Yesterday the Bus-Riding Conservative (who hasn’t been riding the bus much these days since the office has been closed) sent around a picture of himself wearing a mask and a suit and tie. He was donning his lawyer garb and mask to attend an important meeting, and he looked like a dashing corporate raider or somebody getting ready to rob a high-end country club — after cocktails, of course.
But the BRC made a somewhat shocking confession in conjunction with sending his photo. He admitted that it actually felt good to put on a tie after enduring a long, tieless period.
I’m surprised that the BRC’s astonishing statement didn’t produce thunderbolts from on high or breathless news reports that hell had frozen over, because it is likely the first time in the history of western civilization that a man has said that it felt good to put on a scrap of colored cloth that is specifically designed to cinch down on your windpipe and your sagging neck wattles and serves no functional purpose whatsoever, other than to become stained by splashes of food during power lunches.
The BRC’s mind-boggling confession got me to thinking, and I realized two things. First, I don’t miss wearing a tie in the slightest, although I will certainly put one back on, as part of the lawyer’s uniform, when things get back to some semblance of normalcy. And second, this has undoubtedly been the longest I’ve gone without wearing a tie in decades. This coming week will mark my three-month anniversary in the untied category. That hasn’t happened since at least law school — which ended, incidentally, during Ronald Reagan’s first term — and maybe since college, back in the Carter Administration. And even in college, we periodically had parties following a Blue Brothers theme where the costume required attendees to put on a hat, tie, and sunglasses. We may be going all the way back to high school.
I’ve written before about what parts of the new, coronavirus world will continue, and what parts will end when a vaccine is invented or “herd immunity” is achieved. Even before COVID-19 struck, there was a strong push against standard business attire — including tie — and in favor of general “business casual” requirements, in which the tie went the way of the Dodo. It will be interesting to see whether we’ve seen the last gasp of the necktie in the business world, and it turns out to be one of the many victims of the coronavirus.
If it is, there won’t be many male mourners — other than the BRC, of course.