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Cornelius News

Our man’s war against neckties

By Jon Show. Last week the Blonde Bomber walked into my closet while I was putting away laundry and asked me why I don’t wear ties.

“I hate ties,” I said. “Why,” she responded? I shrugged, not knowing how to answer the question.

I began my professional career as an account manager in a manufacturing plant in south Charlotte, where I was required by my supervisor to wear a tie to work each day. His name escapes me but was probably something like Randy.

One day I decided I wasn’t going to wear a tie anymore. So I didn’t. After three days, Randy approached me and asked me where my tie was. I shrugged, muttered something about my neck, and walked away.

The next Monday he stopped me in the hallway and said, “Hey Slick, we need to get you some ties.” I have no idea why he called me Slick. I again mumbled a response and moved along, fearing that perhaps it was time to comply.

The following day something magical happened. The guy next to me stopped wearing ties. A week later more people on our team stopped wearing ties. After a month, Randy was the only person still coming to work decked out in neck paraphernalia.

I’d freed the necks of my fellow man and I was their hero. Victory tasted sweet, especially without a tie choking my neck when I swallowed.

Today, I live by a commitment to keep my nape exposed to the elements but, sadly, everywhere I look I see men of all ages donning neck adornments that serve no functional purpose.

 

But ties look good, you say?

We’re conditioned to believe men look good in ties but no one objectively does. Remove societal conditioning and the definitive answer is that a person in a tie looks ridiculous. Like some early-century prepubescent fop holding an oversized lollipop.

 

But they’re fashionable, you contend?

There are only maybe five tie prints and they just cycle in and out every five years. Paisley comes and goes as often as flu season. Skinny ties. Fat ties. Stripes are good. Stripes are bad. I don’t see how that qualifies as fashion.

 

What about bow ties?

Your counterargument is the fashion choice of Pee Wee Herman, magicians and mall concert pianists.

When I tell people that I categorically refuse to wear ties they all ask the same questions.

What about weddings? No one cares if I wear a tie to their wedding. Funerals? The person’s dead and only a narcissist thinks anyone at a funeral cares what he looks like.

Not even work? I live the agency life so people think I’m creative if I show up in jeans and Converse All-Stars, which is what I wear anyway. Sometimes I swap out jeans for shorts and wear these little lady dress socks that don’t stick out from the top of my shoes. I’ve shared too much.

You know the one way I could support wearing a tie? If I was allowed to use it as a napkin. But I’m not. I have fabric around my neck and food on my face, but I have to reach onto my lap and grab the other piece of fabric to wipe my face. How absurd is that?

Since my parents read this I should point out that my abject hatred of neckwear has nothing to do with my upbringing. My dad wore ties every day when I was growing up. He had monogrammed shirts and lots of suits and shoes in different colors and styles. I have one suit I bought at Stein Mart and one pair of dress sneakers. Yes, dress sneakers are a thing.

I remember being a teenager and sitting in the kitchen of a family friend, clad in cut-off camo shorts and a parrot T-shirt. The mom looked down at me and said, “Your dad is such a stylish dresser, what happened to you?”

I shrugged, not knowing how to answer the question. But I do now.

I’ll tell you why I don’t wear ties, lady, I’ve evolved. Like a polar bear who’s learned to swim across the Arctic Ocean to find food.

You want to sport that new tartan knit at work? Go ahead. I’ll choose to breathe as freely as a freshly-birthed gazelle.

You want to get dressed up in black tie for that charity gala? I’ll choose to appreciate the freedom of an unbound neck, like a prisoner set free after a 30-year stint for a crime he didn’t commit.

You make your choice, Randys of the world. I choose freedom.

 

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls the “Mother of Dragons.” His 9-year-old son is “Future Man,” and 5-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.”

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