Conservative curmudgeon Ben Stein, himself never seen in public without a necktie—whether a militantly preppy one with dogs on it, or a militantly elitist one from Yale Law School—recently responded on TV to the supposed demise of the tie. Apparently he always keeps his high horse tethered nearby:
You see this lovely silken thing around my neck? It’s called a necktie.
When I was a lad and a younger man, men wore these to show they did not work with picks and shovels and pitchforks.
Ties were a symbol of white collar status, although even some workmen wore them under their leather aprons.
If you had on a necktie, it showed you had some sense of organization, some sense of dignity about yourself.
Even schoolboys wore them. At fabulous boarding schools like Cardigan Mountain in New Hampshire, where my handsome son went, boys still wear them. It showed, to use a word that you rarely hear, class.
Now, I read in The Wall Street Journal, on the front page, if you please, that.
This will probably come as a bit of a surprise to Senators McCain and Obama, as well as to President Bush. They generally wear neckties, at least on TV.
It will probably come as a shock to all of the network newscasters and the late night talk show hosts. They’re the coolest guys on the planet, and they wear neckties.
But never mind. The Journal says only 6% of men wear neckties to work, and the necktie is being run down by history.
I hereby quote my late great friend Bill Buckley and say, I am going to stand in front of the train of sartorial history and shout, “STOP!”
The necktie is a sign of a man who is there to work, not to play. It’s what a man who takes his responsibilities seriously wears. Men who want to look and act like small children dress like small children, or surfers, or hoboes, or something.
Plus, the necktie covers over a little part of one’s paunchy stomach. And it just generally makes a man look better, smarter.
My fellow men: stop dressing like children. Start dressing like grownups and acting like grownups. The necktie is a start.
Kids, it’s the perfect time of year to get your dads a necktie. Get with the program, before we become a nation of open-collared slackers.
I mean it. Right now. And then straighten up your room.