatter's, I would first like to know about a chapter's activities and attitude before joining one. If there isn't one already, perhaps there should be a directory of chapters for each state with contact information.

I am a member of the Red Hatters - something that I enjoy very much. Our group is a singing group and in our town we are very much in demand for entertainment - people really enjoy our cheerful dresses and hats. We do more than meet for lunch - we tour - sing and shop together. We also know that when we need a hand with illness or grief there is one offered, someone who knows us and is a friend, someone who knows our families and will help us thru the rough spots. For me personally I have proved that Red Hats (with the added singing) actually makes a drastic improvement in my health - singing laughing and friendship makes every medical set back easier to deal with. also we do not always wear dresses - and if someone came to our group with a lime colored dress and orange hat we would have a great laugh - but wearing a red hat and purple clothes is so cheerful (and we do get together and dye clothes) so we all can wear purple. So just try walking into a room with a sea of red and purple and see if it does not cheer you.

We each look through the lens of our own experience and circumstance.
Keeping the idea in mind that I do not have to live the rest of my life by today's way of being is self-empowering. Each new day enriches my perspective of how I want to live.
Having "fun" for its own sake--if a person finds value in that concept--can take whatever form you wish. Some people like company in this regard, some don't.
We can each decide for ourselves. Now, isn't that something to smile about, regardless of what other people are doing?

I know I'm very late to this conversation, but I feel I have to stand up for my grandmother, who happens to be turning 89 today.

She is a member of the Rowan Red Cats of Salisbury, N.C. She is also an active volunteer with the VFW Auxiliary, the American Legion Auxiliary, the local fire house auxiliary, and volunteers at the VA Hospital and state nuring home in Salibury. The Red Hat Society actually gives her a chance to eat out with her friends once a month just for kicks, without having to follow Roberts Rules of Order or have to volunteer any more than she already does. (She has earned the right to relax.) They wear purple and red because they think it's silly, but they don't wear the same purple dress. They follow the spirit of the poem.

Also, just because you join a group doesn't mean you're a conformist. My grandmother was born and raised in the south in the '20s and '30s and just voted for Obama. Although, for the most part, I disagree with her politically (I'm independent, but lean a bit right), I'm so proud of her for voting her conscience and not one way or another because her friends or family did. Her group has northerners, southerners, liberals, conservatives, and although there is not much cultural diversity, that's basically because of circumstance than predjudice.

I wish the author would have done a bit more research before she labeld all the participants as conformists, or wrote incorrect information about the organization. But if that was the case, she probably wouldn't have come out with the same opinion.

Ladies, If you have never been in a Red Hat group you really don't know what you are commenting on. Secondly,to be so judgmental you must not have anything better to do with your time. Maybe you would BENEFIT from being in a group of women who feel comfort and camaraderie with others!!! It would expand your horizons and attitudes for the best. A Red Hat for life.

i see that the purpose of the red hat society is good, meeting other women around their age and encouraging each other. but the red hat and purple dress are SO unnecessary

doing a speech on this group because I'm proud to be a Red hat lady. My husband past in April, and Ineed friends that was different from what we had together, I needed to find me and to find humor. I had to continue life without him. I joined RHS, and so glad I did.
I have found friends that are caring..
we join together in bond to help one another.
If you ever belong to a club you may have to wear a uniform, well think of the red dress/purple hat as a uniform. It fun to be different from the old thing in and out. It fun to stay out in a group and say I'm having fun.
so until you belong to a group, you may not understand us. That's ok, for we may not understand you either.
This is what makes the horse race.
one way or the other I'm glad to be a lady in the Red Hat society, it was the best move I could made.

My aunt is a member of the Red Hat Society and I must say - most of what I have read here seems to be so far from what I have seen. Yes red and purple are the colors but no one wears the same clothing. There is no uniform. Like in any other aspect of life there are some negative people but for the most part these are ladies getting together and enjoying life. They sing, they have the tea parties, they go on trips. There are fundraisers and sometimes it is just a way to connect to other people and make friends. I am twenty five years old but I can honestly say I appreciate what the red hatters have to offer. The poem is a basis of how the group started not a firm dictation of what must be. These are women who deserve a lot more respect then some of the name calling and negativity. Plus everyone should know the old andecdote that one bad apple spoils the barrel. That is not how it should be and sometimes we have to get rid of the bad to find the good.

Why can't women, or people do what seems fun and enjoyable to themselves alone without everyone else analyzing it? Join if you like; don't join if you like. Interpretation of the poem or many groups is in the eyes and experience of the beholders.

I was invited to visit the first club meeting I've ever gone to. A bunch of women enjoying getting together and looking adorable in their many different purple outfits (not just dresses) and cute hats.

I was happy that they were happy!

I'm proud to a Red Hatter. I look after an invalid husband and this is a chance for me to take a break and just relax. have some fun. We go to the horse races, lunches, Picnics, Each others homes for Christmas parties, Yes We dress in purple and wear red hats. we are not hurting any body. We just Live ,Love & laugh.

With all of the older women out there alone - no husband (never had one or have one no longer due to divorce or death), no children (never had them or have ungreatful spawn who choose to keep a distance), I think having a sisterhood to bond them is a good thing.

You seem OK w/bonding with other women who think the RHS is a sad joke, so that's kinda like the Anti-RHS sisterhood. Maybe instead of a Red Hat and a purple dress (and NO - they don't wear the same dress, only the same COLOR dress), you gals could adopt a black heart with a frown as your 'statement'. At least people could identify and avoid you that way.

I imagine all the haters and mockers of the RHS will grow into the old ladies the neighborhood kids refer to as the 'old witch.'

Hey wait a minute Dorka, isn't your comment a little mean-spirited for a lovely and carefree red hat lady? The author of the article wasn't nearly as testy as you, despite all those wonderful benefits of "sisterhood" you're experiencing. That comment had some real snake venom. OUCH!

When I receive my Ph.D. in Engineering later this year, at age 53, I plan to wear long flowing rainbow-colored garb. My family already thinks I'm eccentric. Just wait!!

When my husband passed away, we had five years prior decided to retire in a place that did not tax our pensions, put us at a distance from our family. Of course there is Church, volunteering, etc., but thinking about taking a trip on my own, or going to a theater on my own, going to a Broadway Production, cruise, were all the things I wondered if I could do on my own, but due to this Red Hatter (which is growing like weeds) solved that for me. Now have others to share these things with, even though my life partner is no longer with me. I do not think of as silly, but a fun way to make someone like me smile even though I miss my lovely husband, who would have been there and smiled and pretended to enjoy. I think it is a wonderful, non expensive (depends on the chapter) way for women to enjoy things that most men do not like. Some do like the shows, cruises, etc. but for those who would rather golf/fish, let us have our fun even if u want to laugh at us. We still have fun.

I am one of the youngest in my group of friends (I turn 50 tomorrow) and we have joked about The Red Hat Society for years, when one of us turn 50 I go buy them each of them a hat, I'm sure mine is waiting for me. We meet once a month for breakfast and once or twice a year go away for a long weekend. My favorite part is just sitting around talking, joking, laughing and sometimes even crying. There are no husband, no children, no boss, no work, just us. In fact our toast at the beginning of every meals is "To Us, Because It's All About Us" when in our busy lives do we as women get to say that? It's our time, just a few hours to enjoy the company of good friends and a glass of wine

I havn't read the entire chain of posts, but the first couple struck a nerve. These ladies are the kindest fun loving people who love to live life! I suggest you re-read the poem, perhaps take a few college classes in literature to broaden your horizon. The simple minded simply see strangeness, and they fear what they do not know.

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