Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

Visit December of 1998 with me, trying to get Dave gussied up for his role as father of the bride on new Year’s Day. And with Christmas as another excuse, I bought him a couple of neckties to go with his new gray suit.

This was not so generous a deed as it might appear. In fact, some malice aforethought came to bear on one. It’s a fine geometric print with lots of blue in it, not coincidentally the same electric blue as that of my new mother-of-the-bride dress.

The other, however, is a solid maroon, a handsome brocade. I knew he had a plain tie of similar color, but did not realize how exactly the same it was until I brought home the new one.

That was when I took a close look at my husband’s necktie wardrobe. Draped on one of those closet tie-holders were two dozen or more of the ugliest strips of fabric I have ever seen.

The five or six he wears regularly were on top, hiding those that made up the bulk of that hideous collection, among them a faded regimental stripe, a blue and yellow print that looks like bubbles in a lava lamp, an honest-to-gosh chartreuse floral print, a peach-colored check.

Despite the fact that rules about the width of ties not being so hard and fast as they once were, somehow every one of these were either too wide or too narrow. The fact that most of them looked – well, if not outright dirty, then at least quite dingy – helped not at all.

Lest you think I’m picking on Dave unfairly, let me assure you no one has a better right: I was responsible for the acquisition of most of those monstrosities in the first place. And I did not merely buy them. Au contraire, because I find it abhorrent to pay $30 for a piece of cloth to wrap around a man’s neck, I bought a pattern and made most of the darned things.

Lest you think it was a double blow to presented with a necktie that is both ugly and homemade, I will defend myself: Most of them were made rather well. I am a better-than-average seamstress and making a necktie is not brain surgery.

My shortcomings stem from a total lack of any artistic taste. I find it impossible to look at a piece of yard goods and envision it made into a garment. And unless I copy a picture, a pattern envelope, or a ready-made garment, I cannot come up with a single good idea about color or design.

So the truth is that the majority of Dave’s cravats were fashioned from fabric left from clothes I made for myself or one of the girls. “Wouldn’t it be cute for you to have a necktie to match my Easter dress?” I’d chirp to Dave, and poor fellow, even less well-endowed than I with a sense of style, could find no compelling reason to deny me.

Where did this idea come from anyhow, neckties? I’ve always found them to be a curious anachronism and have not a clue why men continue to wear them.

Not so: I do have a clue. Men wear ties because few have the courage to be the first in their office/church/club NOT to wear them.

Like women and high heels or pantyhose. I’m one of a distinct minority of women who eschew these torture instruments for the bill of goods they are, perpetrated on women by men who find them sexy.

The likeliest explanation for neckties that I was able to find is that a bright scarf bestowed upon a knight by his ladye faire became his inspiration, as well as a means of identifying him once his face was hidden behind his protective iron mask.

An even more interesting history appears in the definition of the word “cravat.” Can you believe it is derived from the word Croat? Croatian mercenaries wore linen scarves, says one source, in the colors of their sponsors – a sort of uniform, if you will.

Most people know that the Windsor knot was devised by the Duke of Windsor himself, a natty fellow who remained a fashion plate long after he gave up the British throne “for the woman I love.”

But do you know whence the term “Four-in-hand”? It’s a knot used by carriage drivers that enables them to control the reins of a team of four horses with one hand.

Now you’ve learned something more useful than the fact that poor Dave Satterthwaite used to have to wear ugly homemade neckties. Really, it may not have been as bad as I’ve made it sound. After all, those ties wouldn’t have been at the bottom of a veritable sludge-pile if he were actually wearing them.

I cleared the rack and retained only a few very smart ties, including the one that took him handsomely down the aisle with our daughter on his arm.

So don’t feel sorry for Dave. Feel sorry for the poor devils whose wives frequent the thrift store.

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Submitted by AtHomeGym on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 3:38pm.

What's a necktie? Gave those up when I retired in March 2001---but did relent to wear one in Aug 2001 for our son's wedding. Don't believe I've worn one since.

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 6:49pm.

Well, you would if you went to the Lutheren church! Very rigid people.

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Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 8:35pm.

That's a new one on me. Smiling
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 5:07pm.

Well, men's ties may be unnecessary, but then shouldn't lipstick, rouge, face powder, perfume, hairdos, nail polish, toenail polish, waxed legs, earrings, necklaces, sexy dresses, cleavage, and eye motions?

I think the preacher has to wear a whole bunch of different robes, blankets, sashes, colors, collars, and specific orders of worship including just tons and tons of music, even heavy metal!

Then, they are pre-destined to heaven if they also do some good works here. I don't know who says exactly how much or what good works. Maybe a new Sunday School classroom paid for?

However, if you don't do enough goodworks, then you will be shamed somewhere near heaven since there is no hell.

Their worst sin is also the "original sin," which I am not sure of what it is, but I think it is either sex, or not obeying God. (That being the Old and New Testaments which are in themselves in total conflict.) Yet they both must be obeyed as God's word.

Not rigid, you say?

Then there is that German guy--Luther!
And all of those Scandanavians. Are those street windows with the beauties in them sanctioned?

Submitted by MYTMITE on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 9:58am.

mentioned? Since I don't know what it is, I may not be doing it and sure would not want to be excommunicated for an omission. Just what church are you attending or is this just something you picture in your mind after a glass or two of that juniper juice you must be drinking? For someone who does not believe in religion you spend a lot of time talking about it. But, not to worry, as I told Skyspy in another reply, I am praying for you and asking fellow bloggers to set aside a minute a day to pray for you. Just think, if we intervene often enough for you, you may get to see those streets of gold and wear those beautiful robes---ahh, I can just see you now, sitting on a cloud and playing a golden harp, with a beautiful smile on your face--but wait a second--is that a smile or a grimace? What's the problem, Bonks, are you miserable because finally there is nothing for you to be miserable about? And you believed prayers aren't answered!!

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 1:27pm.

Where on earth did you get the idea that I was not religious?
Only thing i despise is "organized" religion." I would have to argee with people like you in those buildings of gold.

The eye motion: I guess you aren't married since you don't know the "eye motion."
Some use the rear twisting cross-legged walk instead, or in conjunction with the eye motion. Have you tried that?
I'll just bet you have!
It has nothing to do with religion--it is what Eve did to Adam to get Kaine and Able and scores of others evidentally, since Kaine found some of his relatives to marry in Nod. What kind of building did Adam and Eve worship in? Or was Eve allowed in without a Burka? Fig leaves wouldn't do in a Baptist church.

Just keep YOUR "intervention," whatever that is.
Try doing something for a change instead of silent stuff.

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Submitted by Cyclist on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 7:14pm.

This old goat does not have to worry about his hairdo.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 7:07pm.

So Bonk,is that where you go? I would never frequent any place that was outwardly concerned about my dress habits, regardless if it was an organized house of religion or not. My eperience over many years causes me to be reluctant to endorse any of our local organized religious activities.

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