No, I did not always wear a bow tie.
Before I started my professional career I had a bow tie, a single bow tie gifted to me by an old girlfriend who bought it in Barneys, the real Barneys on 19th St. only four blocks from my Chelsea apartment where I lived while I looked for a job in Wall Street in 1987 (Hint: it did not happen, although I did get a great job in Boston a few months later).
I did not even know how to tie it. I had to walk over to Barneys twice before learning how to tie it by myself. Now I can tie it with my eyes closed – literally!
It took a few years for me to get a second bow tie, then a third, a fourth, you know how it goes. Eventually it became a bit of a trademark and developed as my “look”. In crowded conference halls, trade shows, and schools I was the bald guy with the bow tie. Of course, it helps that bow ties are characteristically academic, so wear a bow tie and automatically become more “academic”.
Nowadays I mostly wear bow ties for teaching. An old teacher trick is to have some sort of flamboyant item of clothing to guarantee that your students fixate on you as the most exciting thing to look at in the classroom -keep in mind that you can easily be replaced by a fly buzzing around the room! Surprisingly, this even works at the grad school level where I teach now.
Even the logo for Tonxo Tous, my moonlighting job as a tour guide in Spain is a bow tie!
Occasionally I will wear a regular tie to mix it up, and for my church ushering job on Sundays at mass, but otherwise it’s bow ties all the way!
So, if you are stuck with what to get me for Christmas, problem solved!
2 thoughts on “On Bow ties”
Really loved this article. Obviously 1987 was not the best time to get a job in WS, still you got the bow tie while looking for one. Totally understandable and worth your while.
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