A friend’s quest for a jacket set my easily distracted mind to thinking about neckwear. It might be an eccentricity, but I do enjoy wearing neckties. (I have a theory about disaffection for ties, which may follow later.) I do not, however, like spending much money on ties. There’s a boutique a short walk from the office, and twice a year their window sports a sign “All Ties ½ Off,” but at their prices, even 50% is more than I like to disgorge for a tie.
Happily, it is always easy to find a tie I like at Marshall’s (one of a number of cheap-retail chains) for <$10.
What am I about, posting all this? Sometimes, it is my misfortune, once I have bought a dashing tie which I like, the first time I wear it, I manage to water-stain it (e.g.) Technically, I could “get away” with wearing it to work, where hardly anyone would notice such a detail. But my wife and mom-in-law are artists, and nothing escapes their eye. “Also,” as I hear Nero Wolfe say, “damn it, there is my self-esteem.” So I have two ties, which I like, very much, but which I have only worn once, for the above reason.
Well, where is the problem? Take the ties to a cleaner! There is a cleaners a short walk from home, and I took the ties there . . . a couple of days later, I picked them up, paid the modest $5 apiece. And (silly of me, of course) not thinking that they were difficult articles to clean (and the stains not being of any trying variety), I did not check them until I got home . . . and the stains had not been removed. I might have taken them back, but when I had dropped them off, I did specifically ask, “You can take care of these, yes?” (another reason I did not bother verifying upon pick-up).
My feeling is that I do like to patronize local, if they do the job; I was not in the humor to micromanage this business relationship. There are things I just won’t sweat.
There is a cleaners near the office, and Wednesday I finally organized myself enough to bring my ties to them, pointing out the objectionable stains, and wishing to confirm that they can make it right. Peculiarities of our mismatched schedules mean that it will be Monday before I pick them up.
But hope waxes strong. (Wearing another tie here.)
To approach the Theory of Neckwear Disaffection in a roundabout manner . . . I have an unusually tall nephew (now a sophomore in college). In a family of generally tall men, he now towers at least 8 inches above any of the rest of us.
In retrospect, I’ve felt for my brother, trying to keep his boy in clothes that more or less fit him, a young man who grew out of clothes before they had a chance to be worn.
. . . On the odd occasion when I have heard a chap say that he hates ties (and, mind you, everyone is at liberty to like or dislike any accessory or garment, for any reason he or she finds suitable) chances are high that the reason given is, finding that it constricts the neck.
I propose that neckwear is not the culprit in this complaint. I mean, it is the simplest solution, not to tighten the tie’s knot past one’s comfort, right?
No, the problem is, a shirt whose collar is too tight.
And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I am inclined to consider this a prejudice formed as a young man, when one was compelled to wear a tie, but was wearing a shirt whose neck size was grown out of.
So there’s my theory: if we all made sure to buy shirts of the proper collar measurement, the incidence of complaints of neckties being “too tight” would be reduced to zero. (A separate, and potentially overlapping, reason given by Our Man in Florida is: Forced neckwear before the Age of Consent. His argument is strong.)
This is my goal. I have a purpose in life. Now.