Jon de Vos: These are the ties that bind
March 21, 2008
I’m proud to live in a community that sports more dogs than ties. Ties are a fashion statement that never caught on well in the West. In Apache Junction, Ariz., there is a family-style Mining Camp Restaurant that gives would-be diners a choice if they show up for dinner in a tie. They can take it off and stuff it in their pocket or the hostess will cheerfully snip the end of it off and staple it to the wall, a memento of the night you got the horrible splinter from the picnic table.
If you see someone you know in Grand County wearing a tie, it’s likely they’ve just appeared before a judge, maybe a banker. If you see someone you don’t know wearing a tie, it’s likely they’re trying to get into your pocket.
It’s not that way in the city. Cities are filled with guys in ties ” the mark of indenture. Be they a slave to mammon, a slave to fashion, or a slave to the well-worn rungs in the corporate ladder, as Bob Dylan says, “It might be the Devil, it might be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
The ties that bind.
Before moving to Fraser, I worked in a Motorola plant with 21,999 other employees, about 10,000 more than the entire population of Grand County. At my job, wearing a tie was a lot more important than wearing underpants.
Style trumped substance. I kept my ties in a drawer. At night sometimes, I could hear them writhing and twining like snakes in an Indiana Jones movie. Back in those days, I could tie my tie with one hand. I often tied my tie in my sleep. I could tie my tie driving 75 miles per hour. I could tie my tie eating cereal on a bus, or running around my apartment shrieking about my missing briefcase that contained little more than the remnants of yesterday’s lunch. The ends of the tie came out vaguely where they were supposed to, and while the knot would never make GQ, even a wrinkled,
mustard-stained tie, poorly tied, gets you into the office like the hand stamp that gets you back into a Dan Fogelberg concert.
Fat tie, bow tie, skinny tie, by far the stupidest tie is the bolo tie, the official state neckwear of Arizona. In 1971, amidst the background of the Vietnam War, the Arizona legislature, urged on my no less a champion than Barry “Nuke ’em all” Goldwater, made it the official neckwear for the state.
Sometimes, particularly when we’re traveling, for some strange reason unbeknownst to me, my wife will insist that I buy a tie for some gala occasion that she hasn’t yet decided if we are going to attend.
I, too, envision the same gala, me, tied into my sartorial splendor with a big note on my back that says, “SPOUSE IN TOW”. Because of this weird tendency of hers toward commemorative ties, I have ties I’ve never worn. Just waiting, waiting for that special moment that hasn’t happened yet. Waiting for that coveted invitation where only a hand-painted silk tie from a quaint little shop in La Jolla will do.
Women don’t wear ties but I suspect that behind every good tie there’s a happy woman forcing a sullen man to buy it.
Surely, we wouldn’t come up with an idea like this on our own, could we guys?
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