Monday, May 20, 2013

Neckties

I have sometimes referred to the necktie as the yoke my masters have placed around my neck to remind me of my voluntary servitude. It truly is one of the last vestiges left over from the Victorian era. I guess technically, cuff links apply too, but no one expects you to wear cuff links to work. Particularly since the invention of the button. I bring this up because there has been, over the last couple years, a sort of revolt against the tie. I suppose in different sectors of our society, people have tried to find the alternative to the neck tie: the ascot, bow tie, bolo tie, that really big tuxedo button. We have never been able to truly move away from the old Windsor knot hanging from your neck style though. There are many reasons I can think for eliminating the tie from men's wardrobe. They're silly. Every other piece of men's clothing is functional, the tie serves no purpose and therefore stands out as something completely out of step in a person's wardrobe. Did someone decide that it's inappropriate to show your buttons? Because that's the only thing i can think of, it's a button cover. It's hazardous. I work in a hospital. I am issued a badge holder with a break away loop. If they are worried about a crazed patient choking me to death with my badge, why am I even allowed to wear a tie to work, let alone expected? I know that in other professions that require ties as part of their uniform (police, security) they have fake ties only held on by velcro. Why don't you just get rid of the ties, instead of MAKING SAFETY TIES?!!!!

I know some of you might be thinking, "But Bob, it's a standard for business dress, and a conventional part of the wardrobe, like women wearing earrings." Fine, I'll accept that, but I think conventions are changing rather quickly. In the brave new world of internet companies and small entrepreneurial businesses, people are questioning what the appropriate level of expectation is in the work place, this not only applies to wardrobe, but to interior design, location, work hours. I also work in a setting where people are wearing the uniform equivalent of pajamas. That's right, scrubs. I miss scrubs. Ask anyone who works in a medical setting. They LOVE scrubs. Scrubs are awesome. I used to get to wear scrubs and work 3 days (ok, nights) a week. Suddenly, I'm in charge of something and my wardrobe is restrictive. Shouldn't this be the other way around? The other thing about hospitals being one of the most casual work-clothing environments in the world (particularly for how serious the actual work is. next time you're having a bad day, ask yourself if anybody died at your workplace today), is that women who have ascended above the rank of scrub-wearer are almost always business casual. I rarely see a female leader in a suit, and if they are, they certainly are not expected to wear some find of neck-decoration. Don't say jewelry. If I wore a chain, it would certainly not be accepted as a tie-substitute. And why are women allowed to be less and less formal every year? Remember pantyhose? Yeah, nobody has to wear that anymore! Which makes sense, because they would look weird with your dressy flip-flops. This is clearly reverse sexism. How in the hell can fashion have devolved enough that flip flops are perfectly acceptable as formal wear, yet men still have to wear ties? And a very specific type of tie at that. It's not like I'm attending a coronation or president's ball. I understand specific costuming for particular events. I even appreciate it.

Some brave souls here have taken to appearing sans tie a couple of times since it got warmer. I can't believe how uncomfortably comfortable they look. The attention for a man not wearing a tie is the woman equivalent of getting a new haircut, "Oh my God, you're not wearing a tie! Good for you, man! Did you give your two weeks notice?"
"What? Bobby wasn't wearing a tie last week!"
"Whoa, that was on Friday. No tie-day Friday is a given. Don't drag me into this. You're sporting tweed and chinos on a Tuesday, bro."
"Well, it was nice working with you all. I'm going to wander out into the traffic on 413 and pray someone hits me."

"Shame about Bill, I really liked him."
"Yeah, he had a lot of promise, but seriously, no tie, midweek, and it's not even after Memorial Day? What did he think was going to happen?"