Wednesday, 5 January 2011

I can't tie a bow tie

Flickr> RubyGoes Happy New Year
OK, big confession time - and a New Year's Resolution; I'm going to learn to tie a bow tie. There's a video and a blog entry on the A Suit That fits website (sponsored link to the homepage, the blog is at the bottom and you won't be charged) so I have no excuse.

Possibly more interesting from the psychological point of view and the study of the fragile middle-aged male psyche is that I also have no reason to learn to tie one. The last Black Tie event I attended was the Baftas in 2008, to which I was invited as a freelance journalist and ligger; I bought an off the peg suit, wore a bow tie that fastened at the back and thought I looked perfectly OK. No doubt a gentleman could have told the difference at a glance, as the saying goes, so presumably I'm not a gentleman.

There's been nothing since so why I should think it's remotely important that I acquire this skill I don't know. Nevertheless I've ordered a small tasteful (oh yes it is) dark red example of the breed in the John Lewis sale, should be with me anytime now - and I'll look forward to fiddling with it, just in case.

Mid-life crisis? Work displacement? Does one have to exclude the other..?


  1. My mother would never let me wear a ready-tied one, so I had to learn early. It's not as difficult as it seems, and is much the same as doing a shoe lace- with extra fiddling about to get it tight enough and align the ends of the bow. Once done, and if there's a clip in the middle of it, you don't even have to untie it: just clip it on and off and pretend you've just tied it again for another first time!

  2. I agree - they look tricky and your first attempt may well leave you tempted to never try again. But after a couple of goes it should all make sense.

    It's well worth it and - a bit like you - I think it's one of those things a chap ought to be able to do, but I'm not entirely sure why!

  3. A chap should be able to tie a bow tie. He just should, that's all ;-)

    In my case, I often play in orchestral concerts and the male orchestra members wear black tie. Since my evening shirts are wing collar, I feel that a pretend bow tie will simply look obvious. Anyway, I like to show off that I can tie my own bow tie, and it gives one the opportunity to look raffish in the pub afterwards by simply loosening and letting the ends dangle ;-)

    When I was younger, and a spokesperson for IBM, I used to affect a bow tie for all my speaking engagements and press interviews - it was kind of my little statement of mild and harmless eccentricity. And I think a bit of mild and harmless eccentricity becomes a chap, particularly when over 35.


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