Red Hat Society

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mbanu
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Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:38 pm

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Thought they deserved their own thread, as the older red-hatted ladies of the Red Hat Society often seem to be tearoom regulars wherever they are active in the U.S. I don't know much about their tea culture, though...
Last edited by pedant on Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: mod edit: added link
mbanu
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Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:34 pm

Apparently it transformed from being a Southern California social club into a more national organization after being featured in the July 2000 issue of Romantic Homes magazine. I'm not 100% sure, but I think Romantic Homes is in the same magazine ecosystem as the other curly-script magazines, so their tea cultures might be similar. However, the Red Hat Society's founding document is a British poem about a responsible young woman dreaming about becoming an irresponsible old woman, so perhaps there is less of a focus on Victoria magazine style "return to loveliness"? :)

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wave_code
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Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:55 pm

where are you based? with this and your tea and B&B post you seem to have quite the interest in American "tea culture". maybe there is something deeper there I know nothing about but I put that in quotes because this is basically granny stuff - the B&B tea house think is drinking probably pretty standard bagged tea out of fancy looking cups and eating cake and sandwiches like some sort of weird mix between some southern plantation fantasy and a "high society" British tea room. lots of lace and doilies and things.

again maybe I'm wrong but I always thought red hats was basically just a social group for old women to be able to find friends or a social circle at an age when a lot of women tend to become more isolated with being retired or possibly widowed. I'm not saying theres anything wrong with that - social groups for all ages are good and important for people's general well being. I just don't think you are going to find some sort of deep "culture" here.
mbanu
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Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:01 pm

Well, you could say the same about "grandpa style" or "lao ren cha" (old people tea -- the older Taiwanese name for gongfu brewing). :) Why would someone be interested in these old-person tea practices? That is of course a complicated question.
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Bok
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Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:45 pm

mbanu wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:01 pm
Well, you could say the same about "grandpa style" or "lao ren cha" (old people tea -- the older Taiwanese name for gongfu brewing). :) Why would someone be interested in these old-person tea practices? That is of course a complicated question.
Is it though? Laorencha simply yields better results with most Taiwanese teas. In Taiwan it’s mostly either that or bubble teas.
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Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:43 pm

mbanu wrote:
Sat Oct 03, 2020 3:01 pm
Why would someone be interested in these old-person tea practices? That is of course a complicated question.
People experiment with different methods looking for variety, improvement etc. This year I've only tried 2 new teas while trying varying parameters & teaware. Why?

Over the years most of the times that I thought I had learned that some step is much more important than I had thought, or some little change in routine mattered a lot, eventually I came to feel that I had just enjoyed change. I fool myself.

HOWEVER! My newest & hopefully lasting belief, is that best preparation for me is to steep one infusion after another quickly and to combine all of those infusions before drinking any of the brew. Drinking all of the infusions combined may seem like it would take away the pleasure of noticing changes and transitions that occur from one round to another. There are changes anyway, if not in the drink, then in the drinker. And there is a financial benefit: When there is no time between steeping the rounds and steeping is very quick, I use the same amount of leaves that I would use for 2 or 3 rounds for Western preparation. This is my way lately and maybe forever. I got here by trying "old ways" and making adjustments.
Last edited by Ethan Kurland on Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bok
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Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:54 pm

My memories of US bed and breakfast-breakfast is incredulously looking at a a sad arrangement of little cereal packs, artificial orange juice from big plastic jugs and cooked to death, watery filter coffee :)
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wave_code
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Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:40 am

sure fair enough I suppose- if its of interest knock yourself out! Just don't expect to find much, particularly in terms of high quality tea appreciation or get useful ideas on preparation techniques or anything is all I'm saying - unless you are real into milk and sugar and all that and having it with cucumber sandwiches. again maybe I'm wrong because I don't tend to hang around with grandmas so much, but its not really about the tea.
mbanu
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Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:27 pm

Apparently they started schisming in the late 2000s when it looked like the group was commercializing: https://www.dailycomet.com/article/DA/2 ... 8095879/DC

There is also the "Ladies of the Hat", "Kaleidoscope Circles", and the "Black Hat Banshees" (this one reminded me of the old Monty Python skit, although I suppose it's all in good fun. :) )
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LeoFox
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:13 am

Wow they had their annual convention in august this year...with no sign of social distancing.

https://youtu.be/y6LaOAAIHEU
mbanu
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:28 am

It is not always an easy to understand culture, I think... Usually their philosophy is explained through poems.

In addition to "Warning" by Jenny Joseph, another commonly quoted poem is "Dust if You Must":
Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed.
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb!
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
Nobody seems to be sure who the author of this one is, although one common urban legend is that it was a submission to a popular women's magazine in England by a housewife from Lancashire who had never published anything before.

Perhaps this is a case where they simply aren't thinking about tomorrow, but I really can't say.

*Edit:

The Monty Python skit I was thinking of, if anyone feels like a chuckle:

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LeoFox
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:44 am

Too old to care about covid? I see that every time i go shopping..

This is from a better poem:
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:14 pm

Some trees are still standing tall.
They had time and space to grow,
For roots and branches to spread wide.
They still look strong, not sure to fall.
Next to the decay, they steal the show;
But no leaves or fruit grows to provide.

Now sooner, not later, dust is the future of all.
The tallest trees will join the dust below.
Unnurtured and unprotected, what can abide?
A tree can have deep roots to prevent its fall,
Be seen to stand proudly in sunlight or moonglow,
And rot in hidden places as it's devoured inside.

Ignore or deny this truth, if you have the gall.
You hasten the end, even if it comes slow.
Life is not ebb and flow. You are not the tide.
You cannot roll with punches; you are not a ball.
You do not know what you pretend to know.
You will suffer for this. You have nowhere to hide.
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TeaTotaling
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:00 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:13 am
Wow they had their annual convention in august this year...with no sign of social distancing.

https://youtu.be/y6LaOAAIHEU
These ladies know what’s up! All that tea sippin’ makes for a robust immune system. The NWO boogeyman-virus doesn’t stand a chance, along with it’s counterparts 👻 🏴‍☠️

Tea Party 🥳 🍵 🏴
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