What is it with guys and their ties? Since the chemical industry has embraced business casual, open-necked shirts are the order of the day even for important meetings. And "Dress Down Friday" moves one step lower in the sartorial chain, from what I saw sitting in the reception area of Shell one Friday, to feature a lot of washed out blue denim. I don't believe that a tie has been seen in downtown Houston for many a long year.
Our American cousins have been sporting chinos and polo (golf) shirts to NPRA and other conferences for years, but European and Asian delegates have clung steadfastly to their suits and ties. Now this year, when non-Americans are going to be even more in the minority than in previous years, the peer pressure to shed ties will be even greater.
A debate has been raging on the letters page of the Times about the perceived pointlessness of ties. One writer described the tie as the "last remaining item of male attire to serve no useful purpose whatsoever," while another welcomed the tie-less but drew the line at string vests. More importantly for our industry, one letter noted that "a tie helps the older man to hide the rapid progression of a wrinkled neck."
For the final and comprehensive word on the subject, a link on Twitter has led me to the credo of the Mandarin Collar Society, champions of tie-discarding everywhere:
- Neckties are often discarded when men reach a certain level of success and achievement.
- Neckties are the bearers of bad news: They show and tell the wearer when he has gained weight.
- Neckties have no obvious function other than as soup bibs, and something for adversaries to grab in a fight.
- Neckties waste time, encourage tardiness, and contribute to trillions of lost work hours.
- Neckties are increasingly uncomfortable as the Earth's temperature rises because of global warming.
- Neckties are just fancy choke collars to impose conformity, invite enslavement, and remind the wearer that his superiors have him by the neck.
- Neckties present health risks, choke off the oxygen supply, contribute to glaucoma, and are immediately removed in medical emergencies.
- Neckties require expensive dry cleaning and waste money that could be spent on necessities, such as golf clubs.
- Neckties cannot be worn with today's ultimate style statement, the mandarin collar.