'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WHAT IS YOUR ‘TIE-Q’?
There are a many annoying aspects of daily life. Some of these annoyances include commuter traffic, email spam, automated phone answering systems, and the nauseating proliferation of Paris Hilton’s equine visage seemingly everywhere I turn.
But by far, the most annoying aspect of daily life is the fact that I must wear a necktie at work. Is there a more ridiculous part of a man’s wardrobe?
Shoes make sense, because it’s usually a bit uncomfortable walking barefoot on city sidewalks, especially now that a major component of “downtown renewal” projects is a carefully placed smashed beer bottle every hundred yards or so. Pants are also a good idea; they keep other people from staring at you and screaming. Belts are OK since it’s a little awkward to walk on city sidewalks, even with your sensible shoes, when your pants have fallen down around your ankles.
Shirts are a good thing because it can be very distracting to sit at a conference room table directly across from a guy whose chest is so hairy you think at first he might be wearing a sweater. And finally, suit jackets are appropriate since the weather is often rather chilly in this part of the world.
But neckties? What is the deal with neckties? Why have men passively acquiesced to the notion that we must take a strip of fabric and wrap it around our necks under our shirt collars, and then knot it tightly at our throats, cutting off the blood supply to our brains?
That must be the answer. Once we put on a tie, the blood flow to our brains is constricted, and we are no longer able to comprehend that wearing a necktie is the absolute stupidest thing in the world.
Years ago someone told me that wearing a necktie adds 15 points to a person’s “perceived I.Q.” In other words, other people think you’re smarter than you really are just because you’re wearing a tie. (I guess we would call that a person’s “Tie-Q.”) Unfortunately, I need all the help I can get in my line of work, perceived or otherwise, so I can’t afford to show up at my job without a tie. Of course, in reality a person’s I.Q. is 15 points lower than normal when wearing a necktie because of the aforementioned reduced blood flow to the brain.
I freely acknowledge that whining about neckties seems rather trivial when compared to the fashion ordeals that women must endure. Even if a posse of cowboy vigilantes attached the end of my necktie to a low-hanging branch and then drove my horse out from under me, leaving me suspended in midair and gasping for breath, just like Clint Eastwood in that cheesy western movie, “Hang ‘Em High,” it would not be nearly as uncomfortable as wearing, for example, women’s shoes.
But hey, don’t blame me. It’s not my fault the Marquis de Sade designed the modern women’s high heeled shoe and then 3 billion ladies around the globe dutifully went along with the idea.
Popular fashions can and do change over time. Just pull out a history book and get a load of those wacky clothing styles from a couple hundred years ago: powdered wigs and corsets. They make neckties and high heeled shoes seem downright comfortable.
The way things are going right now and with my luck, neckties won’t go out of style until after I retire from my job. But on the other hand, the way things are going right now and with my luck, I’ll never be able to afford to retire from my job.
Somehow, we need to give a little boost to slowly evolving fashion trends. We need to convince the business world that neckties on men and high heeled shoes on women are as dumb as powdered wigs and corsets. If you ladies won’t say anything if I wear a golf shirt at work, I won’t say anything if you wear tennis shoes. Is it a deal?
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