Business Casual-ty

Ben Stein in necktie

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 men don’t wear neckties any longer unless they are in subservient posts.

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.

8 Responses to “Business Casual-ty”

  1. ChaChaHeels June 18, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    I rarely agree with Ben Stein on most things, but he does have the ability to make me laugh. I just think his tactic of shaming men back into the tie isn’t going to be effective–in fact, it looks to me like he’s going to Anna Karenina himself in front of that approaching sartorial train of history.

    So I can’t leave the task up to him alone.

    Men must know (through observation and experience, I hope!) that a great tie worn with a gorgeous suit has far more sex appeal than any other option they’ve got (tuxedo excluded…and there again, the necktie’s got to be there). More than any other piece of clothing, a great tie is a superb lure in seduction. If the material’s wonderful, it becomes one of those heightened sparks of sensual pleasure, precisely when someone who’s interested in you reaches to help you out of it. And that’s just the start, isn’t it?

    Of course, it helps if the mind behind the tie has plenty of charms such as the ones we used to associate with ties–a certain amount of wit and knowledge, a sense of humour and of the aesthetic, some worldliness…maybe if we can get the tie wearing to happen again men will want to have all of these attributes again.

  2. okdc June 18, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    On one hand I agree with him, but doesn’t he only wear Vans shoes, never dress shoes?

  3. diddy June 18, 2008 at 11:29 pm #

    The biz caz movement killed the necktie and now it’s going after jackets. They’ll stop at nothing to see us all Docker-clad.

    http://thebizcazblues.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/the-death-of-the-american-necktie/

  4. C.S. June 20, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Well, I used to enjoy wearing ties, but after reading how much stock Ben Stein puts in the whole concept, I’m considering switching to t-shirts and flip-flops, even though I’m an attorney. Good God above, what a self-righteous ass!

  5. David July 7, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    Remember when Ben Stein was funny because we thought he was just pretending to be a reactionary jerk? Then somehow he fell for the joke and became….this. And it’s not about the clothes; I dress in suit and tie every day for work because that’s what I prefer.

  6. Forrest Greene August 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    It seems Ben Stein does not believe in the evolution of fashion, either.

  7. victoria December 26, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    Lol! What is that??!

  8. foolio_iglesias March 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Even Bueller is wearing ties now,honest.