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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Untying one of life's mysteries

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I love politics so I have been paying close attention to the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary. However, while watching the speeches and campaigning, a stupid thought formed in my head. Why do men wear ties?

A man smarter than I am once told me that if you wear a tie people will look at you as a powerful or serious man. With that in mind I wore a tie to work just about everyday for almost two years. You want to know something? I didn't feel powerful and I sure wasn't taken seriously. I just felt uncomfortable.

Personally I'm a shorts and flip flops kind of guy. I would have worn shorts and flip flops to my wedding had I not been so scared of my wife. Instead, I wore my Three Stooges tie.

Now, I have almost two dozen ties hanging up in my bedroom. Of course, they are all tied because tying a necktie is like solving a NASA trigonometry problem. After spending three hours tying one, once it was tied, I was never untying it again.

But as they collect dust in my room, the thing is I still don't understand is their use. It is basically like tying a noose around your neck, and believe me, there were days I felt like it was a noose. I understand the purpose of a belt or suspenders. They keep your pants up. But what does the necktie do? Hide the missing button on your shirt?

So with my curious mind, mixed with my boredom, I looked it up on the Internet expecting to find the necktie was invented by some woman mad at men for having to wear high heels or pantyhose, but that wasn't the case.

I have never worn high heels or pantyhose (believe me, I haven't), but I can't imagine they would be comfortable. I know women wear high heels to appear taller and therefore more powerful and they also exaggerate the movement of the hips so I was sure women would be behind the necktie. I was wrong.

It wasn't women, it was the French. After several sightings of neckties way back in history it was the French who brought it to the mainstream. Just something else we can thank the French for. Apparently around 1660, celebrating a victory over the Ottoman Empire, a regiment from Croatia visited Paris. The officers wore brightly colored handkerchiefs around their neck to warm their vocal cords but Louis XIV liked these handkerchiefs and soon made them a sign of royalty. From there they crossed over into England and the rest is history.

Now you see men in ties in offices all over the country. Men in politics are very rarely seen without a necktie. One thing I read was men who hold office should wear neckties as a "show of respect for their office." I got a chuckle out of that one, since a lot of time their behavior doesn't show a sign of respect for their office.

Evidently fashion designers have been predicting the extinction of the necktie since the 1960s but I guess tradition is winning out. If those before you had to wear neckties they are going to make darn sure you will as well. It's the old, "since I spent every day at work uncomfortable, you will too."

Me, I decided to drop the necktie, choosing comfort over power and I want a politician that does the same. I would rather my president be comfortable and competent than someone who just looks powerful in a tie. As long as they don't try to look powerful by wearing high heels and pantyhose, I think we'll be OK.

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