As I noted earlier, the masculine equivalent of Sarah Palin’s specs and tied-up hair is to wear a coat and tie. The effect in both cases is to project seriousness of purpose.
So what are we to make of the fact that, all of a sudden, the male candidates for president and vice president are, quite deliberately, showing themselves in public without neckties?I don’t mean as a sort of occasional thing for a barbecue, but all the time. And don’t try to tell me this is just happening without somebody thinking about it; campaigns think about everything these days, as Peggy Noonan noted the other day (writing about Obama’s acceptance speech, the last time he was seen wearing a tie).
This has been coming for some time. As far back as 2006, Joe Biden was regularly appearing here in S.C. with a jacket, but no tie… sort of the Paul-McCartney-on-the-cover-of-Abbey-Road look. Here’s proof of that.
Then, I started noticing Obama doing the same. And McCain, too. And Huckabee and even Romney.
Here’s what worries me about this… those of you who are old enough to remember will recall how JFK killed men’s hats. There are some authorities that dispute it, but then there are many who believe Oswald didn’t act alone. Suffice it to say that before JFK, men wore hats. Afterwards, they didn’t.
Obama could do the same with the necktie. Biden and McCain aren’t so much of a threat, because when they go tieless, they just look like they’re been playing with their grandchildren and didn’t want them chewing on their ties. They don’t look natural that way.
But there’s been altogether too much loose talk about Obama’s charisma. No less an authority than Ted Sorensen has sat in my board room and pronounced Obama the rightful heir to Camelot. He’s already known as The One. How long can it be before he’s dubbed The Tieless One? (Note the picture above — while Biden just looks like he’s on his way to play golf, Obama is making that "early-60s, Best-and-Brightest" statement again with the white dress shirt, sleeves rolled up).
So, if the necktie industry, moribund as it is, wants to save itself, it had better do what it can to elect McCain. Because if Obama’s elected, every day will be casual Friday.
Or at least, he would get the "credit." The fact is that, as I have noted twice in recent columns, Gallup has found that only 6 percent of American men wear a tie to work every day. I, of course, am of the 6 percent, and am determined to wear the thing every day until I retire. I mean, I have to now — it’s a statement. Before, it was conformity. Now, it’s a statement of adherence to traditional values and seriousness of purpose. I’ll have you know that I bought on of the last bow ties at Lourie’s — in fact, it may have been the last bow tie they actually sold.
I also still have a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph wooden tennis racket, although I don’t use it any more. I do use my old persimmon 4 wood, though. When I’m hitting it right, it’s the best club in my bag; the ball flies like a rifle shot. Which reminds me, I’m not working today…