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March 7, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Tying the knot with difficulty

Tell me, is there anything neater than seeing a young boy wearing a necktie? Or a girl for that matter?

I shouldn't exclude girls. Neckties have become more fashionable with them, it seems.

I shunned neckties while I was growing up. I can recall the first bowtie my mother purchased for me. I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time and kept taking it off.

It was elastic and it made a better slingshot. My mother found this uncouth and nearly strangled me with it. I got the message, all right. Bowties were the look for formal occasions or when you had trouble getting a necktie adjusted.

Once I grew older, I graduated to a necktie. I hated Sundays because it meant wearing a tie to church.

But my parents were more successful with me than I ever was with my two sons. I was beaten down to the point where I accepted every excuse imaginable, even on formal occasions.

"Ties are not cool," they informed me. "They are for nerds."

In truth, I couldn't complain. I was never a good example for them. I wore neckties only at weddings and funerals. Even then I was resentful. The only difference between a tie and a noose, as I see it, is that one is worn without a collar.

It isn't so much the tie that bothers me as the shirt to which it's attached. I can't seem to find a collar large enough to button at the top. I've tried these collar extensions and small elastics.

So I leave the top button unsecured and get caught. Some eagle-eyed sartorial critics even have the audacity to tighten my tie around the collar, while theirs are buttoned down prim and proper.

I have a hankering to go back and discard every tie I own. Neckties strangle clear thinking and make me livid. I do my best writing in a t-shirt, like right now.

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