Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Magic of the Necktie

Several people have commented about me wearing a tie in the video. Let me just make one thing clear: I did not put on a tie for the video. I did not think about the backdrop, the lighting, or even what I would say, so I definitely did not dress up for it.

That said, I like neckties. I believe in the power of a necktie. I like the sliver of personal expression and color amidst the otherwise formal attire. The necktie can convey a lot. Blue with small red diamonds tells me that you probably vote republican and wish to convey your conservativeness. Pink tells me that you are probably urban, and confident. Your tie with shades of aqua tied in a four in hand knot tells me that you are laid back and possibly enjoy a Jack Johnson CD on the way to work. A red tie with strong pattern tied in a full Windsor with a perfect dimple tells me that you are strong willed and detail oriented. If you wear any color tie in a Pratt Knot, than you probably attending a boarding school or are just being a show off.

Personally I would like to see a return of just a wee bit of formality to American culture. For instance when I am on a cruise and attending the formal dress dinner, I HATE it when people show up without a tie and jacket. Those of us that showed up in a three piece suit and a date in an evening dress were looking for something a little more "Great Gatspy" and a little less "Margaritaville". I would also love it if I could go to a casino in Atlantic City and get more a little closer to the Monte Carlo in Monaco and a little further away from the cigarette dangling out of Grandmas mouth at the slot machine.

In the case of my video I simply wore a tie for business reasons earlier that night, and it being New Years, decided to keep it on, even though the missus and I were having drinks at home.

My advice top all you guys out there: learn to love your neckties. Unless you are working amidst machines that could catch them or are a doctor (they contribute to spreading infections in hospitals) you might want to consider sporting a tie now and then even if it is not required of you. Remember, unless you want to be a Mexican wrestler, you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. 

Apart from getting a better job it may even save the one you have. From 2000 to 2003 I worked for a VOIP company called Net2Phone. There was no dress code. People could, and did, show up in pajamas. I usually wore jeans and a T-shirt. My co-worker always wore a tie. We both survived 4 rounds of layoffs because we were good at our jobs. When that fifth round of lay offs came, and they could not find a significant work related reason to can one of us over the other, guess who got the axe? Thats right, me. That evening when I was out with my now former boss he basically told me that it just came down to the fact that my co-worker dressed better. Here is the thing: In my opinion, that decision was perfectly fair

Now I know that by and large the modern occult scene is casual. Very casual. So casual that some events requiring no clothes of any kind at all. That is fine, a t-shirt and sport jacket is not only the favored uniform of stand up comedians, but of lecturing Sorcerers as well. I think it is a shame however when uber-casual becomes a uniform of its own. I should not be able to identify you as a Pagan because of your airbrushed wolf sweatshirt or pewter pendant on leather string. I was once given a lecture by a prominent OTO member on how pathetic it is that people conform to wearing a necktie to show their status. This same person wears badges made of sticky felt on their black robe to indicate that they are a "Master Magician". I mean who the fuck are you kidding here? 

I am not suggesting that we get carried away with ourselves. Just stick to neckties on occasions that might warrant them. Unless you are wearing a tuxedo, or are a character on TV you should probably avoid bow ties. Likewise unless you are attending a Silk Pajama cocktail party or are a full-time flaneur you should steer clear of Ascots. It goes without saying that unless you are Charles Nelson Riley or Fred from Scooby Doo are you to don any other type of cravat. 

So with all the above I propose an experiment for all my gentlemen readers. The next time that you take your woman (or man)  out on a dinner date, why don't you throw on the theme to James Bond after your shower, take a little extra time getting cleaned up, and throw on a nice shirt tie? If its a first date it will make you stand out from some of the other jokers that she has been running around with. If you are married or have been together for a long time it will make a nice sense of occasion. She will appreciate the effort. She might even let you tie her hands to the bed post with it later that night. 


Anonymous said...

Let no one scorn the magic of the necktie!

The necktie was originally called the cravat, which comes from the French way of saying "Croat".

There was a contingent of Croatian mercenaries in the court of a French king, and he admired the neat little pieces of cloth they had tied around their necks, like little scarves. He ordered his tailor to make him something like that, wore it to court, and men have been wearing them ever since.

But it turns out that the original purpose of the cravat was as a magic charm to protect the wearer from being killed in battle.

So every morning, when men around the globe tie those pieces of cloth around their necks, they are really casting a spell to keep their heads from getting cut off.

And as you've shown us, it works!

Captcha: testis (!!!)

Leo said...

Bravo! Thank you for that post - I heartily concur on all your points. My mother used to make me dress for flying on an airplane (not a tie, but dress pants and shoes, etc.), and I suppose that dress code has stuck with me.

A Well-dressed Pagan

Charles Camomile said...

Thank you. Funny as how I got four new neckties today.

There is one magical community that has no dress code and seems to love dressing up for occasions. Not to mention a fetish for fedoras. I'll let you figure out who they are.

While I'm not a fedora man, I do enjoy it when someone dresses for an occasion. It lets me know that they don't wish to be confused with the "airbrush pewter pendant" kind. Thus it says something about them and how they wish to be seen in the world.

Redd89A said...

I like a good tie every once in a while. When I was still an accounting major I wore a tie multiple times/week. Nowadays people are lucky if I have a shirt on.

When my brother got married the dress code changed to formal a week before the date. My dad looked at me and asked if I even owned a suit and tie.

"Pfffft, please. I used to be a business major."

I teach swim lessons, but I've still walked into all of my interviews with a tie on. It has power.

Jhonn Smith said...

Ha, Jason! This is great! This outlines some of the more external changes I'm making for myself over the next six months. Bringing in the flair and a tad bit of formality to me presence. Good timing, sir.

The Scribbler said...

My mother is a WWII-generation German. As a child I was always dressed more formally and neatly than my contemporaries. And I went to Catholic school for seven years. I wore a tie five days a week (plus Sunday morning). I got used to it. As a matter of fact, I'm comfortabel in a tie. I have NEVER gone to an interview without wearing a tie. Even the time in 1979 when I applied for a part-time job scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins (I got the job, by the way). Now I live in Central Europe, and I think things are still a touch more formal than in the USA. My family and I dress up for Christmas Eve (when one traditionally opens presents here). I have often worn a tie to a job where other people didn't. At my last job I noticed that people treated me like management even though I wasn't officially at that level.

I wonder how much your attitude is a result of your Tibetan influences. I recall that Chogyam Trungpa rants about the excessive informality of Western culture. I concur. Formality is life affirming. Formality says, "I take the game of life seriously, and I value beauty and dignity."

Jow said...

Tie to work wouldnt work for me. Though scrubs are ideal and have their own oomph.

That said I do enjoy getting dressed up, though I feel like a weenus when I am the ONLY one. Going to dinner and everyone else is jeans and a t shirt and you are in a sport coat.. You stand out. Though generally I've found that the wait staff will come to you first, and you'll have some extra plumage to attract the gender of your choice from amongst a sea of short cotton sleeves.

In Western culture a tie has come to mean that a person is super serious about something. Also: more plumage.

For refrence the Windsor is my favorite knot, though that and the "half Windsor" are the only ones I know how to tie.

Being with a Partner who adores Victoriana has really rubbed off on my appriciation of the "Glamory of Glamour."

Didn't some urban explorer dude slither into many a restricted area with just the use of a tie and a clip board? Or did I dream that?

C-Style said...

Every girl's crazy about a well-dressed man. I love it! Saw a guy dressed on NYE like the singer, Ne-Yo! Every girl's head turned when he walked by!

Miss Sugar said...

In Cat Valente's Fairyland story, the witches said something along the lines of, "We must dress well, or the future will not take us seriously."

I am huge on glamoury, it can really help in a lot of situations and is its own magic.

I've been working a lot on that aspect both mundanely and magically.

Anonymous said...

Man, you are out of the loop. The ascot is *back.* :)

Rob Caldwell said...

Love the post. I wear a tie to work every day; despite the fact that business casual is the norm. It looks better and is more professional imo.
I like the part about going all *James Bond* on a date, too. Nice way to show you care a little bit more.

Gwynt-Siarad said...

great post, really, but and I quote..."it burns us! it burns us! takes it off!"--Golum. I hate the feeling of a necktie around my throte. Same goes for turtlenecks. My father is the same way. Though I agree with every thing you said in your post, it's less then once a year you'll see me in one.

Anonymous said...

I don't wear one for a different reason. For the life of me, I've never been able to tie a tie in a decent knot. All of my attempts wind up grossly deformed. So I have to skip ties.

FreeDragon said...

I have dated only ONE man who wore a tie on a daily basis. It's a very manly, powerful touch and I wish more men wore ties. Some of his ties were serious and some were fun. I learned to judge his mood by his tie. Sometimes I'd drap it around my neck like 'Pretty Woman' and he found that very erotic.

Chrys said...


I'm very jealous of how straight forward men's fashion is (or at least, how it looks from the outside) compared to women's. Why don't more men take advantage of that?

I've been trying to keep track of how I dress to present myself in the every-day. So far the results are inconclusive, but I think I'm too easily frustrated by women's fashions.

M said...

Can't disagree more. Ties are a stupid backward anachronism. People should have evolved by now. Appearances are nothing. Reality matters. Should we go back (as some so desperately wish) to some kind of "Father-knows-best" 40's era world of black&white (in more ways then 1), where only privileged white christian men had any power, and everyone else was supposed to "know their place", and keep to their place. Class systems are bad, hierarchic systems are bad. Bowing before the power of meaningless symbols is bad.

Michael Redmond said...

Totally agree. And I think that people really ought to give some thought to the clothing they wear to rituals. You're not going to the mall, you know ...

WitchDoctorJoe said...

Also agree.

I have seen Pagan chaplains show up at prisons wearing their *renaissance* shirts.


I wear a three piece suit, but no tie most times, I don't want a handle for anyone to grab if their is an incident.

But the rest of the time I bust out the silk. Right now I'm in Sacramento for state chaplains training, while many mainstream faiths or fairly casual, I'm sportin' the suit and tie, and it does make a difference!

Besides, I gatta represent properly!

Pallas Renatus said...

@M: Regardless of your views on what it represents, you have to admit that it's effective. When you want something to go your way (and what magician doesn't?), a little glamor magic (and that's precisely what dressing up is) works wonders.

k. a. sequoia said...

I love this! (And I loved the tie.)

I've always enjoyed being the one that most would think is a kinda hip (er...I hope) PTA mom.

Deep Magic, hidden in plain sight...
that's where the best work gets done.


Karen Shaw said...

Along with better dress, it would also be great if people stopped throwing out profanities with no consideration of the sensibilities of the ladies and gentlemen who are listening or reading.

That's the only problem I have with what I have read from you so far, other then that I have ordered two of your books!

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