How does a kippah stay on?
May 13, 2008 7:53 AM   Subscribe

JewishFilter: how do Jewish people wear a kippah (aka yarmulke) without it falling off every ten seconds? We're just talking about this at work, Google fails us, and we can't figure it out, it seems like it would fall off whenever you moved.
posted by paperclip to Religion & Philosophy (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not 100% certain, but in middle school I had a Conservative Jewish friend who used to call these "keep-on clips" and said all her male friends and relatives used them to keep their kippahs on.
posted by chihiro at 8:00 AM on May 13, 2008

That is the case. My friend always had a clip for his.
posted by zennoshinjou at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2008

Not trying to be funny, but I never thought about this before; what about bald Jews? Can they still wear kippah?
posted by Pecinpah at 8:03 AM on May 13, 2008

There are also there velcro-ish strips that you can attach to the inside with adhesive backing. For some people's hair this works better.
posted by frieze at 8:05 AM on May 13, 2008

Bald Jews definitely can wear kippah; I have seen it. However, I'm not sure how it stays on and I felt bad asking ("Hey, cueball! You using double-sided tape under there??").
posted by crinklebat at 8:09 AM on May 13, 2008's a hat. It just kinda fits on your head. I guess people who wear them at all times might use clips, but we reform Jews who just wear them in temple don't usually use them, as far as I know. Even the bald ones.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:11 AM on May 13, 2008

Yep, I wear one just about every day, and I always use two of these:

The bald folks actually have a somewhat easier time, especially if they wear kippot made out of a material like suede, which seems to have a higher coefficient of friction on a bald pate.

That previous sentence may may well be the only time that all of those words have appeared together in the same place.
posted by AngerBoy at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2008 [6 favorites]

Thanks for the good answers, now I know.
posted by paperclip at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2008

This was one of my questions to an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine, I said "Dude, how do you keep the hat from falling off" and he said "Eh, bobby pins".
posted by mrbill at 8:19 AM on May 13, 2008

It depends on the person and the fashion. Most people I see in synagogue wear a bobby pin to keep theirs on.

Check this out: Kippah Keeper
posted by xotis at 8:20 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

During Passover this year, I contemplated making a yarmulke with a suction cup because mine would not stay on my bald head. Back in my hardcore Jewish days (when I was also a hardcore rivethead), I dreamed of the idea of getting implants on my head and attaching to them a metal yarmulke. That would NEVER have fallen off.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2008 [5 favorites]

Anybody else laugh when they saw the username asking the question? Yeah, clips as necessary.
posted by LoraxGuy at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2008

Bobby pins or clips, mostly. However, I have seen velcro ones which are supposed to stick to your hair. I haven't seen them work very well.
posted by callmejay at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2008

Honestly, though, even without clips they stay on there pretty well.

Try this experiment — put a sock on your head and walk around the house for a while. Odds are unless you're seriously racing around, or experiencing extreme indoor weather conditions, the sock will more or less stay put.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

Amid all this talk of artificial aids I would like to point out that a kippah is not always a flat piece of cloth. Often it is concave and so does tend to sit naturally on one's head. Especially if one is cursed with an unfortunately pointy cranium like mine.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2008

I only use clips for speed activities, like football, running or biking. The rest of the time, surprisingly, it just stays!

The shape fits on your head.

New yarmulkas aren't as good, they're still stiff and fall off easier. 'Broken-in' kippahs not only stay on, but I get to the point that if it is really windy and it blows off, I can grab it out of the air in any direction with my eyes closed; you just get that feel for the kippah after a while.
posted by mhz at 11:09 AM on May 13, 2008

A co-worker of mine has his anchored with a bobby pin. But it does seem to be on crooked half the time.
posted by orange swan at 6:19 PM on May 13, 2008

Try this experiment — put a sock on your head and walk around the house for a while.

I can report that the woman's sport sock, folded in half flat, stays remarkably well on one's head.

It did, however, cause my husband to believe that I'd lost my mind.

I knew about the bobby pins already--got it out of a novel somewhere.

The sock's still on, by the way. Vive le sockhead! Puzzle your family! Concern the dog!
posted by Savannah at 10:27 PM on May 13, 2008

I use "kipa clips" (kipa or kippah = yarmulke), which is what I suspect chihiro's friend was referencing.

There's a(n apocryphal?) story of a rabbi who went to visit Casper Weinberger, who was the Secretary of Defense, because a commissioned officer wanted to be able to wear his yarmulke with his uniform. (It later resulted in a Supreme Court trial). Apparently, Weinberger put the yarmulke on his head to feel it out, at the request of the rabbi, and hours later was still wearing it because he had completely forgotten about it. His staff, it would seem, was somewhat confused.

Since I am balding faster and faster, I have begun to think about post-hair retention methods. I have discovered that (a) I have become adept at sub-consciously maneuvering my head at slight degrees to ensure the yarmulke stays on (b) the longer you wear a single yarmulke, the better it molds to the contours of your crown and (c) the single reflex of throwing a hand up behind my head when a gust of wind blows is lightning-fast. Seriously, I've made some amazing catches in my time, and this is coming from a guy who has trouble catching ... something really easy to catch.

(Anthropological note: I've always imagined there were sociological/religious differences between people who used bobby pins rather than "kippah clips" to anchor the yarmulkes. Thesis paper, anyone?)
posted by prophetsearcher at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2008

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