Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Perspectives on Neckwear

I was at a conference back at the very end of last November when I noticed a gentleman wearing a bow tie. Not the cheesy, pre-tied, hook-on bow tie that you get with a rental tuxedo or movie theater usher uniform, but a real "freestyle" tie with a nice subtle pattern. It looked pretty sharp - you can definitely tell when a bow tie is actually tied around someone's neck, instead of stitched onto a strip of fabric and fastened by a hook. Dapper and snappy are words that come to mind, and I made a mental note to keep an eye out for a bow tie.

I don't have to wear ties very often (before joining the Masons, I'd say I had occasion to wear a scrap of fabric around my neck only once or twice per year. Whenever I put one on I am struck by what a ridiculous garment the neck tie is... long, dangly, prone to either falling into your soup, having soup fall on it, fluttering around in the breeze, etc... they're pretty much useless.

Bow ties are equally useless, when you get down to it, but at least they're symmetrical, and tidy, and stay out of the way. And, I'll admit, the fact that they have become anachronistic also holds a certain appeal.

Anyway, I have indeed been keeping my eyes open since last November, and I have learned that you just can't buy a plain old, self-tie, non-formal bow tie at any major retailer of men's semi-formal/business clothing in central Massachusetts... no dice at Sears, J C Penney, Macy's, or any of your basic mall anchor department stores. I stuck my head into a tux shop, but didn't even bother asking because it was quite clear that the only freestyle bow ties they might possibly have would be of the black satin variety.

They are much easier to come by online, but I held out for a long time hoping for the instant gratification of finding one locally. Finally, I gave up and ordered one from ebay seller Bow Ties and More... a nice maroon tie with a conservative gold and blue pattern. It arrived today, and once I tried in on (with the help of a nice how-to video), I became an instant convert - I have to get my hands on some more.

No real Masonic content or context here, other than that I am grateful to have an excuse to "play grown-up" a bit more often now that I'll be attending regular lodge meetings. One of these days I'm going to buy a suit, too. At 33 years old I'm starting to feel kind of like a little kid going to Sunday school with my grey dress pants and black blazer.

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