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Please Keep Your Hat On
BALD! BALD! BALD! BALD!note 
When you see someone who wears a hat, helmet, or other cranium accessory all the time, eventually you're gonna wonder why. Then you finally see them sans headwear... and you realize that there's a very good reason. Maybe they have terminal hat hair. Maybe it's just a stupid hairstyle under there. Maybe their hair is very very expansive when not contained by the hat (regardless of how big the hat in question is). Or maybe their scalp is deformed or horribly scarred.

Not to be confused with You Can Leave Your Hat On or Please Put Some Clothes On.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Cap'n Crunch, in one commercial where he uses his hat as a boomerang to take out the Soggies, reveals that he has a curious case of male pattern baldness.
    • This is lampshaded in a later commercial spot where two boys are offering color commentary for the above commercial. They imply he might be cooler if he ditched his captain's hat - and then he takes it off to defend the crunchberry bush. Their reaction?
      Boy 1: Dude, check out the 'do.
      Both: Keep the hat! Keep the hat!

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest's Nightfall has perfectly normal (though voluminous) hair, but always keeps it under a headscarf except when she's literally letting her hair down.
  • In the last issue of the UK comic Buster, the title character removed his hat for the first time, to reveal that without it he looked exactly like Dennis the Menace (UK). Buster had to keep it on for copyright reasons.
    Howard: My lawyers tell my I've always been wearing these pants.
  • In the Radioactive Man comic book spinoff from The Simpsons, the titular hero has a lightning-bolt shaped shard stuck in his head, which he hides under a hat in his Secret Identity.
  • Vaughn Bode's Cheech Wizard, whose floppy wizard's hat covers him down to his navel, is ordered to remove it by some police and a priest - when he does, they lapse into a comatose state at the sight. In a later strip he mentions this to a girl who wants to see what he looks like. She persists and he obliges her, warning "okay, here goes, but I bet you go blind!"...and the last panel is a total blank.
  • Deadpool is horribly scarred all over his body as the result of the process through which he got his powers. When this idea was first introduced, it was given as the reason why he had never been seen previously without his costume (which covers every inch of his body, like Spider-Man's) on. Over the years, he's varied between always wearing his costume even in private and warning anyone who asks him to remove it that they won't like what they see to walking around in casual clothing as if he doesn't realize (or doesn't care) that he's unpleasant to look at, Depending on the Writer and/or artist. He is insane, though, so the degree to which his condition bothers him may actually change from day to day.
    • Deadpool's actual scarring changes from time to time as well. Justified in that his healing factor keeps regenerating his decaying flesh randomly.

    Film 
  • Star Wars. Darth Vader is probably the most popular example of this. In Empire Strikes Back, we see the back of Vader's bald, scarred head. In the next movie we see that from the front. He can only survive without the helmet if he's in that meditation chamber we saw in ESB.
    • In The Phantom Menace for most of the film, Darth Maul's hood hides his horns.
  • Played with in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, there is a running gag where every time someone mentions that Scott might need a haircut, his goofy hat will be on his head in the very next shot.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Yes, everybody loves Dr. Facilier's personality and style, but when he takes off his Nice Hat...his hair has the same form. And we're talking about a top hat.
  • The Adjustment Bureau. All the bad guys tend to wear hats... because their crazy bad guy teleportation won't work without them.
  • In Men In Black 3, Griffin, a fifth-dimensional being that takes the form of a Cloud Cuckoolander constantly wears a wool toque, except for one scene, where he reveals that his head is mostly a fleshy framework surrounding a glowing blue orb.
  • In Cannibal The Musical, the prospectors are drying themselves by the campfire after failing to ford a river. Humphrey struggles to remove his earflapped cap, and after it comes off with a loud pop, the others stare agape at his humungous ginger afro.

    Jokes 
  • After completing the wedding ceremony, the groom asks the priest how much he owes. The priest replies that it is traditional to make a donation based on the beauty of the bride. The groom looks embarassed, and pulls a dollar out of his pocket. The priest then lifts up the bride's veil, digs around in his pocket, and gives the groom three quarters, saying "Here's your change".

    Literature 
  • In Artemis Fowl Turnball gets badly hurt and "dies" from plasma. When he is revealed to be alive, he has very bad scarring on his head.
  • All the illustrations of Captain Sam Vimes from the Discworld stories show him wearing the Watch regulation helmet, except in Wheres My Cow (a defictionalization of Sam Jr.'s favorite book), where Vimes is shown without his helmet and with a corresponding case of greasy-looking helmet hair. But that's probably only that artist. Paul Kidby depicts Vimes with short, tousled, unremarkable hair that couldn't grease down like that if he tried. And according to Feet of Clay he's actually starting to go bald.
  • In Always Running a confessional novel about Mexican gangster in California at the end Luis meets a disturbed man who has lots of disgusting scars on top of his head that he hides with a beanie hat because of gang warfare.
  • In one of the Sesame Street Manners Books (probably Grover's Guide to Good Manners), it states that it's okay to ask someone in front of you to remove his hat — but the following illustration reveals that hat-wearer to have mass quantities of hair under the tiny little bowler hat he just removed.
  • In Savages of Gor, Cabot meets a man who never takes his hat off. In Blood Brothers of Gor, we learn why: He had been scalped as a young adult.
  • Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. And it's not a usual example, he has a face on the back of his head. Not just any face either; it's the series wide Big Bad.
    "Who's ever suspect p-p-poor st-st-stuttering Professor Q-q-quirrel?"
  • The witches in...well, The Witches have wigs on all the time because witches are naturally bald and leaving them off would expose them for what they really are.
  • Hadassah in book two of The Mark of the Lion takes to wearing veils 24/7. Ostensibly to hide her identity since she’s supposed to be dead, even though she isn’t at all well-known by sight—and because, as one character points out, people tend to be disturbed when they see how she was brutally maimed by lions.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom wears a mask to hide the fact that his face resembles a skull. The Reveal has become iconic, though the level of deformity varies between adaptations.
  • Recurring supporting character Sam Hawkins in Karl May's Winnetou novels wears a shaggy gray wig all the time to cover the appropriately gruesome scars from the scalping he's survived in his backstory.

    Live Action TV 
  • Zydos from Gosei Sentai Dairanger looks rather freaky when finally seen sans headgear. He has two volcanoes atop his head. Also a Visual Pun on the phrase "cranial eruption".
  • Seinfeld - George buys a fedora at a flea market and waxes nostalgic for the days when men wore hats - "It must've been a bald paradise!". Naturally he meets an attractive woman and has to face the prospect of removing it...
  • Firefly: It's more like "please keep your hair tie on," but River gets very frightened when Shepherd Book lets out his Compressed Hair. Even Zoe admits that it's alarming.
    Zoe: River, honey, it's OK. He's putting the hair away now.
    River: Doesn't matter. It'll still be there...waiting.
  • Doctor Who: In "Time Crash", Ten was put off by (temporarily-aged) Five's bald spot:
    Ten: Sorry, not something you see every day, the back of your own head. Mind you, I can see why you wear a hat. I don't mean to sound vain, but would you mind putting that back on?
  • A Different World had an episode where the guys gave Ron a really bad haircut while he was asleep as a joke. It was bad enough that the ROTC professor told him he could leave his hat on during class

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • In the Coast Salish tale S-Hal-Ikun, the title character has been changed by a great bird called Thunder, and if he opens his eyes the lightning will flash and if he removes his hat, the thunder will come. This does not contribute to good relations with his neighbors.
  • King Midas (the same one with the golden touch) made a bad call on a divine music contest and the gods cursed him with donkey's ears as punishment. He hid it by making tall caps a fashion statement, but his Chatty Hairdresser knew the truth...

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In the early 1950s, when Beetle Bailey was still a college student, he removed his hat exactly once in the classroom. The professor told him to put it back on.
  • Doonesbury. B.D. has been wearing some manner of helmet for decades. When it's finally removed, it is...quite normal hair and he wasn't sure what the big deal had been.
  • One storyline in Get Fuzzy has Rob accidentally going bald when Bucky puts hair removal cream in the shampoo. He spends his period of baldness with a baseball hat on, except when showing Joe what happened. At that point, a coworker looks alarmed and tells him, "Woah! Keep the lid on, Kojack!"
  • Happens in a Peanuts strip when Peppermint Patty wears her ski cap into class. Her teacher tells her to take it off, but when she does, her hair is so wild and unruly that she is immediately told to put it back on.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Razputin, the hero of Psychonauts, wears an aviator's cap and goggles throughout the entire game, until the denouement, where he is made an official Psychonaut. He gains a sweater and loses the aviator cap - and the hair revealed by this fashion change looks like it's in desperate need of combing.
    • Dogen Boole wears a special tinfoil hat to prevent him from accidentally exploding people's heads. "Please keep your hat on" indeed.
  • Flint in MOTHER 3: His hat's brim is kept low until the very end of the game, wherein it is revealed that he's bald. "Bald as a bean".
  • The Engineer in Team Fortress 2 is bald underneath his helmet. Meanwhile, Pyro is the only class that doesn't have a "no hat" alternate hat, so fan theories have run wild about what exactly is under his ubiquitous gas mask, ranging from a horribly scarred or deformed freak to a hot woman. Someone even made a video where the Pyro reveals themselves to be Half Life 3.
    • Soldier looks kind of weird without his helmet. This is probably due to his sloping forehead and enormous chin, which gives him a vaguely simian or Neanderthal appearance.
  • The Doom Riders from Jet Set Radio Future wear helmets all the time because of massive skull injuries.
  • The Hunter from Left 4 Dead, whose hood hides Tears of Blood and possibly a complete lack of eyes. ("Possibly" because they may have been left unrendered to save on polygons. It's not like that part of his face was meant to be visible, after all.)
  • In Loom, rumor has it that looking under a Weaver's hood is fatal. When the main character, a Weaver, is captured, the guard can't resist finding out if it's true. Cue a black screen, a horrified scream, and then the game returning with the guard mysteriously vanished. Yeah, it seems like the hood's there for a VERY good reason.
    • If you play on Expert difficulty, you get to see what happens: there's nothing but an inky black head-shaped void beneath with two glowing lights for eyes, and the guard is sucked into the void and disappears before Bobbin puts his hood back up with a smug comment about having warned him.
  • Nergal of Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword wears a turban which hangs low enough to cover his right eye. In the final chapter, he removes it to reveal a massive scar distorting that eye, inflicted by Athos centuries ago.

    Webcomics 
  • In Unsounded, Duane always wears his hood up, and for good reason, too.
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage's face is usually obscured by the shadow of his hat. Seeing his face is known to induce madness, and may even destroy the universe.
  • In Achewood, one strip indicates that the reason Ray never takes off his glasses is because he sold his eyes to pay for the first Achewood book.
  • In Girl Genius, Ol' Man Death has a Very Nice Hat. He also has Very Bad Hat-hair under it.
  • Jameson from Girls with Slingshots is shown to always wear a bandana or cap on his head. We later find out that he has early onset male pattern baldness.
    • Except for one tuft of hair. The rest of the cast spends a long time trying to persuade him to shave the tuft, because it looks ridiculous.
  • Ananth in Johnny Wander is never pictured without his baseball cap pulled down low over his eyes. This is explained here... the effect is rather familiar.
  • A bit of a Running Gag for Rick O'Shay in Bob and George, along with his chronic Schedule Slip. It's been proposed that he has, among other things, a demonic soul-stealing abomination, a bad case of helmet hair, or shiny pink Bishōnen hair. Mini-Rick appears to keep several Met helmets under his Met helmet in a sort of infinite loop of Met helmets—he's seen pulling one off yet having another one under it...yet is also able to manifest the aforementioned shiny pink hair by taking off his helmet. Rule of Funny is to blame, most likely. Amusingly enough, it's the pink Bishonen hair that's freaked out the most people in the comics.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Used as a Discussed Trope in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Almost Got 'im" (and undoubtedly many times in the comics as well), with Penguin and Joker wondering if Batman covers his head with a mask because someone blew part of his face off.
    Penguin: It's obvious our caped friend suffered some crime-related trauma when he was younger. Perhaps an over-anxious mugger blew off a piece of his face.
    Joker: Sure, he could be all gross and disgusting under that mask!
    (Two-Face crushes the half-and-half carton he's pouring into his coffee)
    Joker: Uh, no offense, Harv.
  • Downplayed/Played for Laughs in an ad for Batman Beyond. Terry takes off the mask and asks Max if being Batman has given him a suspicious nature.
    Max: Yes, along with a serious case of hood hair.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold uses this for a Discussed Trope again when the Red Hood is about to remove his helmet, warning Batman against what he is about to see. A discretion shot serves to delay The Reveal: The heroic Red Hood is a Mirror Universe analogue of The Joker.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Edd is always wearing a sock on his head. Sometimes it comes off and the other characters stare at it in horror and shock, although what is being seen is never shown to the audience.
  • Dumb Donald in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids constantly wears a pink stocking cap that covers most of his face. In the movie, he eventually takes it off while in the real world, revealing he has a handsome face. When he goes back into the TV world, the only parts of his face that show up are the parts visible through the hat - mainly two pairs of eyes floating in midair. According to the other Cosby Kids, it's because the animators never had reason to actually draw him a full face.
  • Dale Gribble in King of the Hill wears his cap to cover his bald head nearly constantly - he was quite upset when he had to take it off for an office job.
  • Roger, from The Life and Times of Juniper Lee actually has an afro, though most of the time you'd never know thanks to the hat.
  • Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls wears a giant helmet on his head to hide his enlarged brain.
  • Kyle from South Park is shown with a huge red Jewfro when not wearing his hat.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: King Neptune from the movie needs to keep his crown on at all times, because his thinning head painfully blinds everyone who sees it. Another reason, of course, is that he's in permanent denial about being bald.
  • Blackarachnia's helmet from Transformers Animated. She often talks about her horrible organic mutation while looking much like any other 'bot but with an animal-like transformation, and... for a cartoon robot purple spider lady, she's kinda hot. Since she's from a race of Mechanical Lifeforms, most viewers didn't even realize it was a helmet and not her real face until either it came off (or they noticed it lying on the ground before her transformation.) It seemed like it was an Informed Flaw, or the Fantastic Racism talking (whatever she looked like, a techno-organic is disgusting to Cybertronians for being techno-organic, perhaps?) Then comes "Predacons Rising" (the episode, not the TF: Prime movie) and we see her real face for the first time. You can definitely see what the fuss is about.
  • The Venture Bros. - the lady cosmonaut on the Venture Industries space station has a stunning figure in her form fitting space suit, and a face (unseen) that startles and horrifies. When she and Brock have sex, he requests she keep her helmet on.
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a policeman removes his old-fashioned British police helmet to reveal that his head is the same shape as the helmet.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Friends Without Benefits", it is shown that reason Meg wears a hat is because her heart is located in her head. It's not a pretty sight. Even though she's been seen without a hat plenty of times.
    • Death also keeps his hood up because underneath it he has a rotting, unmoving skull.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Pranks and Greens", Bart makes friends with the school's former resident prankster. When he takes his hat off, revealing a bald head with a small tuft of hair in the front, Bart tells him to keep it on.
    • In one gag, one of the bullies Jimbo was revealed to be bald when his hat was knocked off.
  • In Adventure Time, the reason Joshua wears a hat all the time is to hide the scar he got from giving birth to Jake.

    Real Life 
  • Quite common in Real Life with balding men.
  • People who have had a bad haircut are often examples of this trope.
  • Also quite common amongst people with skin conditions, such as scalp psoriasis. Wearing a hat helps to avoid awkward questions and looks of disgust.

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