The tie gave men personality and character. It denoted social position and taste. It has, however, fallen on lean times.
My business uniform consisted of slacks, a sport or suit coat, a dress shirt and a tie. Surely it was warm and sometimes confining, but when I was dressed that way, I knew I was working.
It was like a police officer strapping on her weapon or a dentist putting on a white coat.
Even better, when I took off my necktie, I knew I was off duty.
Discarding the shaped piece of silk cloth was symbolic as well as real.
You could tell a good deal about a person by their choice of ties. Each tie makes a statement.
When I retired, I took more than 120 ties from my closet. I left a few in case of a funeral or formal event.
I miss wearing a tie. It gave me a chance to assert my individuality.
Another good thing about wearing ties regularly is that it gave people an idea for potential gifts, although I rarely was gifted with one I would choose myself. Yet I cherished those bought by my children, no matter what.
Neckties are also great things to purchase while on vacation. I have them from all over America and several foreign countries. You can easily get them in a suitcase, and the baggage handlers have a hard time breaking them.
But slowly, men began shedding their ties. First it was teachers. When I was a child, all male teachers wore suits and ties to school.
Then it was physicians. Around the hospital you can tell the administrators from the doctors by the presence of a tie. Doctors rarely wear ties, though they often wear a stethoscope around their neck, instead.
Grocery clerks in most supermarkets wear ties. I am not sure why. Their aprons should be uniform enough. Interesting to me is that female grocery clerks often wear ties, too.
Morticians also wear ties a good deal. It makes them look more formal, I guess. You probably would not want a man in shorts and a Raiders T-shirt taking care of your deceased loved one.
I miss ties, but not enough to go back to wearing them.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4201 or e-mailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.