Growing up, I hated wearing my Sunday clothes to church, which consisted of dressy pants, a dressy shirt, and the dreaded tie. Oh the God-awful tie. Wearing the tie around my neck brought me great anxiety. I could feel it choking me, and as a seven-year-old, wearing such an attire was counter-productive. It restricted movement and especially my playing time with other kids. It felt as if you were imprisioned in your own body.
As a twenty-three-year-old, I still hate wearing such clothes, but I’m less dramatic about it. I
understand the arguments of wearing your Sunday best. Most conservatives argue that if you look your best for a wedding, a party, a business meeting, job interviews, and a court hearing, then shouldn’t you also look your best for God? Okay, I’ll take that. But I’m thankful that God doesn’t judge me by the way I look, God examines the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God could careless how we look, He sees our hearts. So perhaps looking our best is really a cultural thing, it’s a performance that we do to maintain the status quo, to not insult those whose culture follows such traditions.
But it got me thinking about the dreaded tie. I pray to God that I won’t have to wear a tie to work each day.Why do we even wear them? Who thought about this crazy contraption that allows us to willingly place a noose around our necks? I’ve always thought that they were worn to cover the buttons. However, when I eat a fancy dinner, I have to toss my tie over my shoulder or remove it entirely–so the tie just isn’t that practical, is it?
As a psychology and sociology major, I tend to see things differently. Perhaps the tie is a phallic symbol since the pointy end of the tie directs our eyes downward towards the genital area. I mean it makes sense in Western culture. Guys boast about such things all the time. We have huge egos. In other cultures, other things are done to display masculinity and power. Perhaps the tie is simply a Western thing.
I’m no historian, but legend has it that ties actually came from a military regiment from Croatia around the mid 1600s. After defeating the Ottoman Empire in The Thirty-Year’s War, the Croatians visited King Louis XIV in Paris. They happened to be wearing handkerchiefs made of silk around their necks as neck cloths, which were originally worn to warm up the vocal chords of those who did public speaking. The king took a fancy at their fashion, and immediately had everyone in the palace wear these neck cloths instead of the lace ruffs they usually wear. Some believe this may be where the word “cravat” (“soft necktie”) comes from because the French word for Croatian is “Croate.” And the rest, I guess is history…or legend.
And fast forward four centuries and we’re back with the tie as we know it today. As a twenty-three-year-old, I appreciate the tie, even if I hate it. I appreaciate how it can be a fashion statement and help me display my personality or sense of individuality.
There are all kinds of ties, some colorful, some boring. Some ties have words, some have pictures. But there’s a tie out there that suits you and your mood and what ever message you are trying to send, like ex-president Bill Clinton.
Today, I wore a Burberry tie to complete my Harry Potter outfit. Apparently, Burberry is a brand that is looked down upon by the British. But here in America, it’s still pretty popular. Wearing the tie with a nice white dress shirt and some grey shorts made me looked more like a Catholic school boy though. I need to find a real Hogworts tie. Maybe I’ll go for a Gryffindor one.Yes, ties are remarkable.