As a kid, watching my dad do his necktie before going to work was one of the high points of my day. I've always been fascinated with the way he did those complicated tying movements that eventually resulted in a perfectly knotted tie. Never mind that his neckties back then were so wide they reminded me of a boat's oars.
When my turn to wear one finally came, I was hit with the realization that, for all the times I watched my dad do it, he never taught me how to tie a necktie. For years, I wore my neckties in a way that would have made Dilbert proud: rumpled, crooked and sloppily knotted.
Worse, he never told me that neckties are actually glorified nooses designed to constrict blood flow to the head.
What's the deal with neckties anyway? Admittedly, neckties make a person look good. And looking good, especially when going for a job interview or facing clients, won't harm your chances of snagging that job or bagging that major business deal.
But other than aesthetics and being a symbol of conformity to some unwritten corporate or social norms, what else does a necktie do? Hide your shirt buttons perhaps?
Many issues have already been raised against neckties, most of them focusing on the health risks involved in wearing one. I've already mentioned the choking part. Another danger neckties bring is when doctors wear them while checking on patients suffering from SARS or some other highly contagious disease. Doctors routinely lean across patients, with their neckties brushing against them, thereby increasing the risk of cross-infections.
Neckties can also be hazardous even in supposedly posh offices. Your tie could get entangled in fax machines, copiers, or printers. Well, OK, situations like that may do less harm to your limb than your ego, and often only happen in comedy films. Still, you wouldn't want to go through something like that, would you?
I seldom wear ties anymore, societal necktie norms be damned. I've never gotten the hang of tying them anyway. I've even given away most of mine as gifts (yeah, yeah, I'm a cheapskate), terrible and good neckties both. I just kept my favorites, particularly one with Wile E. Coyote on it. Looking good is important, but I'd go for comfort and safety any day of the year.