Alexander Pschera

Alexander Pschera, born 1964 in West Germany, studied German, Philosophy and Music in Heidelberg. He is an author, publicist and translator.

Source: shutterstock Twisting and turning: Hats are useful props.

Endangered gestures:Turning One’s Hat at the Brim

A suitably protective convention

Let us commend those gestures which are called ‘gestures of embarrassment’ and which are often aimed at fashionable accessories or particular hairstyles. The gentleman who wears a hat and removes it in the presence of others, turns it with his hands at the brim when the conversation becomes boring or uncomfortable. Others twiddle their wedding ring, tap their walking stick on the ground or twirl the ends of their beards into shape. The hands feel restless, and it’s good if they can find an object they can work away at. The passing of these embarrassment gestures has led to the establishment of such awkward gestural symbols as the ‘Merkel diamond.’ They are individual gestural features which highlight a person’s weakness in such a way that they become representative of the whole person. If the Chancellor were to pull at her hair net or head scarf every time she didn’t know what to say, nobody would mention it, because that’s what all women do when they are baffled. The Chancellor would have one problem less to worry about. It turns out gestural individualism is a pitfall. Conventions, on the other hand, protect against a great deal, in particular against exposure ...

Translated from: Cato Magazin

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