I am wearing a tie today. It’s green with navy blue stripes. And quite nice, I must say. I’m wearing one not because I have to but because I felt like it. In reflecting on my clothing choice for the day, however, I’m struck by the uselessness of the tie. Of all the items of clothing that a man might wear, the tie is easily the least functional. Its purpose is nothing more than ornamental. Or is it?

Maybe the first tie-wearer wasn’t searching for a beautifying accoutrement to his wardrobe at all. Maybe he was depressed. He had decided that life was no longer worth living and that he would end the cruel ebb and flow of his society. He wrapped up the first piece of fabric he could find (which just happened to be the curtains his particularly critical wife has purchased just days earlier) into a crude rope and readied himself for his exit from this world. Then his wife came in and ushered him downstairs to entertain the guests, his suicidal tendencies still draped from his neck. Maybe the guests just happened to be the social mavens of the day. Maybe they became enamored with the new accessory. Weeks later, the craze could have swept an entire nation. Could ties have begun as tools for taking one’s own life? Maybe. It would seem appropriate, considering their widespread usage in the business community.

It’s also possible that ties began life on some ancient battlefield. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that certain ancient warriors could have needed tourniquets for their profusely bleeding battle wounds. Perhaps they wore ties into battle for quick, easy access to a means with which to stop the hemorrhaging. Maybe that’s why so many lawyers wear them. Plus, if a soldier wasn’t dying from massive blood loss, they could use their tourniquet as a rope for securing prisoners or tying multiple swords together for some kind of awesomely gruesome super weapon. Maybe warriors started wearing their tourniquets with their tunics as a sign of their manly warriorness. And to pick up chicks. And the tie slowly evolved from there.

We may never know. But I hope it’s the second one.

7 Responses to “around your neck”

  1. # Anonymous anne arkham

    I like the tourniquet theory.  

  2. # Anonymous anonymous 2

    Fact is the necktie was started back in the early 18th century. Wives who wanted to go to the new fashionable social gatherings but couldn't get their husbands to leave work to go (and be bored out of their skulls) started suggesting they wear these decorative pieces of clothing around their necks. Then when the time for the social gathering came up the wives would show up at the work-place of their husbands and grab the necktie and drag them to the party... At least that's where I heard they came from.  

  3. # Blogger r.fuel


  4. # Blogger Joe Fuel

    While I like Robert's tourniquet theory, I think I'm going to have to side with anonymous 2 there.

    Personally, I've always hated ties. The "dragging" theory seems about right in my mind.  

  5. # Blogger Chickie

    My dad knew a guy who comitted suicide by hanging himself with his tie off of a clothes hanger bar inside a closet.

    He was very short.  

  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    A fleeing Taliban, desperate for water, was plodding through the Afghanistan desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Israeli man sitting at a card table with neckties laid out on it. The Arab said, "My thirst is killing me. Please...do you have any water?"
    The Israeli replied, "I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $150. This one goes very nicely with your robes."
    The Arab shouted, "Idiot! I do not need your overpriced tie. I need water!"
    "OK," said the old Israeli, "It does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie. I will show you that you have not offended me. If you walk over that hill to the east for about four miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. Go! Walk that way! The restaurant has all the water you need!"
    The Arab staggered away toward the hill and disappeared. Eight hours later the Arab came crawling back to the Israeli man's table. The Israeli said, "I told you, the restaurant with the water is about four miles over that hill. Could you not find it?"
    "I found it," rasped the Arab. "But your brother wouldn't let me in without a tie!"  

  7. # Blogger Katey Schultz

    interesting musings....  

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