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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Necktie:
Torture device of men's fashion

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

The necktie, one of the few men's fashions to survive 400 years of change, will be presented to 4.5 million dads on Father's Day each year. Since there were four kinds of ties used down through the ages, the words "neck," "waist," "head" and "knee" must be used in conjunction with the word "tie" in order to properly identify the object.

A necktie can be narrow, wide, short, long, subdued, loud, flashy, pornographic, religious, plaid, plain, silk, cotton, knit, bow or just merely stained with gravy. Tie knots can be neat, tight, loose, lop-sided, big, little and just plain ugly.

Tie clasps can be expensive, cheap, flashy, tiny, large, modern, out-of-date and just plain tacky. Thankfully, no one pays any attention except your haberdasher if he frequents the same occasion.

Strangely, the industrial revolution, which brought the rural masses to work in the factories in the cities, contributed greatly to the use of neckties as factory overseers and company officers wore the item to emphasize their position and authority.

This also began the establishment of "white-collar, and blue-collar" levels of employees.

The modern look of the necktie was designed and patented in 1924 by Jesse Langsdorf. The unique design of bias-cut and three-piece construction allowed the invention to be patented.

Like women's fashions, the necktie changes designs regularly so the public will be forced to purchase new ties to be "in fashion." The most notable of the tie-wearing socialites are the Ivy-leaguers (striped ties), punks, (narrow), and Wall Street moguls (power ties).

The dot-com boom, where the computer screens in dim-lit rooms do not recognize the attire of its nerdish operators, has diminished the fashion sales to the point that the fashion organization that promoted ties for centuries has finally closed its doors permanently.

As a little boy, I can remember the little sailor suit my mother purchased for me when I was about four years old.

I hated that suit passionately as it required pure abuse to tie that little bow tie around my neck, and it became pure torture to survive a long-winded sermon on Sunday morning.

My mother, bless her heart, finally gave up on me and passed the item to a neighbor who used it to legitimately torture her son.

As a joke, I once mounted 16 old, narrow, ugly and loud neckties in a picture frame with a caption of, "Sixteen Annual Christmas Presents From My Mother-in-law." It was a favorite among the men who viewed the display.

I have now reached the time where being in fashion is not exactly a priority. I always try to look nice and be clean, but this does not include wearing neckties. If a tie is required, I stay home.

Although I have many good friends that I admire and respect, not a single one cares whether I wear a tie even at their funerals.

Recently, when I passed the age of 75 years, I made a vow. It states, "I will wear a necktie only if the pope gets married, sends me an engraved invitation and pays my plane ticket."

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" October 28, 2008 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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