Anyone who looks at my hunting shirts and chaps knows that I buy replacements when those in current use are beyond tattered and dilapidated. Sometimes mine seem to have more patches than actual cloth. I buy new gear every decade or so like clockwork, and my only salvation is that my necktie collection is worse.
One of my bird hunting buddies who recently learned that I was going to be a Senior Editor at Sporting Classics tried to improve my appearance. Last Tuesday he sent me a brand new cravat, thinking, you know, that I might spend more time at soirees than in the woods. His gift was bright and colorful, there was a bird hunter walking in on an honored setter point, the dogs’ had perfect 90-degree tail sets, and I was in awe. I discarded the gift box, for unlike- similar presents I received on Christmas and Father’s Days past, this tie was one I would wear.
Oddly enough, and like the successful snapshot he made a few months earlier on a grouse that blasted from underneath an apple tree, his timing was perfect. I had a meeting in Boston the very next day, and the tie snugged perfectly to my button-down shirt, ironed and freshly starched with Niagara spray. I drove into town and felt so smart that I passed on an exhaustive search for an on-street meter in favor of a slot in the covered parking garage.
I discarded the gift box, for unlike other similar presents I received on Christmas and Father’s Days past, this tie was one I would wear.
I removed my topcoat so as to prominently display my new cravat. I smiled, thinking of receiving my first watch when I was ten. That was a long time ago, but I remember looking down at the black and blue dial of the Timex Dive Watch every ten or so seconds. It took weeks for the newness of my time piece to wear off, and my buddies were exhausted by my constant reminders that is was 9:05 … that it was 9:10 … and that it was 9:15.
A businessman in what I think was an Armani suit entered the lift on the 10th floor. He looked at me and, probably because I was smiling, he smiled in return. He looked at my tie, looked up at me, looked back at the tie, and stared blankly at the door.
“It’s a little cold today,” I said.
He offered no response.
A moment or two passed and the elevator continued it’s descent to the lobby. The doors opened and he rushed out.
“Hope you have a nice day,” I said.
He paused just beyond the doors as I stepped forth.
“You know,” he said, “you’ve got a lot of nerve wearing a tie like that.”
I was grief stricken. “You don’t like my tie?” I asked. “A good friend sent it to me yesterday.”
I thought about it for a minute. “It is a little bright,” I said, “but on a cold, gray day like today we could all use a little brightness.”
“That isn’t it at all,” he said. “It’s got a guy with a gun. In case you didn’t know it, 2nd Amendment issues are the talk of the nation. We have big problems in the world and here you go wearing an offensive tie like that.”
I started to laugh.
“It’s not funny,” he said. “It’s horrible. Why are you laughing?”
I smiled and pointed at the dogs. “These are English setters,” I said. “I thought for sure you were a pointer man.”