The New York Times is the latest publication to announce the death of the necktie. Like so many articles of its kind, this eulogy proposes to replace the tie with…nothing. Indeed the un-tied men pictured simply wear a suit with an open shirt collar - the usual outfit, just without the tie, and with one shirt button unfastened. But I submit to you that this state of affairs is untenable. And not for the reason that you might think - that it’s unprofessional, or disingenuously populist, or whatever other reason Miss Manners might proclaim. No, it’s all about dicks.
As any reader of Ann Hollander’s Sex and Suits knows, the advent of the tie was no accident. It corresponded with the disappearance of the male codpiece - a “covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area.” (I outsource this description to Wikipedia because this is a delicate area and one must be very careful in one’s approach to it.) The codpiece gone, men sought another way to figuratively display their genitalia. Hence the tie.
And don’t give me that “sometimes a tie is just a tie” crap. Can you look at the knot on this man’s tie and not think he’s trying to send a signal? Or perhaps you can explain to me what this is all about?
Taking the codpiece as precedent, it’s clear that if the necktie is to shrivel into impotency, then there must arise some other manner in which the well-dressed man can put his best phallus forward. In these Trumpian times, some kind of belt extension may do:
The imagination excites at the possibilities for tip decoration.
I could also envision hats returning to serve in this role. The Homburg hat is already much of the way there:
A third possibility would be the return of casual sword-carrying. Once Obama takes away all of the guns, the sword will be the most potent weapon remaining. It’s a little awkward to walk with a scabbard constantly knocking your kneecap, and it’s always poking innocent bystanders on the subway, but then that’s just a realistic representation, amirite fellas?
We’ve got some time to think about this. The necktie is dying but not yet dead. There may be a period of mourning as a tomb is erected before a successor is named. But a successor there will be.
Top photo by Neil Watson.