By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
I am fit to be tied. Or, I should say, unfit to be tied. That’s because neckties, the bane of baby boomer men who had to wear them if they wanted to dress for success (this actually had the opposite effect because food stains on ties exposed most of us as real slobs), are back in style among guys who are too young to know better.
According to a recent New York Times story, which ran under the headline "After Years of Being Out, the Necktie Is In," sales of ties to men 18 to 34 were up more than 13 percent from March 2006 to March 2007.
"Necktie sales may have foundered in the decade or more since the words ‘casual Friday’ entered men’s vocabularies," the story said, "but in the last year or two, stylish men in their 20s and early 30s have embraced the old four-in-hand as a style statement."
Maybe it’s because I have a fashion plate in my head, but I was appalled to read this. Granted, a necktie can make a man look respectable (unless, of course, he’s not wearing anything else), and I enjoy getting dressed up once in a while, except if I am going to the funeral of a guy who was strangled by a Windsor knot. But one of the reasons I became a writer, aside from the fact that I am spectacularly unqualified to do anything else, is that I wouldn’t have to wear a tie every day.
The new popularity of neckties is, according to the Times story, "a news flash that will either amuse or dismay men in their 40s and 50s, who, after years of wearing a tie to work, finally won the right to hang up the old choke chain."
I am dismayed because, let’s face it, neckties not only are the stupidest fashion items ever invented, they are the cause of most of the world’s problems. Think about it. What is a necktie? It is a strip of cloth that a man must knot around his neck, effectively cutting off the air supply to his brain. I believe I can speak for most men when I say that we can’t afford this.
Over the past several decades, women have made tremendous strides. They have achieved positions of power and authority. And that’s just in the home. Nonetheless, most of the key decisions in this world are still made by men. And that is why the world is so messed up. All of these horrible decisions are being made by oxygen-deprived men wearing neckties.
My solution: Either ban neckties or let women run the world. We men should be left alone to do what we do best, which is to drink beer and watch football.
Several years ago, I showed up at a fancy restaurant in New York City wearing a sport jacket and an open-collar shirt. The maitre d’ stopped me at the door and said, "You’re not wearing a tie."
"You’re lucky I wore pants," I replied.
He wasn’t amused. Instead, he fetched me a necktie that I had to wear in the restaurant. I got food stains all over it. I was going to ask if he had an extra pair of underwear, but I thought better of it.
Speaking of skivvies, there is good news on the fashion front. And it involves young men. Actually, it involves 8-year-old twin brothers from Columbus, Ohio. According to a recent story from The Associated Press, Jared and Justin Serovich have invented what is being billed as "wedgie-proof underwear."
Using rigged boxers and fabric fasteners to hold together some seams, the boys came up with the "Rip Away 1000."
"When the person tries to grab you – the bully or the person who tries to give you a wedgie – they just rip away," Justin explained.
I once interviewed Diane Peoples, an underwear inspector for Hanes, about wedgie prevention. She told me that snug leg holes are the key to avoiding this other bane of men’s existence. I am sure she would applaud the Serovich brothers for their revolutionary new design.
In fact, I predict that Jared and Justin will grow up to make good decisions that will benefit mankind and ultimately make the world a better place. As long, of course, as they don’t wear neckties.
Copyright 2007 by Jerry Zezima