Sunday, January 15, 2006

On the Male Neck Tie

(I've already published this post elsewhere but I'm putting it up here too because I can so there.)

In 1994, a week before I went away to boarding school in Sydney for year 11, Mum taught me how to put on a Neck Tie. I've been putting them on, irregularly, ever since.

Ties are pleasant to look at. They are colourful, they come in a peculiar shape, and are covered with a great variety of designs. In windy weather, they will sometimes hover in the air in front of you as you are walking before slapping you in the face. (This is uncomfortable for you, but at least it provides some amusement for onlookers.) They are, without a doubt, the strangest item in the male business suit. What do they do? You can use your pockets to put pens in, you put your coat on when it's cold, and a sturdy pair of business shoes will protect your feet from both the cold and rubbish on the ground. But ties? As clothes go, they're redundant. Their only purpose seems to be to identify the wearer as male; in that sense, they are vaguely phallic.

It's always seemed to me that there's something slightly uncivilised about men who do not know how to put on a tie. Several other boarders, for instance, would never put their tie on; they would simply loosen their tie after school and slip it off, and put it back on their necks the day afterwards. And then there are those people who buy their ties, tied, from the tie store.

What's the point? Most of the fun of a tie is in tying it up, not in wearing it. You might as well not call them 'ties' at all.

Even worse are people who will wear 'novelty ties'; ties covered with cheap Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny cartoons; or ties with crude football slogans written upon them. If what you wear says something about you, then surely, a person who regularly wears Donald Duck ties is askin to a person who wanders about the streets with the words, 'I am a loony' stamped upon his forehead.

There is little hope for the tie. It is a dying creature. People of the present day are relentlessly informal - they never use a polite word when a swear word will do: and no-one would wear a tie if they didn't have to. Especially not during the Australian summer. They constrict the breath, make it more difficult to swallow, make you itch, and make you sweat. In fact, you have to resist the urge to wipe the sweat from your brow with the tie. It's the little things like that that keep civilisation going, you know.


rascuache said...

I think ties are stylish if worn correctly, although i wish someone would come up with a vaguely feminine tie...i would wear it.

Ties are no where near as stylish as fedora's though.

TimT said...

*Scratches head* there are feminine ties, aren't there? Ah well, suffice to say my knowledge of fashion is pretty negligible.

I was thinking about an essay by P. J. O'Rourke when I wrote this on hats. His thesis was that the hat, since it is worn on the head, symbolised intelligence, and that the stupid hats people wear nowadays symbolised our increasing stupidity.

This would be the hat for me.

nailpolishblues said...

Cute hat. Are you moving to America?

Bruce said...

People assume that ties are constricting their necks, but they are really wearing the incorrect collar size. One need only tie the tie tieght enough to support the knot in the correct place. Wear the right collar size and those problems will disappear.

Having worked in tech support for too many years I also recommend the tie clip. This attaches the tie to the shirt and prevents potential fly-away issues in high winds and prevents you dangling your best ties in pools of toner or getting jammed in printers or tunnelling into the cleavage of the girl whose screen is not correctly adjusted.

TimT said...

Are you moving to America?

Nope, I think I'd have to get myself a pitchfork first.

prevents you ... tunnelling into the cleavage of the girl whose screen is not correctly adjusted.

*Insert Benny Hill Sound Effects*

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