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Bowties on the WWW

By Devin D. O'Leary

DECEMBER 8, 1997:  I'm firmly convinced that any piece of information you could ever desire is out there somewhere on the Internet. You just need to know where to find it. I have yet to run across a single subject without at least some information scattered around cyberspace. Take, for example, this week's dilemma. After an exhausting multimonth search through area thrift stores, I finally located an honest-to-goodness black silk bow tie. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a real bow tie. Clip-ons a plenty! But real bow ties? Good luck. Of course, now that my formal attire is complete--vintage tux, white ruffled shirt, black cummerbund and black silk bow tie--I've run into another problem. I have no idea how to tie a bow tie. And with the holiday season fast approaching, I could be in trouble. Help me World Wide Web, you're my only hope!


Kurt Dunder's Bow Tie Guide (www2.dk-online.dk/users/kurt_dunder/butterfl.htm)--Kurt Dunder is, apparently, a popular Danish comic strip character. His home page includes several illustrated adventures, a list of merchandising and this handy page on how to tie a bow tie (Kurt, I guess, wears a lot of bow ties). The instructions are a simple cartoon illustration with no text. You may be able to stumble through a half-way decent knot with this one, but the risk of strangulation is still high. The Danish are fine cartoonists but poor bow tie wearers.


Puritan Clothing of Cape Cod ( www.virtualcapecod.com/puritan/bowtie.html)--Here's some very clean line illustrations and step-by-step instructions to lashing that bow tie to your neck. I still get kinda lost around step five, though. "With your left thumb and forefinger, fold the front ends together around the hanging end. By pulling the bow forward ... " The illustration doesn't help a bit here. Looks like a Praying Mantis eating a '69 Buick. As a bonus, though, you can access instructions for tying a Half Windsor and four-in-hand knot (both of which are pretty easy to understand). Puritan Clothing, by the way, retails lots of that earthy cotton stuff. The Web site does have lots of groovy info on clothing construction and fashion history.


Bow Brummell ( www.tcf.ua.edu/bowtie/)--Some guy named Brent Davis at The University of Alabama Telecommunications and Film Department has put together this page "where cyber-ians learn the manly art of tying a bow tie." There's a rather inspirational essay on how Davis, a 37-year-old man, learned to tie a tie for the first time. Believe it or not, he was inspired by astronaut Neil Armstrong. There are also detailed step-by-step photo instructions on looping the loop, as it were. The photos (using a mannequin head and a half-black/half-white tie) are about as clear as you're gonna get on this sort of thing. There are also links to other tie sites, including a seamstress in Maine who sells (very nice) handmade bow ties.


Tie Yourself in Knots ( www.alumni.caltech.edu/~landman/TYKcontents.htm)--Clearly, some people spend a little too much time thinking about this kinda stuff. Here's the home page of one Michael J. Landman, Ph. D., who's apparently written an entire book on the subject of ties. There are several sample chapters here, including: "The Darwinian Theory of Neckties" and "Penis Extension or Fashion Accessory?" Landman also includes a dozen different ways to cinch a necktie. There's an entire chapter dedicated to "Bow-Ties, Texas-Ties and other Neck-cessories (for the flamboyant man)." If you're looking for some of the history, psychology and goofy humor behind the wearing of ties (both bow and otherwise), here's the site for you.


The Necktie Repository (fly.hiwaay.net/~jimes/necktie/)--If there is a perfect necktie Web site, this is probably it. There are dozens of subcategories here covering the care, history and humor of ties, ties, ties. There's even a whole section on tie tacks! Punch up the section on "How to tie a tie," and you'll get a nice grid running down several different knots, descriptions, advice, plus beginner and advanced instruction for executing said knots. If you've got no freakin' clue how to tie a bow tie, check out this site, and I guarantee you'll be an expert in no time. The "How to tie a bow tie" section has very detailed seven-step instructions for doing the deed. There's even a "Before you begin" section (you're supposed to flip up your collar and measure the length of the tie), an approximate time (5-10 minutes) and a list of "What you need" (a dress shirt with buttons at the collar, a mirror, a bow tie). Now this is just the sort of "stupid people" instruction I need. There are no pics to go along with the step-by-step instructions, but once you've got it down, you can always punch up the advanced "one-page" instructions.

--Devin D. O'Leary

devin@alibi.com


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