A Tie That Binds

In my last retail job one characteristic that distinguished me from all other male employees in the store was that I wore a bow tie every day.  One of the guys I worked with whom I’ll call Joe was 6’5”, in his 40s and had a sense of humor as irreverent as mine.  When I first started, he wore a bow tie but only occasionally.  A difference between us was that I tied my tie every day (like a grown man) and he wore a clip-on tie.  I never tired of telling customers and employees how badly I felt that Joe had to buy his clip-on bow ties in the Boy’s Department.  If you wanted to buy a bow tie in our Men’s department, you had to be able to tie it.  I did consider Joe’s feelings a few times and considered ignoring this fashion faux pas.  I also considered not mentioning his fraudulent tie to strangers that passed by.  However, I decided what the heck, it tickled me.  I don’t want anyone to think that I was singularly cruel, because his observations were equally painful.  His frequent references to my “old man” shoes were particularly vicious.  One day I got a text from Joe on his day off.  Apparently, he had decided he was going to remove that “clip-on” arrow from my quiver.  He set about teaching himself to tie an adult tie and achieved success.  He sent me a picture as proof of his new skill.  The tie in Joe’s picture was tied perfectly.  Because he was lounging around at home, the picture was a little goofy if you looked beyond the tie.  His bow tie training had obviously taken place in bed.  Being in bed, he wasn’t wearing a dress shirt which would have gotten wrinkled. Because it was kind of fun, I showed the picture to a few of my colleagues.  When Joe came back to work the next day, some of the other employees commented on the picture and he wasn’t pleased.  I always knew Joe had some healthy vanity; we all do.  He is always very well dressed (except for trousers he wears that look like harem pants) and the picture did not represent the image he feels he projects.  For me this was extremely good news.  The previous day I had lost the best tool I had to needle Joe when we were joking around because he never wore a clip-on tie again.  He actually provided me with my replacement tool.  From that point on, I showed that photo to our customers showing them what a beautiful bow tie Joe could create.  Customers had a variety of reactions; Joe’s was always the same.  Months later, after sharing the picture one day, I put the phone down for just a moment.  That moment was enough time for Joe to scoop up the phone and delete the picture.  He was quite pleased with himself.  Thank goodness for the Cloud.