I bought a bow tie for the wine tasting we're hosting this weekend. I don't really know how to tie a bow tie, but they give you instructions on how to tie them in the box with the bow tie. They look more or less like this:
pulled that off someone's blog, but essentially, they're the identical
instructions that came on a card in the box into which my new bow tie
was elegantly stuffed.
I won't ask you to read through the
steps, but, well, no, go ahead and read through as much as you can. I
think somewhere around instruction 2 or possibly 3 is where the words started sliding
over each other. I can't think of a better way to describe it, but the
instructions should be easy enough to follow, and for some reason
I just couldn't wrap my head around them. I got all swimmy and
confuzzled. I found myself reading the instructions aloud and very
slowly performing the actions as I read. Emma, curious, watched from
"Can I try?" she asked.
"In a minute, Em," I mumbled, "I need to figure this out for myself."
She waited in what was her version of 'patiently'.
bow tie was a wad of fabric vaguely globe-shaped as I completed the instructions. It fell to rest
against my shirt shapelessly. I extracted its component parts from the weave into which I'd contorted it and gave the tie to Emma, busying myself
making lunches and grumbling to myself.
Leslie called from the family room.
"Emma, you need to study for your tests." Emma dejectedly set aside her work with the
tie and collected her papers to study, the tie just as unvanquished by her youth and enthusiasm as it had been by my aged experience.
"I almost had the shape right," she muttered.
we both revisited the project, this time with a few Youtube videos. I
searched for "How to tie a bow tie." There were many. One tutorial
was ten minutes long. Ten. I watched it. I made it perhaps through
six minutes before I was overwhelmed and set the project aside once more. Emma
picked up where I left off, fresh from having correctly answered all the questions I had
asked her from her study guides, and therefore fulfilling her commitment to "study for her tests."
We both eventually went to our respective beds that night unsuccessful.
morning I again revisited the project. I watched a shorter, but much
less technical version of "how to tie a bow tie". Although the video
was shorter, and the person in the video hadn't paid enough attention to
allowing his pupils a clear view of the tie he was tying as he was
tying it, I had some success following his directions, which were simpler.
I practiced while waiting for Lily's bus to come pick her up. Lily was swinging the cat by its tail, or hitting baseballs through the TV or playing in the street or something, it's not terribly clear to me, so consuming was my need to overcome this hurdle. At last...
a passable bow. I don't mind the folded knot. I don't mind the asymmetry of the two sides. In my head it sort of gives the bow tie
character. It shows it off as "hand tied" vs. "clip on". I'm not saying I'm standing pat with that effort. I still
have some work to do, but it's a bow, and it's tied correctly. Or...is
So this thing occurs when you tie the tie as I tied
it. The right side is a loop. The left side is the tail of the loop.
In my head I thought that couldn't be right. In my head a
properly tied bow tie has a bow and a bow...loop and loop in front, tail
and tail in back: bow/tail on the left, bow/tail tail on the right. I asked around. There was general agreement among the equally uninformed. I
tried googling this: "Top view of a bow tie". It was really hard to find. Nonexistent even.
ARE THERE NO TOP VIEW SCHEMATICS OF BOW TIES??? This was the thought
that entered my head. Caps required. I was passionate about this lack
of important information. The question in my head amounted essentially to this:
*He denies it to this day using the "it wasn't me" defense.
did a lot of digging. A loooooooooooot of digging. Almost every picture of a bow tie is from the
front. It's impossible to tell if I had my tie correctly tied. I
revisited the how-tos. I watched videos, combed pictures, asked my
boss. It wasn't clear. But everyone with whom I spoke on the matter
agreed...two bows in front, two tails in back.
Despite this, I soldiered on until I came across this diagram:
Then I came across this diagram:
I possessed the above diagram yesterday none of this would have been an
issue. Or maybe it would have been a different issue, because without
words I challenge any reader who is still hanging in there despite the subject matter to tie a bow tie using the above diagram and no explanation.
I informed my boss of my findings, but he remained unconvinced.
"Google Bill Nye," he suggested.
did so. Nestled among the thousands of pictures of "The Science Guy"
and his signature bow tie were clearly visible examples that when Bill Nye
ties his bow tie, like the old cliche says: he does it just like the
rest of us, bow/tail/tail/bow. Case closed.
Do other men know this? Other men who don't wear bow ties, I mean?
In my Google travels, I came across a how-to video from Howdini. The caption of the how-to was, "Knowing how to tie a bow tie is one of those skills a woman should know, so she can help her man when the need arises." And I thought, "Why is my wife so useless in bow tie matters?" and resolved to punish her with icy stares and stony silences while she fetches my slippers and pipe when we finish the home-cooked meal she prepares me after she's done working full time today.
Today at work, Emma texted me a picture of herself wearing my bow tie, neatly tied. "Look daddy, I did it." I'm almost positive she suffered no qualms regarding the relative locations of the bows and their tails in relation to one another.