Ladies and gentlemen, the most depressing picture of the year. Yes, worse than the pic of Joe Biden bringing muffins to lock-ins during the government shutdown.
These, my dear readers, are the “leaders” of the (what used to be called) free world.
Angela Merkel looks like an LCWR nun on her way to a lecture on the Theological Importance of Pantsuits. David Cameron resembles one of those guys stumbling to the continental breakfast at the company’s annual sales meeting after a long and unsuccessful night at the hotel bar.
And just what is Enrico Letta so happy about? That he was the only guy who thought about khakis? Saying anything about The One would be racist, so I’ll remain mute. I can only imagine that the French/Semi-French contingent were thinking “La cravate est morte!”
Putin had probably stripped off his shirt altogether and was out of frame stalking a journalist. Shinzo Abe, the only wise one of the group, was evidently so embarrassed about the assemblage that he carefully avoided the camera.
Damn politicians. What JFK did to the hat, Obama and confréres want to do to the tie. (I stole that line from the Blonde Bombshell.)
Oh, yes. According to the Wall Street Journal Mr Obama “even convinced Chinese President Xi Jinping to go tieless when they met this summer.” If only he could have talked him into eschewing hair dye, then we’d be somewhere. But why talk him out of a tie?
A lot of ill-informed men say they don’t need it. Sure they don’t. They don’t need underwear, either. But there’s still good reasons for not going without.
The paper dug up a quote from somebody nobody wanted to hear from, a certain Gavin Polone, who said, “It’s stupid. It makes no sense. What does it do? It’s just a decoration, an affectation. If I see a colleague wearing a tie, I usually ask if they’re going to a funeral or a job interview, or if they’ve been indicted.”
If you want to see what Polone looks like without a tie, click here; not that I recommend it. You can practically read his thoughts: “Do I look caring?” Ugh. And did you notice in Polone’s quote the tacit realization that to appear like a grown up and attend events intended for mature adults that a tie is a necessity? What Polone is really saying is, “I like to be a slob and you can’t make me change.”
A tie is not “just a decoration.” It is there to provided a necessary visual balance, to even out the, what would otherwise be, abrupt transition of your neck popping out of your shirt to the expanse below. Without a tie your head appears too large, like it doesn’t really belong with the rest of the outfit. Go tie-less and your chest looks smaller. But put on a tie and balance is restored.
When gentlemen first thought of becoming guys, they didn’t toss out their ties but invented replacements, like the turtle neck. Not that this is recommended, but the idea was to “relax” and still maintain the balance, i.e. hide the neck. Incidentally, a cravat (in the American usage of the word) is far, far better than a tie when not wearing a coat. Wearing a tie without a coat and people think want to sell them insurance.
If you insist on not wearing a tie but do wear a jacket, and you’re not going to button the top button of your shirt, then at least leave the coat unbuttoned. Buttoning the coat is sending a mixed signal: formal informality.
Was it exhaustion with formality that caused our leaders to appear like “one of the people”? How far will the horror of egalitarianism spread? How long until we see Francois Hollande with a Je Suis Avec Stupide t-shirt over “dress” jeans? Could it be the president will show up to a press conference on Obamacare in a knit shirt emblazoned with the UnitedHealthcare Logo?