Rarity of Wearing Tie in Our Society
In many occasions I’ve been confronted with a question: so you must be some Christian or Jewish preacher or some high-level employee elsewhere; are you? Their inquisitiveness springs from the fact of my being suave and neatly dressed in suit and necktie on most of my workdays. It’s quite a bit of an unfamiliar sight of a man in tuxedo walking on his feet or using a public vehicle.
Sometimes it feels suit topped off with necktie is reserved only for special occasions like formal parties, private school and college students and a handful of high-level executives such as those in banks. Other ordinary folks who try to maintain their appearance neat and suave with necktie don’t easily attract no-strings-attached endorsement from the public.
What you say about Former Iranian President Muhammad Ahmadinejad who never wore tie during his time in office? Was he right to portray necktie as a symbol of western imperialism? And, it would not be very wise to think rarity of necktie in our society is because we are the huge fans of Mr Ahmadinejad.
Western culture has long dominated our lifestyle. We find ourselves more modern and at higher level of civilization upon the replication of western ideas, values and tradition in our daily businesses. In a sense western culture has become a model to all to follow or replicate. But, we’ve failed to mimic some important aspects of the western culture like their industry, refinement, suit-wearing tradition (in daily businesses) to name a few. Deliberately or inadvertently, I’m not sure but our failure to mimic these essential western characters has certainly made a big dent in our overall replication.
Let’s get back to our discussion (of necktie). Why has necktie (coupled with suit) seemingly been confined within the realm of the well-heeled and white-collared? Even not all high-level executives go for wearing necktie. Last time I wrote an article for my blog. I talked about cars and SUVs being a target of vandalism in times of strikes and violent political movements. Even today cars represent the rich and powerful in our society and most of the vandals or political dissenters/protestors are from the lower class. Cars then fall easy victim to the dissidence of the protestors. So can we draw some parallel between cars and neckties as regards their exclusivity to the upper class?
Christian preachers have tried to some degrees to commonize the wearing of suit and tie. I admire their display of suit (and tie) because they wear it to look neater and more attractive as God has willed his people to be neater like him. But, I’m not implying one can’t be neater in other dresses. On the other hand, private school and college students do wear necktie but their wearing (of tie) is rather under a sort of enforcement by their institutions, not out of their free will. And, I don’t think Nepalese do regard necktie, even remotely, as a symbol of servitude hanging around a neck of a man like the manacles from the bygone slavery era.
And, for special once-or-twice-in-a-year occasions like wedding parties, necktie coupled with suit has become a sort of dress code. But this too is not done spontaneously and out of free will. People fear if they don’t throw on suit and necktie on such occasions, they will risk attracting undue attention from the rest. It’s because of this fear I see so many people attending parties without correct knot, tightening and proper selection of color and design of necktie and corresponding outfit. And, with this they make no less than a clown of themselves! It’s better not to wear at all than to wear it incorrectly and incongruously.
Our society is relatively primitive also in terms of dressing. Our traditional dresses like Daura Suruwal, Sari, Kachhad, etc. lack polished features like the use of buttons, complex stitching, folds, zippers, etc. In order to use these features one needs to have advanced level of industry and machinery and craftsmanship which our ancestors lacked. In contrast, western societies long ago rid themselves of Greek-era tunic or garb and began making clothes with complex features like the buttons, zippers, etc. as their industrial prowess and craftsmanship progressed concurrently. And, the result is suit and necktie along with other complex clothing items like trousers, jackets and so forth.
To put it short, our way of life and thinking are still very simple and our lifestyle doesn’t quite match with wearing elegant suit and tie as it demands a relatively higher level of sophistication (in thinking, doing, etc.). This means we still have to traverse a long way before we feel comfortable enough to make this common western attire a commonplace here.