Saturday, June 06, 2009

The tie that kills - Part 2

The modern necktie (yuck!) and bowtie ( aaawwggh!) are said to have descended from the Cravat, a loose neck band that made its appearance in the 16th century.

An entry in page 32 of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction” written in the year 1823, attributed the alarming increase in the case of apoplectic fits, to the practice of wearing cravats.

"A recent medical writer maintains that the alarming increase of apoplectic fits is attributable, in a great measure, to the custom of wearing cravats; an addition to our dress which was not made until the 16th century, previous to which period, he says, the disorder was met with but as one to three compared with the present. And he seeks to strengthen his hypothesis by observing, that women are less liable to apoplexy than men, “although the nature of their economy might be supposed to lead oftener to the complaint."

At least, the cravat was a loose neckband which allowed some air circulation. The damage therefore was limited to apoplectic fits. The necktie that evolved from it and became fashionable in the late nineteenth century and a rage in the twentieth century is a monstrosity that should have been banned by law. It chokes and constricts. Why otherwise sane men should sport this appendage and voluntarily cut off blood supplies to their brains is something I have never been able to appreciate.

And when you reflect that decisions involving billions of dollars are taken in corporate offices by men in neckties, with zero blood circulation in their brains, you understand why the global economy has collapsed.

As I posted earlier, I intend writing a book on sartorial styles and will devote an entire chapter ( “The tie that kills”) to curse the inventor of the tie.

(Full disclosure: Alas, I am a member of the "Choked-Neck Club" that obliges me to wear a tie, from time to time)


Usha said...

I have often wondered about the functional objective of a tie - is it some kind of a bib protecting the shirt from getting stained while eating or drinking?
Or whether it keeps people awake by making it uncomfortable to sleep off during office hours?
Or does it represent a noose symbolising our relationship to our work?
Or perhaps it is just a clever way to add some colour to the otherwise sober dressing style of men.

Raj said...

Usha, the sole function of a tie is to cut off blood supply to the brain, believe me. I refuse to accept that there was any other sane objective.

dipali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dipali said...

My husband is a card carrying member of the anti-tie brigade ever since he was whacked in boarding school for not wearing one. He does wear one on rare occasions when it's absolutely essential, but not happily.
And what about poor schoolkids in the tropics, struggling with ties in the heat?