The Bow Tie

An interesting sideline intersected with me this weekend. Many years back, perhaps you will remember this; you used to wear bow ties. So stricken was I with this bit of masculine, albeit class-ridden, attire that I beseached an indulgence upon you involving an instruction, or a set of instructions, as to how to effect this bow tying process.

For the life of me, I cannot recall as to why these procedural steps (methodologies, if you will) never seemed to surface. Suffice it to say, my bow tie exposures had been limited to pre-tied tuxedo type affairs when called upon to either preside over a wedding or play a concert.

And then we were invited to a destination wedding. My cousin’s son decided to make an honest woman of his long-time girlfriend and the two involved themselves and their respective guests in an elaborate Memorial Day weekend wedding within the Saratoga, New York area.

The first night involved a “rehearsal dinner.” Frankly I saw no rehearsals whatsoever. The second night, Sunday, was the wedding proper. As elaborate an affair as ever I have seen.

All took place within the absolutely charming confines of Saratoga Springs proper.

Allow me this minor digression. If you ever get the opportunity, or an itch, to drive to the Western Albany area, not too far from Lake George, do so. It is the most charming of towns with restaurants and pubs galore. Host of the famous Saratoga horse races, the town is festooned with all things horse. Statues, photos, memorabilia, museums, parks and beyond. Oh yes. Saratoga Springs is water central. Different types of waters to sample, hither thither and yon. Interesting, I suppose. The town boasts of this. Frankly, the aspect of waters for sampling fascinates me almost to the extent of having ring side seats to grass growing competitions. In fact the wedding at issue took place within the bucolic confines of a spring park as such.

Again, I digress. The wedding was a black tie formal affair. Of course, as the drinking and debauchery escalated, the initial formality took to the skies as so many dandelion seeds. In fact at one point, as the band’s volume escalated exponentially, our five year old grandson, Preston, took it in his head that he was the world’s pre-eminent break dancer and moon walker and proceeded to demonstrate his self impressed skills to the entirety of the wedding’s attendees who, to a man, encircled him and clapped and whistled their respective encouragement to which he happily obliged. Our daughter caught the proceeding all on video. Hopefully this act of enshrinement will serve to embarrass the tar out of him in later years.

The so-called rehearsal dinner was slightly less formal although there were stringent dress requirements involving hats for the ladies and bowties for the gentlemen … me as well.

The festivities, held in the racing museum, was decorated with the extremely competent offerings of a six piece Dixieland jazz band. And yes, afterwards, I engaged them in musical discourse involving stringed instruments. The party was over and my wife literally had to haul my carcass away even as I continued the conversation.

Again, the rehearsal dinner mandated the presentation of bow ties to adorn the closed collars of the gentlemen attendees. Upon reflection although many clip-on and pre-tied bowties were displayed, there were a respectable proportion of self tied bowties.

Prior to this, I had decided to adopt a purist route and did, in fact, take it upon myself to bite the proverbial bullet and acquire a couple of bowties and teach myself the manly art of bowtying (if I may coin a phrase).

I first dropped in on my haberdasher of choice who had the galling temerity to demand $49.50 for a single strand of bowtie finery. Barely suppressing a sputtering and not even bothering to quash an eye-rolling, I decided to voice an unspoken vulgarity to myself (I know you’re shocked) and in not so many words thought the establishment might serve itself well by placing the bowtie and its price well within the confines of areas where the moon don’t shine.

Reluctantly I drove to a mall (I despise malls) ultimately winding up in JC Penneys where two merit worthy enough ties displayed themselves for $12.99 and I acquired two. In retrospect I still feel this price point to be overly dear. But there you are.

And now, to the crux of the matter. Purchases in hand, all attentions turned to the internet in order to attempt to locate blow by blow instructions in either text, video or pictorial form. I utilized them all. Sure enough, there was sufficient information enabling even me to follow along in order to traverse the path of bowtying (there’s that word again) expertise.

All humility aside, during our return bus trip back to our hotel, a fellow traveler inquired as to whether my bowtie was pre-prepared or had I, in fact tied it myself. After proving said tie was self-prepared, he frowned and shook his head in admiration and advised he was duly impressed.

Even now, as I put these thoughts to virtual paper, my jacket and pin-striped shirt is adorned by one of those ties.

I owe it to you. There are several pictures of me taken by the hired roving photographer. When, if ever, I somehow latch on to one of these photographs, I’ll send it to you.