Annabelle Gurwitch

10 Things Annabelle Gurwitch Should Know About Bow Ties

Annabelle Gurwitch

Annabelle Gurwitch (Source: Annabelle Gurwitch via Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license)

Dear Annabelle,

Thanks for answering my etiquette question about how to politely suggest that people who wear pretied bow ties switch to tying their own during this week’s episode of the Dinner Party Download. You’re right; it is kind of silly to go all neckwear nazi on people. You said:

Okay, Bow Tie Aficionado, man, get a life. I’m sorry, but I’m worried about this guy. Does he stop children on the street and say, “No Velcro on shoes! You must tie those sneakers!” It’s not good. It’s all bad. Don’t do it. And consider changing your Twitter handle, too. How many followers can you attract? It’s artisanal ties.

You also questioned if I wear sock suspenders. While I have tried them, I don’t currently wear them. They fall down too easily. Having said that, when it comes to age, I’m on the border between the Gen Xers and Millenials. Regardless, I appreciate your concern for my well being. How sweet!

I was truly giddy when I heard you skewering me. How many people get to say that a prominent comedian openly mocked them on national radio?

Now, I’m assuming that as a comedian you embellished things during your interview. I’m sure that you do know people who wear bow ties — whether you know it or not — and do have some appreciation for the neckwear. Following that assumption, I thought that I would help you out. I reckon that a broad sense of the world is helpful for a comedian as it would help them craft a wide array of jokes. So, here are 10 facts about bow ties that you can take to increase your overall knowledge for your next show or dinner party.

  1. Some pretty famous dudes wore or wear bow ties. They include: Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (as a tribute to his daddy), Questlove from The Roots and The Tonight Show, Spanish fashion designer Manolo Blahnik, and former NFL player Dhani Jones. Some fictional wearers are two Doctors from Doctor Who (Patrick Troughton’s 2nd and Matt Smith’s 11th) and Sesame Street‘s Mr. Hooper.
  2. Sticking with Doctor Who… The show’s jefe Steven Moffat (also of Sherlock fame) didn’t want Smith to wear a bow tie as part of his character’s outfit. According to RadioTimes, Moffat said:

    Matt said ‘I should be a boffin, I think I need to go with the bow tie’ and I said ‘No, absolutely not, you’re not wearing a bow tie – that’s a cartoon idea of what Doctor Who is… Oh, you are going to wear a bow tie – you look incredible in it.

    And from that moment on he suddenly came to life, and he put the tweed jacket on and suddenly he’s leaping round the room with a biro pen and that was it – he was the Doctor.

  3. One can wear bow ties and still have some people consider you funny. Just look at Paul Reubens aka “Pee Wee Herman.” (I’m curious to hear your assessment of him as a fellow comedian.)
  4. GQ states that perfect alignment of the tie is not expected — nor preferred. This neckwear is suppose to look somewhat floppy or off-kilter.
  5. The Wall Street Journal reports that many people believe that their first use was during the Prussian wars when Croatian mercenaries used them to tie their shirt collars shut.
  6. According to Bloomberg over the last few years their sales have increased dramatically — increasing from 4% of the 2012 US neck wear market to 7% in 2013. This is also seen among Millenials. (So, yeah, a bow tie wearer doesn’t need to time travel to use Twitter as you quipped in the interview.)
  7. Bow ties are used a for many charity events.
  8. Men don’t have to fear coming across as a twit for wearing them. As Slate‘s Gentleman Scholar Troy Patterson says, “People despise Tucker Carlson because he is Tucker Carlson.”
  9. Boxing is a black tie affair. Many Boxing associations and federations — including the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which is the federation that partners with the International Olympic Committee for the sport — require referees to wear black bow ties.
  10. The Wall Street Journal reports that celebrity chef Alton Brown (who owns 150 bow ties) claims that they’re good for workplace safety by stating, “Mr. Brown, a pilot, found regular neckties got tangled in his harnesses and cables. A bow tie solves the problem—and is safer in the kitchen.” Further, Gordon Gee (who has been the president of Ohio State and West Virginia University) told the New York Times: “It’s much more difficult to be hung by the faculty with a bow tie than with a long tie.”
  11. BONUS FACT: Bow ties are related to getting laid. Influential sex researchers Alfred Kinsey and William H. Masters wore them regularly.

You’re probably even more concerned about me now. Why does this guy know so much and care so much about neckwear? Well, that’s a good question.

First, I do enjoy wearing them, and many people in my life like it that way. The ladies pay more attention to me while the fellas are envious that I can pull the look off. Second, I work in the social media realm, and this is a personal project that provides me a safe sandbox to play in and use shiny new things without involving my employer. Third, I like to know interesting facts; they serve as great cocktail dinner party fodder.

Either way, I hope that you find this interesting and have a new appreciation for bow ties.

The Bow Tie Aficionado