My Cowboy Hat

At my age, gazing into the mirror is a dicey proposition. Don’t get me wrong. I’m okay with how I look, but dang if there isn’t always room for improvement.

Whatever fleeting objections I have to my imperfections, help is only steps away. Beverly Hills may boast more plastic surgeons, cosmetic dermatologists and beauticians than all of the states South of the Mason-Dixon Line combined. Bewitched by Botox, bikini wax, mani-pedis, eyebrow lifts, lipo, tummy tucks or Brazilian blow-outs? Then this is your town. We have more spas, salons and beauty doctors than you can shake a stick at.

Not that I have. With the exception of the time I needed to have my face stitched up after a horse wreck eight years back, I haven’t called upon a plastic surgeon. I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but I’ll get back to that.

For years I’ve been telling myself that as long as everything works, I can check my vanity at the door. Until now. The door’s busted down and there’s Vanity marching through, hands on hips, giving me a sadistic grin.

It all started from the top. Over the course of the past few years, my gray hair has sprouted faster than a genetically engineered corn crop. It dawns on me that my appointments with Cam, my expert hair colorist at John Peri Hair Salon in the Marina del Rey, have become as sacred to me as the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not look any older than thou must. That’s Vanity barking orders.

And you know what? Vanity has a one-track mind. She doesn’t care whether or not I’m healthy as long as I look good. Apparently she doesn’t feel I look good in a riding helmet.




Vanity, thy name shall be Loud Mouth



More costly than a Stetson





When Mr. UnHollywood or our boys ski or ride bikes, they wear brain buckets. Wait a second, I wear bike and ski helmets, too. Why should a riding helmet be any different?

A cowboy hat is a symbol. Raylan Givens of the FX show Justified wears a Stetson. Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley wore them. Cowboy hats harken back to all that is cool about riding; rugged individualism, bonding with your horse, sexy riders roaming the range. Riding is not just getting on a horse and moving out.

It’s an attitude. If I climb onto a horse’s back, I sure as hell better be able to handle the animal.

It’s a statement. I’m confident. I wouldn’t plant my tukas up here if I thought I was going to hit the ground.

If?” Mike Chipko, a horseman and trusted friend sent Vanity packing. “It’s not a matter of if you come off,” he chuckled. “It’s when!”

And then I think back to that horse wreck eight years ago when I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Friday I wore my GPA riding helmet for the first time, which says one thing about me:

In Denial No More.


Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 8 comments. Add yours

  1. 9th May 2012 | Carpool Goddess says: Reply
    I've given up any sport that requires a helmet. My hair and safety depend on it :)
    • 9th May 2012 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      No one can accuse you of failing to keep your priorities straight!
  2. 1st May 2012 | Hayley says: Reply
    I think the riding helmet looks very chic! Now the mischieveous face under the helmet - that could use some refinement! ;) Cute article.
  3. 1st May 2012 | Mike says: Reply
    Not sure where you buy your Stetson's? Guarantee a pure Beaver cowboy hats cost most then your helmet! Just not as safe! Helmet or cowboy hat you still look great. Happy trails.
  4. 1st May 2012 | RB says: Reply
    "...faster than a genetically engineered corn crop." LOL. Such a way with words you have, my talented friend!
  5. 1st May 2012 | Sandra Delnet says: Reply
    love the pics and the tale... ride on Lady "C" ride on.....
  6. 1st May 2012 | Valerie Berke says: Reply
    You ALWAYS look great, helmet hair or not!
  7. 1st May 2012 | Vera says: Reply
    Oh, no, Cindy, does this mean I am the only one still hitting the trails with only a baseball cap to cover my noggin? Say it isn't so!

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