I have always felt that Streimels are way cooler looking than Spudicks, but until recently I never thought of their functionality, I only looked at it from an external materialistic standpoint. Just like the pancake chasidish hats, I felt streimels were more unique than their cousins the spudick simply because the spudick can be easily mistaken for one of those Russian hats with the ear flaps folded up. This alone cast the spudick down to normalcy while the streimel enjoyed its place on my pedestal of coolness.
I started thinking about how wind resistance must be very important to Chasidim, because they were always rushing somewhere, whether it was rushing in the kollel store nearly knocking me down to get the last box of shmura matzo or wacking off my side mirror as they sped down the shoulder of route 17 on erev shabbos, sirens flashing in their child filled black suburban, or maybe it was at some Kiddush when my radar kicked in a I realized that a huge chasid was about to plow me over for the last corner piece of potato kugel, you know that sought after crunchy corner piece. All this rushing had to put a strain on whatever head accessory they chose whether it was the traditional Stetson, the tall yet sleek spuddick, the shiny flat pancake hat or the famed streimel.
I realized that although the streimel had attained such a lofty level of coolness in my eyes, I was more about functionality and if I were ever to drop 3 grand on a dead animal hat, it had better be the most versatile hat on the market. It couldn’t just be good, for those lazy Catskill summer days, chilling behind the high barbed wire fence at the bungalow pool, yet it couldn’t just be good for the violent spin cycle that accompanies Yom Kippur musaf, it had to have the ability to withstand those cold Monroe winters, yet be flexible enough for a stroll down Main Street Woodbourne and withstand 15 children all wanting to touch tattis hat.
The qualities of the Streimel may not seem obvious at first, but after careful observation it became clear. The streimels expanded surface area makes for a good umbrella that is not muktza, the flatness also is built in a way that allows it to be thrown from the door onto the couch in a Frisbee like manner. So at least if they don’t have the internet they can have timesaving devices like the throw-able streimel. Those three seconds saved by frisbeeing the streimel instead of walking throw the throngs of children awaiting tatti, can be compared to the time savings of paying bills online, it basically cancels the time wasted by having to mail in bills out. The streimel can also be used as a beacon, it can be seen and identified from miles away, unless you are in the southwest where sombreros are common, unlikely since most Chasidim live on the east coast, although with illegal immigration on the rise, this may become an issue and possibly be considered assur- due to copying the goyishe ways.
The real debate is whether a spudick or streimel is more wind resistant since this is the main problem Chasidim have. Luckily there is no halacha with head the extra dead animal head covering. Later on I will do a sheitle and tichel wind resistance ratings. It is not so obvious so stay tuned.
The spudick has a more sleek straight forward look, causing the air flow to split only minimally, but is wider and flatter better than tall and skinny? This is the kasha, I am not a physics person so I guess the debate will have to be amongst the comment crowd. I have to say one of the strong points of the spudick is its ability to blend in with the goyim, I know this may be a little harsh, but sometimes Chasidim just want to fit in and what better way to accomplish this than with a spudick. The spudick can also be used as a battering ram, put your head down while wearing it and plow through everyone including women and children so that you can be the first one at the herring table. The bowing of the head with the streimel also allows bullet like performance and speed. Try and bow your head with a streimel and see what happens, chaos I tell you.
The spudick unfortunately cannot be thrown like a Frisbee and it may have the tendency to keep rolling when it falls off your head, from extreme Chasidic sports like yelling shabbos and throwing stones at cars in Geula. The streimel on the other hand stops immediately allowing for safe recovery.
There are some new revolutionary items on the market for both streimel and spudick wearers. There have been tests at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah streimels and spudicks that use titanium inserts and Kevlar stitching and they have shown that both hats will withstand a full collision with another chasid wearing a normal hat while running down the aisle at national wholesale liquidators for the last shabbos lamp. They are also using wind tunnels for these tests and it is rumored that once these hats come into use all other streimels and spudicks will be deemed ASSUR due to some random reason, like they were made out of animals that had mooms or animals that were used by PETA for worship services. Oh wait they are all treife animals anyway eh.