Hoods, so common today, are often found in urban areas, both in the US and Europe, with Asia coming up strong on the outside and Africa falling well behind. They can be very useful in the incident of rain and most people over the age of 60 have a fear of them.
Hoods are often sported by dickheads, the garment and the individual having acquired the same moniker. How can this be? Let us examine the evolution of the garment from rain protection to dickhead cover.
It's often believed, erroneously, that the inventor of this distinctive garment feature was Mr. Hood. Though tempting, recent scholarly research leads in another direction -- the garment was named for Mt. Hood, in Oregon.
As part of the Pacific Northwest temperate rain forest, Oregon (and Washington) have a rainy season that lasts from approximately September to June. Pre-modern residents fashioned head covers from cedar bark, holding them over their heads and naming them for the defining feature of the landscape, Mt Hood.
The early hood
The Snoqualmie tribes bested the efforts of those early bark-hoisters by adding a nifty tie to keep the hat on while salmon-fishing. The result was something like a bark bonnet, a good look for a macho tribal fella and sure to catch the ladies' eyes.
Naturally, this look was adopted by young people looking to get laid. As these people matured and raised families, the hood-wearers tended to cluster together, giving rise to the word "neighbor-hood."
Those who broke tribal laws, such as stealing fish, knocking over old people, or weeing on the neighbor's fire, often did so while wearing their bark hoods, so they came to be called "hoods."
The Clerical Hood
The reputation of the hood was, for a time, resuscited by medieval monks, who adopted the hood to remain anonymous as they both did the Lord's work and swindled the newly emerging merchant classes out of their money with threats of the hereafter.
After the invention of anonymity by the medieval monks, the practice spread. For instance, no one expected the Spanish Inquisition to adopt this distinctive look, but once the pious bishops saw how useful anonymity could be, it was hoods for all the inquisitors.
The Executioners' Hood
Come from the land of the ice and the snow and the midnight sun where the hot springs flow, Germanic tribes swept across Europe, bringing with them the curious custom of execution. Formerly, executioners had been smiling, rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed persons, but when they encountered medieval monks, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes concluded that the hood was way more Gothic-looking and thereby fit in nicely with their scary image.
So was born the executioners' hood.
Lost for centuries
Someday perhaps scholars will uncover the reason that the hood simply vanished for several hundred years, until it was re-discovered in a library in Alexandria 1500. It became all the rage in Paris, and thereby spread to the fashionable courts of Europe: Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, Copehanhagen, Amsterdam, London -- and the others, too -- Poland, Romania, Turkey, Greece and other subsidized countries whose citizenry wished to pour into London and take plumbing jobs. The hood became indispensable, a mark of cultural sophistication and a fixture on everything from horses to fictional characters, such as Robin "Hood" and Little Red Riding "Hood."
As the popularity of the hood spread, even those at the lower end of the economic and social scale could afford one. Soon, the early connotations of "hoodiness" re-asserted themselves, and those who bumped into old people on the street, lifted cans of lager from the corner shop, shoved meat down their trousers in Tesco, pissed out the window, or sported a tattoo in a highly visible places came to be known as "hoods," the hood being used to cover their dickheads. People over 60 were right to be alarmed.
Fashion has elevated the status of the hood, so that now many fashions aimed at the youth market sport hoods, hastily designed and poorly sewn on by Chinese factory workers so that these hoods are merely a fashion statement, and not the proper covering required by a dickhead.
And in the Pacific Northwest, the hood has maintained itself as the symbol of weary resignation and ceaseless precipitation.