Tighter, please
July 29, 2003 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I always thought that starting the day by tying a rope around your neck made no sense. No it turns out that wearing a tight tie may damage your eyesight
posted by magullo (18 comments total)
My father and oldest brother suffer from glaucoma and both are militant anti-necktie men. They hate neckties, and would rather die than put one one. I, on the other hand, have worn a necktie six days a week for the past 23 years, and my eyesight is perfect. Many people speculate about the symbolism of the necktie. The cheapest and easiest belief (the favorite of the half-educated) is that the necktie is a symbolic penis. This, is assure you, it is not. I say this for the simple reason that the necktie is soft, and that a soft penis symbol is no penis symbol worth having or displaying. I would suggest that the necktie is simply a symbolic yoke. We wear it around our neck to indicate that when we are wearing it, we are oxen in our traces, doing the work of our employers, our companies, or otherwise performing the heavy lifting of social convention (weddings, funerals, dinner parties, etc.). It is a sign that informs the observer that its wearer is "on duty" to his employer or his society.
posted by Faze at 8:12 AM on July 29, 2003

This, is assure you, it is not. I say this for the simple reason that the necktie is soft

Except in the case of Dilbert, of course.

Also, Faze, if it's just a yoke, a cravat would work better. Why have anything that hangs down, at - er - length?

And have any other "half-educated" people noticed the complementary de rigeur formal dress elements of Western men and women, respectively - a) a tie, and b) a dress (whose symbolism I hope I don't have to explain to the thoroughly educated)?
posted by soyjoy at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2003

[via slashdot]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:06 AM on July 29, 2003

Many people speculate about the symbolism of the necktie

Hardly a symbol -- more of an arrow.

"Hey, you like my face? Take a look at THIS."
posted by thanotopsis at 9:07 AM on July 29, 2003

In other news to day, barbecues give you cancer. So that's nice.
posted by chill at 9:07 AM on July 29, 2003

"Many events in the history of mankind eventually fade into oblivion, but others leave their indelible marks for the entire world to see. More than 350 years ago, the Croats initiated one such influential occurrence. Although started in the 17th century in a small region on the Adriatic coast, the consequences of this event are still very much evident the world over. 600 million people now wear the ubiquitous symbol of Croatia around their necks..."

- The History of the Necktie
posted by eyebeam at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2003

The origin of the necktie
posted by brettski at 9:10 AM on July 29, 2003

More like they damage your dignity.
posted by jon_kill at 9:21 AM on July 29, 2003

Sex and Suits: a comprehensive history of modern dress, with appropriate emphasis on neckwear, by art historian Anne Hollander.

Some commentary and excerpts on and from the same book.
posted by The Michael The at 9:24 AM on July 29, 2003

Faze: I have glaucoma. Be careful about that "my eyesight is perfect." Glaucoma is a symptomless progressive disease. You can have "perfect" 20/20 or better vision and still have it. Without regular (yearly) testing, you won't know you have it until it begins to cause blindness (and even then, in the early stages, your brain will tend to compensate for the vision loss like it does for your "blind spots.") By the time you can see the effect on your visual field the damage is profound. If you've had a recent eye exam, including glaucoma screening, and your doctor has ruled out glaucoma, great. But most people with "perfect" vision never see an eye doctor because they don't think they need to because they don't need glasses. It's a common misconception that I try to dispell every time I run into it. They call glaucoma the "silent thief" of vision for a reason. And it tends to run in families--my mother had it too and she didn't know about it until her vision was profoundly affected. She described it as "looking through Swiss cheese." I was very lucky to be diagnosed before damage was done and I have my pressure under control with meds. Get your vision checked yearly whether you think it's perfect or not (everyone, not just Faze).
posted by AstroGuy at 9:39 AM on July 29, 2003

Faze - you've fazed me. So you've worn a tie six days a week for the past 23 years and you think it symbolizes a yolk? Why? Are you a slave or do you just continue in this practice because you think it wards off glaucoma?
posted by jamespake at 10:54 AM on July 29, 2003

I'm going to turn a blind eye to chill's link. NOT TRUE.
posted by GriffX at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2003

Did anyone else read the first sentence of the FPP and think it was going to be about something entirely different, before reading the second one? Or was it just me?
posted by nath at 1:49 PM on July 29, 2003

The reason dresses are designed the way they are is so that it's easier for women to piss standing up in them, not because they're symbolically vaginas.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:54 PM on July 29, 2003

Ennnnt. It's also easier for men to piss standing up in a dress than it is with a zipper.

And are you really suggesting, Pseudo, that bathroom habits are the rationale behind strictly gender-segregated formal dress? What would Emily Post say?
posted by soyjoy at 7:49 AM on July 30, 2003

soyjoy, I suspect that menstruation and a desire to hide its effects in the days before tampons and high-tech sanitary napkins may also have played a role in the dress becoming the norm for women's clothing over the centuries.

jamespake, A yoke is good if wearing it helps you to make tons of money and gives you enormous freedom and choices in every other area of your life. Not having money is another kind of yoke, and you wear that seven days a week, all day and all night.
posted by Faze at 8:53 AM on July 30, 2003

Faze - I have no quibble with how dresses developed. But it doesn't explain the strict segregation, specifically how men are now prohibited at all times from wearing dresses (long after the original "primitive" origins were grown out of and men were wearing still wearing skirts formally) unless they're trying to make a political statement - or unless they're defiantly Scottish, which is pretty much the same thing.

It also seems like, well, an amusing coincidence that what's necessary to reach the height of formality for each gender in this culture also happens to be a convenient, oversized symbol for their respective genitalia. In other words, I don't think Western civ has "matured" as far as it believes it has. The seams are still showing.
posted by soyjoy at 9:26 AM on July 30, 2003

soyjoy>Ennnnt. It's also easier for men to piss standing up in a dress than it is with a zipper.

And thus the fact that most people, men or women, have throughout history worn kilts or robes rather than pants.

And are you really suggesting, Pseudo, that bathroom habits are the rationale behind strictly gender- segregated formal dress?

It's no less ridiculous than assuming that the reason is to display giant symbolic versions of our genitals. Or that the desire to do so would make Western civilisation "immature".
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:18 PM on July 31, 2003

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