On Bow Ties

PrawfsBlawg posts on Bow Ties, kindly lumping me among the “young men.” I'm now old enough to appreciate that.

The question which sparks the discussion is from an “anonymous female reader,”

I dare you to do a post on bow ties. I don't know much about male sartorial inclinations. But what's up with the young men and bow ties? Geoffrey Rapp, Michael Froomkin come to mind. I'm sure there's more. Is it for gravitas?

You should do a post about tie choice for all you fellows out there (for the ladies, Miranda Fleischer did one on hair down vs. ponytails and there have been many posts about wardrobe choices for classrooms on Prawfs). See if there's a two-tailed distribution for bow ties: the very young and the very old, or the shooting-for-gravitas and the shooting-for-gravestones.

In fact, the reasons for wearing bow ties are legion, and most have nothing to do with a quest for gravitas, quite the contrary:

  • Harder to get soup on it;
  • Socially sanctioned minor rebellion which exposes constriction of carotid artery custom as really silly;
  • Fits more easily in a pocket;
  • Stand out in a crowd — when meeting people for the first time can tell them, “look for the guy in the bow tie”;
  • If it's good enough for Justice Stevens, it's good enough for me.

(Suspenders, now, that's another story…)

Did I mention that back in the early days of the internet, I was, I believe, the first person to post online directions on how to tie a bow tie?

Previous bow-tie posting: What a strange question.

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3 Responses to On Bow Ties

  1. seaan says:

    Simple reason to wear suspenders, my wife likes them. That and the fact she feels they are an acceptable substitute for a tie for some occasions 🙂

  2. Jim Tyre says:

    When I was a baby lawyer thirty years ago, my mentor was a bow tie guy. (He was also one of the most honorable persons I’ve ever known, but I’ll not opine on whether that was a coincidence.)

    We were in court one day, he was arguing, I was observing and learning. It wasn’t going well for the other side. Clearly flustered, opposing counsel blurted out that the argument my mentor just had made was as phony as his bow tie.

    As in most courtrooms, those seated at counsel table were behind and to the side of the attorney at the lectern, so opposing counsel could not see what happened. My mentor put down his pen, and, without saying a word, untied and retied perfectly his bow. The Judge and all the courtroom personnel were well aware of what was happening, I remain amazed that all kept straight faces.

    Some years later, I was talking with the (then-retired) judge, he remembered it quite well. He said it was the best non-verbal courtroom communication he had ever seen. With that point I will not argue.

  3. dilbert dogbert says:

    Suspenders are great when that time comes in a man’s life when he starts losing his butt. When mine started going I was forced to pull up my pants anytime I wanted to bend down to examine a piece of broken machinery (that was my job) and it got to be a pain in the ass.
    They are marvelous when dancing too. I can’t dance with a belt on or my pants start falling off. The wife and I do western swing and I throw her about with wild abandon. Can’t do that with my pants falling off.
    That base ball asshole at the wapoo wears a bowtie and being associated with that type of fool would put me off a bowtie.

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