It's not just a ski mask


I love you, Wikipedia. The reasons are just...manifold. In a book I was recently reading, I came to a passage in which a character suddenly dons a balaclava helmet. I was at a loss. Baklava? Chef hats? What? So when I ran crying to Wikipedia, I was immediately supplied with an image, shown, that was graceful and bizarre and immediately comforting to my ignorance. This, Becky, is a balaclava helmet. You might know it as a ski mask. Its more formal name comes from the Crimean town of, yes, Balaclava, and the helmets were gifted to British troops during the Crimean War (1853-56) to stave off the wind chill. The mighty W also directed me to another interpretation of this shapeshifting headgear:

In the Indian subcontinent, balaclavas are commonly referred to as monkey caps, due to their typical earth tone colours, and the fact that they blot out most human facial features. Monkey caps sometimes have a small, decorative, woollen pom pom on top. They are commonly worn by troops on Himalayan duty.

Balaclava is cool, but I'll have to go with monkey cap. As in, excuse me now while I put on my monkey cap. I love any hat that can accommodate my varying appetites for public exposure.